NOT HAVING A PERMIT CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

HOMEOWNERS BEWARE: WORK WITHOUT PERMITS CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

 

Leading Edge Homes - Permits and Inspections Save Money

“Saving money” by not paying for a permit for your home improvement project is really like throwing money away.

$1,000,000 IN FINES

According to an article recently published in the Palm Beach Post,

But it could be worse: They were looking at paying about $1 million in the dispute, which has dragged on for 17 years.

According to a staff memo for Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Matthew and Patricia Beasley had replaced windows and remodeled without obtaining the required building permits, inspections and “certificate of completion” at their home near Forest Hill Boulevard and Congress Avenue.”

IS IT WORTH THE RISK OF GETTING CAUGHT?

The Beasleys threw away $12,000 for a permit that probably cost less than $1,000 dollars 17 years ago.

If you are caught having work done without a permit, you can face additional fines like the Beasleys, pay double for your remodeling project (if the code-enforcement department in your municipality requires you to tear down the completed work), and/or find it impossible to sell your home in the future.

Work that was done without a permit may be discovered at the time of the sale of your home.  A home inspector may check to see what permits have been issued for a property and verify that only those “permitted” changes have been made to a home.  If a home inspector finds work done without a permit, he may advise the buyer not to purchase the home and report it to the local building department. There have been many cases where sales have fallen through – all in the name of saving money.

DO I HAVE TO PULL A PERMIT?

I am often asked, “Do you have to pull a permit?”  My answer is YES if a permit is required for that particular type of job.

YES … I believe that it is for your safety.

YES … It may cost a little more money and time, but the potential problems for doing work without one is not worth any minimal cost savings.

YES … I do pull permits.  A contractor who says it not necessary may have something to hide, and that could be a red flag.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

Trying to cheat the system can cost you in the long run!

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice. I recommend that, if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract or the suitability of the home you wish to purchase, you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes Inc. – It’s Time To Think About Hurricane Preparedness

The Dog Days Of Summer Means –

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE

 

Leading Edge Homes - Home Improvement for Hurricane Season

HURRICANES – STAY AWAY

The dog days of summer are already here.  We seem to have skipped Spring and gone right into Summer.  What does that mean for Florida residents?

It’s time for the media to bombard us with hurricane preparedness news and alarm us about every tropical wave, depression, and potential hurricane – even if it is weeks away. It’s enough to make sane people crazy.

OVER TEN YEARS SINCE THE LAST HURRICANE

Mother nature has been extremely kind to us during the past ten years. The last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Wilma on October 24, 2005.  For many of us, that is a life time ago, and for new homeowners and new Florida residents, they may have never experienced a hurricane.

Although I am not a fan of the constant reminders of how to prepare for a hurricane, it’s not something to be ignored.  Procrastinating on getting your home ready can make a hurricane that much more difficult to endure. Everyone should have evacuation plans in place and makes sure their homes are as secure as possible. The Palm Beach County website http://www.pbcgov.com/dem/hurricane/ has a guide to help you get prepared… just in case.

ARE YOUR HURRICANE SHUTTERS WORKING PROPERLY?

But more importantly, now is the time to install hurricane protection or check your hurricane shutters and make sure they work and close securely. If something is broken, and is easier to repair it now rather than when a storm is approaching.
The Sun Sentinel posted a guide to choosing hurricane shutters.  Below are the highlights of the article:
STEEL or ALUMINUM HURRICANE SHUTTERS

Attached to the walls around windows and doors on bolts or tracks.  The panels are corrugated, and each piece overlaps the next for maximum strength.

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH STORM PANELS IS THAT MOST HOMEOWNERS OFTEN DON’T CHECK THEM WHEN THEY BUY A HOME. MANY DISCOVER TOO LATE THAT THE PANELS ARE MISSING OR WERE CUT IMPROPERLY OR ARE TOO HEAVY TO INSTALL!

PROS
Most inexpensive of the permanent shutter systems.

— Removable, so they don’t change the look of the house when not in use.
— Strong, and can provide excellent protection for both doors and windows.

