Real estate broker/agent

What Home Projects Should You Do Yourself?

 DIY

What Home Projects Should You Do Yourself?

By: Oliver Marks

Published: March 8, 2011

Doing maintenance jobs yourself can be a smart way to save money, but choose the right DIY projects or you'll end up paying dearly.

Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself? Because sometimes doing it yourself costs more than it saves.

More than 100,000 people injure themselves each year doing home improvement jobs. So add medical bills to your DIY budget, and you ending up spending the same, or more, than if you hired a pro.

We’re not suggesting that you call a plumber each time you need to plunge a toilet. But think twice about what DIY might really cost you. Here’s how to decide.

Stick to routine maintenance for savings and safety

Seasonal home maintenance is ideal work for the weekend warrior because you can tackle these jobs when your schedule permits. Because these are routine maintenance projects, your savings will add up. Mowing your own lawn, for example, saves $55 to $65 a week for a half-acre lawn. The bigger the lot, the bigger the savings: with two acres, you’ll pocket around $150 per week.

When it pays:

  • Snow removal
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Washing windows (be careful on that ladder)
  • Sealing decks
  • Painting fences
  • Fertilizing lawns
  • Replacing air conditioner filters
  • Cleaning gutters

When it costs: Unless you have skill and experience on your side, stay off any ladder taller than six feet; according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms are filled with people with ladder injuries. The same goes for operating power saws or attempting any major electrical work—it’s simply too risky if you don’t have the experience.

Become your own general contractor

If you’re more comfortable operating an iPhone than a circular saw, you could act as your own general contractor on some home improvement projects. That means you hire, schedule, and pay the carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen yourself. You’ll save 10% to 20% of the job cost, which is the contractor’s typical fee.

When it pays: If it’s a small job that requires only two or three subcontractors, and you have good relationships with top-quality professionals in those fields, consider DIY contracting.

When it costs: When you don’t have an established network of reliable workers, time to supervise, construction experience to spot problems, and the skill to negotiate disputes between subcontractors, your project and budget are at risk.

Invest sweat equity on big jobs

Contribute your own labor to big jobs being handled by a professional crew and cut hundreds, even thousands, off construction costs. For instance, tear out kitchen cabinets and appliances before the contractor gets started, and you might knock $800 off the cost of your remodel. Make sure you negotiate cost savings with your contractor before pitching in.

When it pays: Jobs that are labor-intensive but require relatively little skill make perfect sweat equity jobs. Perform minor interior demolition, such as pulling up old flooring, daily job site cleanup, product assembly, and simple landscaping.

When it costs: If you get in the crew’s way, you may slow them down far more than you help. Make your contributions when the workers aren’t around; mornings before they arrive, or nights and weekends after they’ve left.

Add finishing touches

Unlike the early phases of a construction job--which require skilled labor to frame walls, install plumbing pipes, and run wires--many finishing touches are comparatively simple and DIY-friendly. If you paint a basement remodel yourself, for instance, you can save up to $1,800.

When it pays: If you have skill, patience, or an experienced friend to teach you, setting tile, laying flooring, painting walls, and installing trim are good DIY jobs.

When it costs: The downside to attempting your own finish work is that the results are very visible. Hammer dents in woodwork, or sander ruts in hardwood floors will annoy you every time you see them. So unless you have a sure eye and a steady hand, don’t perform the tasks that only a skilled tradesperson will get right.

Find your next home with me! Text LKHOMES to 87778 or visit http://87778.mobi/LKHOMES for your FREE search.
Laura Key, CalBRELic #0198085
www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

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What To Ask When Looking At Potential Homes

Buying a house can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and sellers before plopping down a down payment. Let me help you with my FREE homebuyer's class! Call me today! Laura Key 310.866.8422

New House
New House

Buying a house can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and sellers before plopping down a down payment.

What To Ask When Looking At Potential Homes

Following is a list of general questions you should always ask when considering making a real estate purchase. Keep in mind, however, you are unique.

