Is Your Home Insurance Policy Up to Date?

Many homeowners do not know what is covered by their insurance company until they need to file a claim.  Property damages done by a pipe bursting is covered by most insurances, groundwater damage may not be.

For many homeowners, damages done to the roof and basement of the home may not be covered by their insurance company, and they find out their deductible has to kick in before the company makes any payment to cover the damages.

Ask yourself these three questions about your home insurance policy and see if you know the answer without looking at your policy.

  1. Does my insurance company cover groundwater damage? Most insurance companies will cover damages done to the dwelling of your home if the water damage was sudden and accidental. If the groundwater damage was due to the aging of the home, most insurances companies won’t cover it. You must purchase a different kind of coverage with your standard policy to cover any damage done to the property due to groundwater damage.
  2. If my sewer backs up, is that covered? Most insurances policies won’t cover sewer backups, but once again you can purchase additional insurance to cover these eventualities.
  3. Is flooding covered by my insurance policy?  Most companies won’t cover flooding with your regular policy, but through the federal government, you can purchase flood insurance coverage that will protect you against such disasters.   

Most disasters related to flooding come unexpectedly and many homeowners are not prepared.  Personal belongings, appliances or other types of electronics stored in the basement can be lost in a blink of an eye and can cost you thousands of dollars to replace.  The structural damage done to the basement can cost you much more than a few thousand and can put a strain on your finances if not covered by insurance.

Now that you know the type of policy you have, you need to take these three steps to ensure your property is safe and will be safe in the future.

  1. Call your insurance agent and ask whether you can purchase flood insurance through them.
  2. Shop around to see if your agent is giving you the best option. Check the United States Government website concerning flood insurance. https://www.floodsmart.gov/ and make a decision to purchase it as soon as you can.
  3. Make sure to inspect your basement, foundation, and roof for any signs of damage.

Many disasters occur when we least expect them, and even when we want to be prepared, it is impossible to predict when we will suffer one devastating disaster.  What can we do to protect ourselves from such eventuality? The best advice is to buy the right insurance coverage to protect your assets and your families as soon as possible.

Basement Waterproofing and Financing

Storms affecting the Northeast part of the United States are not over, and with the warm weather just around the corner, rain accumulation for many homeowners is not something they are looking forward to experience.

Basement waterproofing companies are busy during this time of year because this is the time when water accumulates around the foundation and find its way to the basement and the walls of your home.

What are some of the signs that you need to see to call a professional instead of procrastinating?

  • Wet spots on the walls,
  • Cracks or shifting
  • Have water sitting on the floor of your basement

If you have problems with any of these issues happening in your home, it is time to call a waterproofing company to inspect it.There are many “quick” solutions you can try before making that call, but eventually, you will need to call a professional to inspect the home.

Are you afraid you cannot afford the basement waterproofing your home needs?

If you do your homework and call at least three trustworthy companies, and compare prices, you will learn that basement waterproofing is not as expensive as you might think.  Some of these companies will provide companies where you can get the financing available, or you can always talk to your personal bank representative to see if their loan offer is better for you than going with the banks the basement waterproofing guys provided.

What loans can you get?

  • A Home Equity Line of Credit is a good choice for you if you have a first mortgage with the bank already.  This kind of loan lets you pay it back at your own pace as long as you pay the minimum payment on time.  You can get a good interest rate for this kind of loan if you shop around.
  • Home Equity Loan lets you borrow a fixed amount with a fixed payment over a period of years.  It can be a 15 or 30 year home equity loan if that is what you wish.  Take into consideration the interest you will be paying over that amount of time, if the interest rate is too high, shop around.
  • Credit Card charges to pay for home remodeling or home repairs is something that we personally do not recommend.  Many people pay for the remodel or materials with credit cards because they want to acquire “points”, but at the end of the day, that is not a solution we recommend.

Whatever route you want to take, talking to the basement waterproofing company for solutions to your basement problem and then for financing available it is the recommended route many homeowners take.  Do your homework first, and you will see great results.


Tips For Homeowners and Potential Home Buyers

For many families in the United States, paying the mortgage on their home is already a tremendous effort. Research has shown that more than half of Americans bought too much house, to begin with, but also the interest rates, taxes, and the house upkeep was not taken into consideration by many of these first-time buyers when applying for a mortgage loan.  Now, when the payments and property taxes are becoming too much, many homeowners realized they bought a house they cannot afford.

If you are buying your first home this year, these are 3 the things to consider:

  1. Don’t buy too much house – The purchase price is not the only thing to consider when you are buying a home.  Consider the bank rate, closing costs, property taxes, homeowner association fees, and the upkeep of the home.
  2. Consider your other debts – If you have student loans or credit card debt, these debts can put a considerable dent in the income you bring home.  Don’t forget to take into consideration the payment you will be made to pay these loans.
  3. Do you have children? – If you have no children but are considering having them, taking into account the expense children bring into the home can be very helpful in deciding whether you can afford the home you are considering buying or not.