CONS
Require storage

— Large panels are difficult to handle; hanging can require more than one person.
— Sometimes don’t line up properly.
— Have sharp edges and working without gloves can lead to serious injury

ACCORDION HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These one- or two-piece hurricane shutters are housed beside the windows or doors when not in use. They unfold accordion-style to cover and protect during a storm.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.

CONS
— Can look bulky and out-of-place on some houses. 
— Glide on wheels, and have the potential to break more easily than some of the other systems.

BAHAMA HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These one-piece louvered shutters attach directly above the windows and prop open to provide shade for the window. Bahama shutters are storm-ready when lowered and secured to the wall.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Provide permanent shade and privacy, even in the open position.

CONS
— Have traditionally been weaker than other systems, but the newest models protect well.
— Design limits their use. They can’t be used to protect doors.

ROLL DOWN HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These shutters attach above the window. They roll up and store in an enclosed box when not in use. They are lowered either manually by a hand crank or automatically by push button, and lock in place for storm protection.

PROS
— Are permanently affixed above the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Offer some of the best protection, and make an excellent theft deterrent.

CONS

— Most expensive of the popular shutter systems.
— Push-button-operated roll-down shutters require a battery backup system so the shutters can be lowered and raised during power outages.

HURRICANE IMPACT GLASS

This glass can withstand hurricane debris and eliminate the need for hurricane shutters. It costs more, especially to retrofit an older house. Modern code requirements, which already require hurricane shutters or other protections on new houses, make the glass a more practical option at the time of construction.

PROS
— Eliminates the need for hurricane shutters.
— The most practical hurricane glass is similar to a car windshield, with a durable plastic-like layer sandwiched between glass. The outside layers break, but the center prevents a hole. BUT IF IT IS HIT MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE SAME SPOT IT MAY BREAK.

CONS
— Must be installed by a window contractor.
— The frame must be replaced along with the panes to meet code.

LEADING EDGE HOMES CAN CHECK YOUR HURRICANE PROTECTION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

If you need new hurricane shutters or want to make sure yours are ready for the hurricane season, contact Leading Edge Homes, Inc. at 561-795-2551.  Like a good boy scout “BE PREPARED!”


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

HOME REMODELING: I MADE A HOMEOWNER CRY

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A REMODELING CONTRACTOR:  MAKING A HOMEOWNER CRY

Nothing is worse than having to tell a homeowner they have been scammed.

Nothing is worse than having to tell a homeowner they have been scammed.

 

MAKING A HOMEOWNER CRY

This has been one of the toughest month’s for me as a home remodeling contractor.

Two of the potential clients that I visited with were brought to tears and another one was strong enough to hold back the tears but realized they threw away money.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The first of my heart breaking experiences happened in Palm Beach Gardens.  A woman, had a leak, which unfortunately led to mold.

But… the people she hired to “fix it” removed anything and everything that they could, down to the metal studs that were part of her exterior walls.

There is no easy fix to put her home back together, especially because it is part of a quadruplex. The homeowners association won’t let her rip down what is remaining from the exterior walls and now they are in danger of collapsing, her insurance company is denying the claim, and the “friends” that helped her weren’t licensed.

WARNING:  ALWAYS VERIFY THAT THE PEOPLE YOU HIRE TO WORK ON YOUR HOME ARE PROPERLY LICENSED read more 

The only remedy she has is to hire a public adjuster to help her navigate the insurance company process and to hire a construction attorney to help her recoup her costs from the work that was done improperly.  Until she gets the homeowners association to grant her permission to fix the exterior walls, she is in limbo.

The next of my heart breaking experiences happened in Wellington where work was done without a permit and the second contractor is no where to be found.

A homeowner needed work done on his home. The “contractor” who only could work weekends was caught doing work on the home without a permit. The Village of Wellington issued a stop work order, fined the homeowner, and had the electric meter pulled from the house as a safety precaution.

The homeowner, after paying fines, hired another contractor. But, this contractor is now missing in action. I advised the homeowner that I could not do any work on the home unless the permit was closed. Like the previous homeowner, this job will remain in limbo until the legal ramifications are solved.

WARNING: FAILURE TO GET A PERMIT CAN CAUSE YOUR JOB TO BE SHUT DOWN! – read more 

The last my heart breaking experiences this week also happened in Wellington.