You have particular dislikes and likes as well as factors in your life that are different than other people. The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn’t stick to just these questions. You are making an important choice, so give some thought to your situation.

1. Don’t rush into things. The first question to ask should be directed at yourself. What type of home do you want? How big should it be? What amenities do you want? Are you planning for a family in the next three to five years and will the home be able to accommodate a new bundle of joy? Make a definitive list and stick to it. If you stray from it, you could end up with a house that doesn’t really fit you and suffer buyer’s remorse.

2. The next question is what area do you want to live in? Pick a few. You may find the prices to be excessive or the selection not so hot, but make sure you exhaust those areas before moving on. Again, you want to avoid buyer’s remorse.

3. Once you start looking at homes, a key question to ask is how long the house has been on the market. The amount of time will give you an idea of how flexible the owner is on price. If the house has been on the market for a month, the owner isn’t going to be very flexible. If it has been on the market for six months, flexibility will definitely exist.

4. Has the house previously been in escrow, but fell out? If so, find out why? Was it a problem with the buyer getting financing or did the buyer find out there was something wrong with the home?

5. What kind of condition is the house in and how old is it? Remember that a seller has typically done everything reasonably possible to spruce up the home. If you can see wear and tear on the house, it may be a red flag. In such a situation, you need to get a home inspection to make sure there aren’t problems in areas you can’t see such as mold, rust and water leaks.

6. If you have children or are planning on it, you must investigate the school district. Are the schools good? Are there gangs or crime in the area?

7. In addition to the home price, you should ask whether there are any additional fees such association fees.

8. What are the property taxes and what will they be when you buy? Many people are shocked to find out how much they have to kick out in property taxes. Don’t get surprised.

9. Zoning and easement issues are often overlooked when buying a home. If you are buying in a neighborhood with many homes, zoning is undoubtedly going to be for residential living. Easements, however, can be nasty surprises. Find out if there are any easements on the property. An easement gives a third party the right to use of part of the property. This can include giving the neighbor the right to do something or a utility company to place structures on your prospective property.

10. Noise is another big issue to consider. If you are serious about the property, make sure to drive buy on weekdays and weekends. If the property shares a wall with another residence, such as a duplex or condo, make sure you view it while the neighbors are home to get an idea of how loud it is.

11. In the euphoria of buying a property, practical issues can be missed. A big one is traffic. Specifically, what is the commute like between the house and your place of work? You don’t want to buy the house only to find out it takes three hours to get to and from work each day.

Obviously, you should be asking many additional questions before making a purchase. These 11 questions, however, will help you get started. Call me to schedule a time to discuss the homebuying process in more detail. Don’t forget to look into fun things to do in the area to make sure it’s where you want to live!I care about my clients and educating them is a priority! Laura Key 310.866.8422 or email me at Laura.A.Key@gmail.com

Does HUD Offer Special Programs for Homebuyers?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

Yes, HUD offers a program called the GOOD NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR PROGRAM for Police Officers, Firefighters, EMT and Teachers! Call for more details on this program! 310.866.8422. If foreclosures are not sold within six months, HUD will sell them for $1 each to approved nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Homes must then be used create housing for families in need or to benefit neighborhoods.

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Does HUD Offer Financing On Their Homes?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

HUD does not provide direct financing to buyers of HUD Homes. Buyers must obtain financing through either their own cash reserves or a mortgage lender. If you have the necessary available cash or can qualify for a loan (subject to certain restrictions) you may buy a HUD Home. While HUD does not provide direct financing for the purchase of a HUD Home, it may be possible for you to qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage to finance the purchase.

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Do I Need An Appraisal On A HUD Home?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

It is not necessary to have a HUD home independently appraised, HUD offers an appraisal every 6 months. Your Lender may require a more current appraisal than the one provided by HUD.  Ask your loan officer or HUD registered agent.