If you are a homeowner now and want to make sure things are in order, these are some of the things many homeowners fail to do.

  1. Draft a will – According to research, 60% of Americans do not have a will.  A will is not only for the people that are sick or old, a will is a document that protects your children and their well being.  In case of a tragedy happening in your home, you want to make sure your children and your assets are protected.
  2. Health Care Power of Attorney – This important document is a document protecting your well being while you are alive.
  3. Homeowners Insurance – After buying a home why not protect it? Homeowner’s insurance is a necessity that you should never be without.  A home is one of the most expensive assets a family will ever own, why not protect your investment?

Now that you have owned your home for several years, have you kept up with the home maintenance? Are you thinking about selling?  According to many experts, to add value to your home or even if you  are ready to sell the home, you need to consider this:

  1. Declutter and clean your home – A home loses its beauty if it’s overflowing with junk.  Painting the walls if the rooms need it, or throwing away items that are no longer used nor wanted can clear a home pretty quickly.
  2. Staging your home- There are businesses that their entire income comes from the clever notion of staging the home to have it ready to sell for you.  You do not need to do this if it will cut into your profit, but having a home staged it’s a clever notion that you can do by yourself.
  3. Curb Appeal- If the front of your home is not clean, the bushes are overgrown, the flower beds are full of dead flowers, chances are your home won’t be appealing to many home buyers and the price they may offer won’t be what you are expecting.

These are some of the advice you need to consider if you have children, are a homeowner, or thinking about buying a home.  Due diligence pays and it can save you lots of headaches later on. Enjoy your home!


 

Basement Waterproofing For The Spring

One of the best parts of owning a home is that you are in total control of it.  Certainly, you do have a mortgage, and you do need to make the payments, but the upkeep, the additions, and the remodeling are all up to you. 

Basement waterproofing is a great way to make sure you can enjoy the basement of your home if that is your desire.  Using it for storage, or to have extra rooms to enjoy, the basement of your home can provide a lot of extra space for you and your family.

One of the most important factors for providing a dry basement for your home, it’s the drainage system you have outside the house. It is true that to have a dry, mold and humidity free basement, the proper drainage has to be in place first and foremost.    

The drainage system of your home includes many things many homeowners sometimes oversee. The gutters, downspouts, eaves, and the slopping and landscaping around the foundation of the home are all critically important to keep water from sitting around the foundation and eventually find its way to the basement as well.

According to many waterproof basement contractors, the surface water is one of the many concerns and problems that homeowners have.  Groundwater can be a problem as well, but surface water is the one that causes the most problems that can become costly.

How can you avoid surface water from entering the basement of your home?

Gutters: You have to start with the gutters.  A heavy rainfall can leave you with hundreds of gallons of water hitting the roof of your home and looking for a way to the ground.  If the gutters are clogged or your home doesn’t have gutters, water will undoubtedly remain around the foundation.

The gutters have to be free of debris so they can let the water runoff without difficulty.  To make sure the gutters are clear of leaves or other types of debris, clean the gutters from leaves or small twigs right after the fall season ends.

Downspouts:  Downspouts are your next item to take care of when dealing with surface water.  The downspouts should be directing the water away from the foundation of your home, and many experts believe 5 to 10 feet away from the foundation is the best distance to ensure the water does not linger close to the foundation.

Shrubbery:  The landscaping of your home is important to make the house look more appealing, but make sure the shrubbery, mulch and the slopping of the ground do not let water sitting around the foundation, and eventually the basement of your home.

Do you have questions about basement waterproofing and foundation repair? Call us, we will be happy to talk to you and offer a solution to your problem.


New Year’s Resolution: Home Improvements!

One the many New Year’s resolutions many Americans make every year is the decision to do a home project or two around their homes.  It is a good incentive and it seems more practical than other resolutions we make. 

If you have decided to do a home project and need the help of a professional, hiring a contractor may the next step for you to follow through.  If that is the case and you are ready to move forward remember this:

The state of Ohio requires licenses and permits for many sellers and other contractors in the state.

If you are ready to hire a contractor to do some work in your home, a license and permit are required if you want the work, and your home protected.

These are several businesses that require a license  and permit to do business in the state of Ohio:

  1.    Electric Contractors/Installers
  2.    Plumbers
  3.    HVAC Contractors
  4.    Real Estate Agents & Appraisers
  5.    Boiler Operators

These permits and licenses are required to perform the work and they ensure that the consumer is protected from predatory and shady contractors.  These contractors have to undergo a series of testing, criminal background checks, fingerprinting and even some financial bonding requirements.  Hiring a contractor should not be a deterrent to postpone a serious problem you have in your home. There are many contractors in the state of Ohio that have excellent customer satisfaction records and a long history in their communities.

Some of the serious problems that you may encounter when doing home projects can include:

  1. Foundation problems
  2. Basement waterproofing issues
  3. Roof issues
  4. Electrical problems
  5. Sewer problems

These issues can become a major financial problem if you ignore them, and for the majority of us, they require the help of a professional.  From a small issue that can be easily repaired, these home issues can become big problems pretty quickly.