A homeowner wanted to remodel their kitchen and have an addition put on their home. They hired a draftsman to draw up the plans. The plans did not reflect what the homeowner wanted! The plans were what the designer wanted to draw.

As a design-build contractor I have seen this time and time again. Some draftsmen or architects don’t understand the big picture and don’t understand how things are tied together. The homeowner, throughout our meeting, kept saying “but that is what I wanted.”

It is very frustrating to me that homeowners waste money on plans that won’t work. It is not that every designer/draftsman does a poor job… but I have seen it way too many times that plans are not usable because they are incomplete, don’t meet the homeowner requirements, or they are drawn incorrectly.

I’D LIKE TO SCREAM FROM THE ROOF TOPS – HIRE A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR! IT GIVES YOU A CONTRACTOR THAT CAN NOT ONLY DRAW YOUR PLANS BUT ALSO BUILD THEM TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS!  read more

 BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO DO A REMODEL

Think about how your change will effect the look of your home. Realize that the newer things may alter how the rest of your home looks. That doesn’t mean you don’t make changes.  But… think about how your changes can affect your vision of your home.

If you are changing the floors, do you want to change the doors, their thresholds, the moldings? If you are adding additional cabinets, how are you going to tie the cabinets together?  Will you need to resurface the old cabinets, change out all of the hardware, or replace everything?

Making all the cabinet pulls the same may not be so easy. How the new handles get installed may not cover old holes. The old hardware may not easily be removed.

When you do choose to remodel, look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.

FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: HELP – MY NAME IS TODD AND I’M A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

HELP – MY NAME IS TODD AND I’M A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

Home remodeling is addictive... sometimes the more you change to more you want to change.

Home remodeling is addictive!

HOME REMODELING – THE HIDDEN DISEASE

I have had many clients that have been afflicted by remodel-it-ism and have become remodel-it-aholics.

By definition, a remodel-it-aholic is

a homeowner with an overwhelming desire to further remodel their home after recently completing a home improvement project when the new work makes other parts of their home look bad by comparison.

SIGNS YOU ARE A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

As soon as you or your home remodeling professional complete a project you realize that the rest of the home needs a facelift too.

For example, you build an addition to your home with new flooring, freshly painted walls, and a bathroom with brand new fixtures.  Although from the outside the addition looks like it has always been there, from the inside the rest of your home looks old and tired.  What are you going to do?

If you are a remodel-it-aholic

  • you will begin the process of updating the rest of your home
  • you will change the flooring or repaint
  • you will upgrade your kitchen (this is true– one of our client’s hired us three times because with each remodel they found something else they wanted updated)
  • you will remodel your bathroom

MY PERSONAL DILEMMA

Several weeks ago I told you that I was updating my appliances… including the cooktop, oven, and microwave. As a result, I am now a remodel-it-aholic. Although my refrigerator is in perfect working condition, it just does not fit in with the new appliances.

I can look at it and say, but it holds food, keeps it cold, and functions just fine. But… there is something to be said for how it looks. I will keep you posted if/when we make that change.

BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO DO A REMODEL

Think about how your change will effect the look of your home. Realize that the newer things may alter how the rest of your home looks. That doesn’t mean you don’t make changes.  But… think about how your changes can affect your vision of your home.

If you are changing the floors, do you want to change the doors, their thresholds, the moldings? If you are adding additional cabinets, how are you going to tie the cabinets together?  Will you need to resurface the old cabinets, change out all of the hardware, or replace everything?

Making all the cabinet pulls the same may not be so easy. How the new handles get installed may not cover old holes. The old hardware may not easily be removed.

When you do choose to remodel, look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.

FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

PERMITS: OPEN PERMITS CAN THROW MONKEY WRENCH INTO PURCHASING A HOME

BUYING A HOME – MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO OUTSTANDING PERMITS

OH NO! OPENS PERMITS DELAY HOME CLOSING
OH NO! OPEN PERMITS DELAY HOME CLOSING.
 
