Archive for the ‘Home Equity’ Category

USERS, MAINTAINERS, IMPROVERS – OH, MY!
September 5, 2011

After viewing thousands of homes over the years, we have noticed that there are three basic types of homeowners: Users, Maintainers, and Improvers.  You know them; you see them; they live in your neighborhood.  Some times they live in the same house together.

The User tends to defer maintenance as long as possible.  Problems are addressed only when they reach the threshold of being difficult to live with.  Even then, a bare minimum or a patch repair will be done.  Holes in walls and leaky faucets are likely to go unnoticed.

However, when a door knob on the double front-entry doors is no longer functional, the User will replace it, but it may not match the rest of the hardware. There may be evidence for months that the water heater is not working properly, but until there is no hot water in the morning shower, it is of minimal concern to the User.  Once the problem needs to be addressed, a permit will probably not be pulled, and the installation may not be to current code.

Over time, a User’s home becomes the “fixer”.

A Maintainer repairs problems immediately.  If a light burns out; he will immediately put in a new bulb.  If a door knob is loose, he will tighten it.  If it needs to be replaced, he will make sure that all the hardware matches.  If a tile gets cracked, and a replacement would be too noticeable, he would redo the whole counter or floor.  Maintainers often strive for energy efficiency so they may do a straight swap of single-pane windows with newer dual-pane ones.

If the original cabinets are starting to show too much wear, these may get a new face or even replaced.  However, the results are rarely above current builders’ standards.

Though a Maintainer’s home shows “pride of ownership”, he is often disappointed when buyers don’t show the same enthusiasm for his choices and don’t make the same offers they do on an Improver’s home.

The Improver is every REALTOR’s® dream.  Compared to new construction, hers is the home with the builder’s upgrades.  An Improver told us once that the interior and exterior of a home should be changed at least every twenty years to keep it at current standards and styles.  She does a project every year.  Sometimes it is just one room, such as the kitchen or the family room, and sometimes it a more encompassing endeavor.

One such project entailed having the acoustic ceilings removed.  She did it for the more contemporary look; but she had to pay more since they tested positive for higher levels of asbestos.  Despite the extra cost, she said it was worth it.  Often Improvers know that they will not get dollar for dollar out of all their improvements, but they do it for the pleasure equity.

An Improver goes the extra emotional step when tackling a project.  Instead of just replacing new windows for old, the living room may get a bay window or a picture window while the kitchen will be brightened by a garden window.  French doors replace original sliding doors.  Their curb appeal is given an extra boost when the cracked driveway is replaced with stamped concrete or pavers.  They are not content to just paint a room; they add crown molding.

An Improver’s home is usually the one with the “WOW” factor.

Rich and Jan McMillen
 
www.TOHomes.com

TOP TEN PHYSICAL INSPECTION ITEMS
August 30, 2011

Selling a home can have a lot of emotional ups and downs.  That roller coaster ride does not end with a signed contract.  Sellers have been known to lose their lunch on the Physical Inspection Plunge.  Safety issues will usually be recapped in a report and these are especially of concern to buyers.

Following are ten common problems discovered during the physical inspection:

  1. Furnace – Flex gas line entering furnace is not to code as it can break during an earthquake
  2. Electrical – GCFI missing in kitchen, bathroom, garage, or outside; outlets not properly grounded or polarities reversed; wiring that is not up to code (e.g. added garage lighting and automatic garage door openers); open junction boxes (often found in the attic)
  3. Water Heater – not properly strapped, anchored and braced; pressure valve release not exiting to exterior.
  4. Fireplace – cracks in fire box or chimney; gas fireplace missing a damper clamp; spark arrestor missing on chimney.
  5. Dishwasher missing air gap. 
  6. Smoke detectors missing or non-functioning.  There is no carbon monoxide detector (now required). 
  7. Windows and doors do not open, close and lock easily.
  8.  If there is a pool or spa, the gates to yard are not self-closing. 
  9. The door to garage is not fire-rated and self-closing. 
  10. Holes are in firewalls between garage and house.

Since these are safety issues, owners should keep themselves safe and not wait until their home is on the market to address them.  Protect yourself today!

 
Rich & Jan McMillen
 
www.TOHomes.com