Los Angeles HUD homes, Buying A Hud Home, North Hollywood HUD homes, Westchester HUD Homes, Gardena HUD Homes, Northridge HUD Homes, Santa Clarita HUD Homes, Simi Valley HUD homes, Lemert HUD Homes, Compton HUD Homes, Lynwood HUD Homes, Hawthorne HUD Homes, Inglewood HUD Homes, Baldwin Hills HUD Homes, Playa del rey HUD homes, Marina del Rey HUD Homes, Santa Monica HUD homes, Lakewood HUD homes, Buying A HUD Home, Buying a Los Angeles HUD Home, HUD Trained Agent, HUD NAID agent

How Much Money Will I Have to Put Down on a HUD Home?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

If the bid price is less than $50,000, you’re required to make an earnest money deposit of $500. HUD homes priced greater than $50,000 require a $1000 deposit.

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Should I Get A Home Inspection If I Am Buying A HUD?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

HUD does not warrant the condition of its properties and will not pay for the correction of defects or repairs. Since the new owner will be responsible for making needed repairs, HUD strongly urges every potential homebuyer to get a professional inspection prior to submitting an offer to purchase.

If you are interested in acquiring a HUD Home that is in need of repair, you may be interested in applying for an FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Loan. When a homebuyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the homebuyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage. Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods. The Section 203(k) program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property.

Will HUD make the repairs?

HUD homes are sold as-is. The new owner is responsible for all repairs and improvements.

Can I start improving on the property right away?

If HUD accepts your offer, you cannot make any repairs or home improvements until the escrow transaction has closed and title is recorded in your name.

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Making an Offer On A HUD Home?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

Buyers will want to make offers based on ‘as-is’ appraisals determined by HUD. HUD will accept no offers that are lower than 50 percent of their appraisal. If you offer more than the appraisal price, you will be required pay the amount of the over-bid at closing, as your lender will base their loan amount on the appraised value of the home. Also, the process is a bit different than a regular offer on property.  Your offer will be submitted online and government forms will be used to conduct the transaction.

 

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Big Predictions for Housing for Next 2 Years

Finally some GOOD news on the Real Estate front! Regardless of what the news says...Real Estate is either UP or DOWN...either way it's a good investment!  Call me to increase your worth! Laura Key 310.866.8422

crystal ball

Home sales are projected to post some big gains in the next two years, according to Fannie Mae’s latest monthly economic outlook. 

Fannie Mae economists predict that existing-home sales will rise by 10.5 percent this year, and by 6.2 percent in 2014. The economists made even bolder projections for new single-family home sales -- growing 15.1 percent this year and 44.1 percent in 2014.

"We expect home prices to firm further amid a durable housing recovery, continuing to boost household net worth, gradually diminishing the population of underwater borrowers, and reducing incentive for strategic defaults," according to Fannie Mae’s report.

Fannie Mae projects that mortgage rates will stay low by historical averages this year, but the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will rise from an average of 3.5 percent during the first quarter to an average of 4 percent during the final three months of 2013. During the fourth quarter of 2014, mortgage rates are projected to tick up to a 4.5 percent average. 

Mortgage applications for purchases are projected to increase by 16.8 percent this year and by 17.1 percent in 2014. However, a decline in applications for refinancings will likely cause mortgage originations to be down 14.5 percent this year and by 31.4 percent in 2014, Fannie economists predict. 

Source: “Fannie Mae sees housing upturn as 'intact',” Inman News (March 28, 2013)

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Adding Instant Value to Your Home

Want to add value to your home immediately? This simple solution will help!  Ready to sell? Contact me to obtain a FREE value report on your home! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com

Do you know what the best way to add value you to your home is? The answer might surprise you because it’s also the cheapest – cleaning/decluttering. It’s true. For the cost of a bottle of household cleaner and some elbow grease you can give the value of your home an immediate boost. In fact, clean, clutter free homes are more likely to get or even exceed their asking price.   It’s amazing how shiny windows, and dust free doors, windows, and baseboards can impress potential buyers , sure cleaning and getting rid of the clutter might not be a lot of fun, but sending the extra money you get for your house will be! 

clean house