Yesterday, we received a call for help.  This call, however, was not because the house needed a repair. A woman wanted to sell her mother’s home… but, there was an outstanding permit that had not been closed. The daughter had no reason to suspect that an outstanding permit existed on the home.
After a few minutes on the phone with her, I was able to determine that there had been an open permit since 1995.  Yes, back in 1995, the seller’s mother had an alarm system installed and the permit was never closed. To make this more challenging, the company that installed the alarm system is no longer in business.
Now, the seller will have to hire another company to inspect the alarm system, re-open the permit, and get it inspected.  These are all unexpected costs and delays that may make her lose the sale.

BEFORE BUYING / SELLING A HOME

Just like when hiring a home remodeling professional, do your due diligence before buying or selling a home. Repair or remodel work may not be obvious during a visual inspection of the property.

Buyers should request that the seller disclose work that was performed  – even years ago. An outstanding permit issue may lay dormant until you try to modify an electric panel, remodel a room or repair a heating system and then find that previous work was not officially inspected and approved.

Sellers should also verify that no outstanding permits exist on their property.  They may have hired a contractor who did not complete all inspections.

CHECK FOR OPEN PERMITS ON A PROPERTY

Buyers/sellers can request that the title company run a courtesy permit history search, which should reveal all permits — whether pending or closed — on a property. Of course, this may be too late in the game.

search permitBuyers can take the initiative and look up the permit history of a property by contacting the local regulatory building department for their area. You can do many of these searches online, without having to pay for it.

For example, in Wellington, Florida you can search by your property address on the e-permit page of the Village of Wellington Website.

For addresses in unincorporated Palm Beach County, search the “Building Permits and Inspections” (a link to the Palm Beach County Planning, Zoning and Building Page.)

WARNINGS

Open permits or building code violations may not be listed in the preliminary title report nor be covered by your title insurance policy.  It is important to clear up un-permitted work early on and avoid a possible delay in the closing.

If you have work performed on your home, make sure it gets done by a licensed contractor.

When you hire a licensed contractor, he or she will be responsible for obtaining a permit for the work to be performed and closing out the permit after the job is completed. Ask your contractor to give you a copy of the closed permit for your files.

Work done without a permit can also cause problems for a new owner.

The residential alteration may have been completed according to the local building code, but if no permit was filed, the new owner may be liable for a fine. And if the work is found to not be up to code, the new owner will be required to correct the problem, bring the alteration up to standard and get a final inspection.

BEFORE purchasing a property – have a professional remodeling contractor, like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. inspect the property to see if there are outstanding permits, work that was done improperly, or if work was done without a permit.

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice. I recommend that, if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract or the suitability of the home you wish to purchase, you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME IMPROVEMENT: DON’T ASSUME AN “A” RATING MEANS A BUSINESS IS REPUTABLE

ANOTHER “A” … HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANY NOT FULFILLING IT’S CONTRACTS

Home Improvement - An A Rating Doesn't Mean What You Think

Back in October, I told you about the CNN Money article:

Slammed by the government, A-rated by the Better Business Bureau

It was a warning to all people who believe that an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau means a company is reputable.

LOCAL WINDOW COMPANY, BASED IN PALM BEACH GARDENS HAS AN “A” RATING BUT…

According to the Palm Beach Post “exclusive,”

Consumers have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the agency charged with regulating and licensing contractors.

This month, DBPR filed an administrative complaint against Scott Berman, the company’s owner, alleging that he violated a provision of a state statute in a contract for an installation at a house in Jupiter’s Abacoa.

The BBB has given the company an “A” rating.

COMPANY CHANGED NAMES AND SHUT DOWN OLD COMPANY

According to the article: in 2009, the Florida Attorney General’s Office shut down… Florida Window, over allegations the business violated state consumer laws. The company paid $118,000 in consumer restitution and $10,000 to Seniors vs. Crime. That same year, [the owner] established Northfield Holding Corp. doing business as Florida Window & Door.

Now, six years later, that company faces a slew of very similar complaints, some of which are being aired via social media. Customers have created a Facebook page, “Florida-Window-and-Door-is-a-Rip-Off.” The page states, “We are here to shed light on the deceptive practices and shoddy work this company performs.” There is also a You Tube video one customer has posted, which describes his experience.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau, which most people see as a watch dog really isn’t.  An “A” rating just means that the Better Business Bureau believes that a company will resolve any problems customers encounter.

Do your due diligence.  Read consumer complaints on the Better Business Bureau website.  Search the company on the internet and on social media. Get and verify references.  Talk to past clients.

Today, you have to almost be a detective and verify that a home improvement company is worthy of your business.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. has created a booklet to help you ask the right questions before hiring a remodeling contractor: 7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Remodeling Contractor.

Knowledge is power!

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

BUYING A HOME – WHO REPAIRS THE HOME?

BUYING A HOME – WHO REPAIRS “PROBLEMS?”

Buyers and sellers disagree on who is responsible for repairs

Buyers and sellers often disagree on who is responsible for repairs.

Usually, buyers and sellers negotiate a compromise that allows their transaction to move forward.

BUYER 1 – WANTED REPAIR MONEY

This doesn’t always work out. Buyer 1 knew the cost of the repairs and tried to get the seller to lower his price. The buyer did not want the seller to do the repairs because he did not have control over the quality of the work.

The seller decided to stand firm with his price and wasn’t willing to compromise. Consequently, the buyer walked away.

SELLER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO FUTURE BUYERS

Sellers should be aware that a buyer’s inspection report can be problematic for them because if the deal doesn’t close, they could be obligated to tell subsequent buyers about any defects mentioned in the report.

BUYER 2 – AGREED TO LET THE SELLER MAKE REPAIRS

Buyer 2, after allowing the seller to make some repairs, is going through with the purchase – even though some of the repairs were not made correctly.  They are considering the remaining repair’s costs as part of purchasing the new home.

BUYER 3 – CONTRACT WAS “AS-IS” AND KNOWS HE HAS TO MAKE REPAIRS

Buyer 3 went into his purchase with his eyes wide open and did the proper inspections. The buyer was allowed to make inspections, but his contract stated  that any inspections were for “informational purposes only”, i.e., to inform the buyer of the property’s condition. Of course, this type of contract only benefits the seller.

The buyer discovered there were roofing issues. The contract, however, was “as-is,” and there was no room for negotiation.

Unbeknownst to the buyer, however, his financing was contingent upon the roof passing the home inspection. The finance company even wanted the buyer to make repairs before purchasing the home.

SHOULD THE BUYER MAKE THE REPAIRS BEFORE CLOSING?

Unfortunately, Buyer 3’s experience is not uncommon today. Banks are getting stricter. Some options, if the finance company/bank will allow it, is to escrow the money for the cost of repairs.

If the finance company insists on the repairs, you can amend your contract with the seller and include the cost of the repair in the purchase price. Then if they are willing, request that the seller make the repairs. The downside to this, however, is that if you fail to close on the property, you may lose your funds.

At the discretion of the seller, you may be allowed to make the repairs yourself. However, the seller must cooperate with this scenario – but many sellers and listing agents may not let you do this. In addition, if a permit is required for the repair, you won’t be able to do this because, in Florida, a Notice Of Commencement must be signed by the owner prior to getting a permit.  The Notice of Commencement contains detailed information about the project such as property owner, financial institution, jobsite address, contractor, etc., and protects the property owner’s title to the property. Also, an open Notice of Commencement could cloud title on the property making it impossible for you to get title insurance.

BUYERS BEWARE – READ YOUR CONTRACT CONTINGENCIES

Buyers and sellers should always read the inspection and repair contingencies of your real estate contract and make sure you understand them. The contingencies will determine who is responsible for what, what negotiating power you have, the scope of inspections and repair clauses.

The contract may say – no repairs, only repairs to certain items, who will do the repairs, and may even have a maximum amount for the cost of repairs.

Some contracts benefit buyers; others benefit sellers

To illustrate the point, there are contracts that allows the buyer to obtain a general home inspection and then give the seller a copy of the inspection report, indicating which repairs are to be made or stipulating a dollar amount credit in lieu of repairs.

Some contracts state that the seller can then make the repairs, agree to the credit or propose another arrangement, which the buyer can accept, negotiate or reject. This is best for the buyer.

Other contracts state that buyers can insist only that true defects or building code violations be corrected.

 

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice on obtaining repairs for your home purchase. I recommend that if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract, that you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: STEEL STUDS vs. WOOD STUDS

Interior Partition Wall Steel Studs VS Wood Studs:  Which Is Better?

Home Improvement - Metal Studs vs Wood Studs

Often, when I am doing a remodeling job, I am asked why am I using steel studs instead of wood studs. Although the price may be slightly higher, the real costs can be lower – and that is better for you!

Cost of Metal Studs Can Be Lower Than Wood (even though the price is higher per foot)

There are some nuances to this area. Steel framing can cost three to 15 percent more than wood studs, based on Steel Framing Alliance calculations, but metal studs offer cost advantages in other areas that can offset this price difference.

Steel does not shrink, split or warp. As a result, there are no nail pops or drywall cracks to fix after the structure is completed.

Consistent quality means that scrap is drastically reduced (two percent for steel versus 20 percent for wood), which also reduces costs for hauling off and disposing of discarded material.

Most importantly, steel framed walls can be erected faster than wood ones saving on labor costs

Potential Problems with Wooden Studs

With wooden studs, you have to worry about problems like rotting, warping, shrinking, cracking and splitting. Termites, other insects and mold can also quickly destroy wooden studs under the right conditions.

Finding quality lumber to use as studs can also be difficult; it varies widely depending on where the wood is grown. Lumber also has to be sorted carefully and you can’t use any pieces that aren’t straight or have knots, cracks or other imperfections.

As much as 20 percent of the lumber bought for studs ends up wasted, and since wood prices can fluctuate, trying to budget for a construction project is challenging.

 

Metal Studs Are More Convenient

Metal is lighter than wood. Steel framing is easier to handle because the studs weigh a third less than wood and can be installed at 24 inches on center.

They take up half the space of lumber because of its hollowed shape. This makes for easier transporting and storage.

Metal studs can be cut with aviation snips, which means no sawdust.

They also are attached with screws, so moving studs is simple if you make a mistake.

Metal Studs Are More Stable

Wood is prone to twisting and warping; metal is not so walls are straighter. Wood also wicks moisture, which can lead to mold growth and rot, while metal is immune.

Metal Studs Are The Environmentally Responsible Choice

Metal studs are made from recycled metal – they could have been a car fender in a previous “life”. Once a tree is cut down, it’s gone.  It takes years for a new one to grow in its place.

 

 

Knowing your what materials are better for your home remodeling projects will add value to your investment. “Cheaper” is not better, you need to know the true costs.

If you are considering a home improvement project or you need some maintenance advice, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Home Improvement: AIR CONDITIONERS OLDER THAN 2010 HAVE LITTLE LIFE LEFT

WAS YOUR AIR CONDITIONER BORN BEFORE 2010?

If your air conditioner was born before 2010 it is obsolete.

If your air conditioner was born before 2010 it has five years until it is obsolete.

GOOD-BYE FREON – HELLO R-410A (Puron)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the environmental agencies of many other nations around the world, joined together to enact a Freon phase out.

This phase out was created due to scientific evidence that Freon destroys the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet sun rays and it contributes to the phenomenon of climate change.

In January 2010, air conditioning system manufacturers stopped producing equipment that utilizes Freon as the coolant.

HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU

Scenario 1 – A True Story

Last week, I went to look at a house that someone bought at an auction. The condenser (outside unit) was stolen and now has to be replaced. The problem is, manufacturers no longer make condensing units that are compatible with the air handler that still uses Freon. The buyer will have to purchase both an air handler and a condensing unit – a cost that he did not know about before placing a bid on this house.

Scenario 2 – What If?

If your air conditioning system that uses Freon as the coolant develops a coolant leak or another mechanical or electrical problem, you must make a decision between repair and replacement. As Freon becomes more expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain, the cost of recharging the system will continue to rise. It may mean an A/C upgrade is a better choice.

DO I NEED TO CHANGE NOW?

Unless you are having a problem, I would not recommend changing your system now.  But, the newer air conditioning systems are more efficient and by installing one, you may save money on your electric bills.

HOWEVER – IN FIVE YEARS FREON WILL NO LONG BE AVAILABLE

The phase out of Freon, which began in 2010,  is taking place over the course of about 20 years. In existing air conditioning systems, Freon can be used to recharge the equipment until January 1, 2020.

Due to the decrease in the supply of Freon, the cost of Freon has significantly increased and the number of companies that have access to it is getting smaller and smaller. Homeowners who discover that their air conditioners have a Freon leak may end up spending several hundred dollars for a recharge of the system.

Who would have thought that something installed five years ago may only have a life expectancy of another five years.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If your home is aging and you need some maintenance advice, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: PRICING IS MORE THAN MATERIALS AND LABOR

HOME REMODELING BUDGETING

Leading Edge Homes - Home Remodeling Budget Reality

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REMODELING COSTS

Like I have said many times, being an educated consumer is very important before beginning a home remodeling or improvement project. There are many posts on this blog about Hiring a Home Remodeling Professional.

People are sometimes confused by the pricing they see for remodeling projects on the reality television shows or on the websites to find remodeling companies online.

There is more to the cost of hiring a remodeling professional than materials and labor. Determining the cost of your job is much more complex than you think.

Last week I received a call from a potential client about remodeling his bathroom. He thought the job should cost no more than $7,000, when in reality it would cost about $20,000. Were we over-charging or was the potential client living in the 1960s?

THINGS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR HOME REMODELING PROJECT

LABOR COSTS

Assuming the average worker makes $20 an hour, if you have three employees working 50 hours a week for two weeks on a bathroom—which is typical—you’ll have 240 hours of regular pay (3 employees x 40 hours per week x 2 weeks) for $4,800, plus 60 hours of overtime (3 employees x 10 overtime hours per week x 2 weeks) at 1.5 times the regular wage, which adds an extra $1,800. Add it all up, and the cost of labor alone is $6,600.

But, there is more to the labor charge than just the worker’s hourly wage. There is general liability insurance, workman’s compensation insurance, and the cost of the employee’s health and other benefits.

MATERIAL COSTS

Costs for materials can vary, and in most cases, the home remodeling contractor adds a mark-up to the costs of materials. Why? It covers the time to order the materials, pick up the materials, deliver the materials, and replace materials if there are problems with them.

Now, I know what you are thinking. I can save money if I purchase the materials myself. I strongly recommend that you DO NOT do this.

For example, if the faucet you purchase doesn’t work properly, it is the plumber who is responsible to replace or repair it. If you supply the faucet, you will have to pay for the plumber to disconnect the faucet you supplied and then come back and install the replacement faucet.

MOVING FIXTURES

Home remodeling shows make it look like there is nothing involved to change where the toilet, shower or sink are located in a bathroom.  It is not as simple as you think to relocate fixtures.

Floors need to be cut up, walls have to be opened, and in some cases, sewer lines need to be moved. Once the relocation is completed, floors and walls need to be patched.  This is very labor intensive and adds significant cost to a bathroom remodel.

MISC. COSTS

Besides materials and labor, the following items may go into the price of a bathroom remodeling job: bringing the rest of the house up to the current National Electric Code for smoke detectors, trash removal/disposal, floor and dust protection, final cleaning, portable toilet rental, fuel surcharge based on distance to a job site, permit fees, builder’s risk insurance, and advertising costs.

OVERHEAD COSTS

Remodeling contractors also have to pay for other things to keep their companies in business such as secretaries, legal services, truck maintenance, office supplies, and similar expenses. Most people don’t think about that when they see the final price of the bathroom remodeling project, but it adds up quickly.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Understanding the true costs of hiring a professional home remodeling contractor to complete your home improvement project will help you weed out low-quality contractors. In the case of the potential client who believed he could remodel his bathroom for $7,000, if he finds a contractor that will do it for that price:

  • he is in danger of getting an unprofessional job
  • he probably will end up with added costs later or
  • a bathroom with which he is not really happy

If you get a “great low price” you should ask questions to determine why the price is so low. Compare quotes… make sure “everything” is included.

Speak to a home remodeling contractor to get an idea of what your project might cost. Ask questions and understand what is included. If you have two quotes, compare them line-by-line to make sure that you are getting the same materials and level of service.

If you want a professional remodeling experience, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

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