Other home issues that people don’t tend to take seriously are the gutters and the drainage system in their home.  If you want the rain and snowmelt to drain away from the foundation of your home, you need to have gutters and the drainage pipes to take the water at least ten feet from the foundation, otherwise you will have water sitting around the foundation of your home that will eventually find its way to the walls and basement of your home.

If you are ready, and before hiring a contractor, check your local BBB website to find the rating of some of these businesses.  Check customer satisfaction reviews and complaints about the business, and call at least three different contractors before you make a decision.

Have a spectacular and a great home improvement year!


Basement Waterproofing and Remodeling

Do you know if you have a water problem in your basement?  Many families across the country dream about having a fully functioning basement where they can enjoy with their families and friends.  A place where they cannot only store Christmas or other holiday decorations but and can spend time watching TV or playing with their kids.

What are some of the easy signs to look for in case you have water damage in your basement?

  • Water sitting on the floor of the basement
  • musty smell
  • condensation on the walls, ceiling or doors
  • cracks where the wall meets the floor
  • Rust in appliances you have in the basement
  • Dark spots on the walls or ceiling

Before starting with the basement remodeling, Do you know if there is a water issue you have to attend to first? Water problems in the basement of your home can come from two places only, the inside or outside of your home.  If there is a problem with the pipes of your home and the basement is getting water sitting on the floor, replacing the piping may be the only solution at your disposal.  If on the other hand, the water is coming from the outside, there may be different causes and solutions.

Having gutters clogged by debris and blocking the water passage could be the problem with an easy solution and a prompt fix.  If on the other hand, the foundation is the one with the problem, you may need to contact a basement waterproofing expert to look into it and offer a solution that makes sense to you.

If you know you have a basement problem and want a professional opinion, calling a contractor can be the only option you have.  Finishing a basement by yourself is a project worth doing, and one you may know how to tackle, but having a professional handling a basement project may the right  answer for you. Do you know how to hire a professional to handle your home remodeling project? If not, here is a link for you to check and see what are the right questions to ask before you hire a contractor.


 

Can You Spot Foundation Problems in Your Home?

According to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, 40 million Americans live in a house they cannot afford.  The cost of a mortgage, insurance, and taxes are more than they can afford.  The decline in homeownership in the United States has declined for the 12th.consecutive year, while rent prices keep outpacing inflation in this country. The upkeep of a house is a direct correlation between what you pay for your house and the amount you need to save for the upkeep of your home. If you pay $300,000 for a home, $3,000 dollars should be used to keep up with the upkeep of your home.

The upkeep of a house is a direct correlation between what you pay for your house and the amount you need to save for the upkeep of your home. If you pay $300,000 for a home, $3,000 dollars should be used to keep up with the maintenance of your home yearly.

The foundation of your home may not be your priority when thinking about the upkeep of your home, but remember the structural integrity of the foundation is one of the most important parts of your home.

Do you need answers? Contact us, we will be happy to offer a solution to you.


Can You Identify These Common House Foundation Issues?

How many times have you heard someone dismiss foundation cracks as simply an old house that’s “settling”? Ignoring foundation problems such as cracks and uneven floors can lead to serious – and expensive – problems down the road.

Homes are built on dirt and, over time, that dirt will shift and settle. Clay, for example, will contract and expand depending on the moisture. Sand will erode after significant rainfall or flooding. Plus, the average home weighs 160 tons so that’s a lot of pressure on the dirt underneath your home, explains Michael Connolly, marketing manager for Lowcountry Basement Systems, which recently moved into the Charleston market.

“Problems don’t get better, they only get worse, and the worse they get the more expensive they will be to fix,” Connolly says.


Foundation Danger: 5 Things Buyers And Sellers Need To Know

The foundation might not be the most exciting part of the house, but it is arguably the most important.

When you’re buying a home, there are plenty of fun things to focus on, like putting in an outdoor fire pit, chilling a bottle in that fancy new wine fridge, or relaxing in a soaker tub, to name a few. But before you start envisioning organizing your clothes in that fabulous walk-in closet, drop your eyes down a bit to focus on the home’s foundation. It holds up the house, after all. If what lies beneath isn’t good, it can cause lots of headaches (and cost you big).

Whether you’re a buyer with concerns about your potential new home’s foundation or a seller who has noticed some cracks, you’ll likely need to take some kind of action to resolve the issue (or at least know what you’re dealing with). Here’s what to do.


Signs of Foundation Problems

Homeowners often wonder how to identify the different signs of foundation problems. It’s definitely a good question to ask. Here’s why – the longer you wait to treat visible signs of damage, the more severe the damage can become. Left untreated, minor cracks and leaks can turn into serious structural issues that compromise the value and overall health of your home.

Your home’s structural integrity depends on the strength of your foundation. It supports everything else – walls, windows, floors, doorways, roof – so when your foundation is damaged, it can cause serious problems throughout your home.

Like most things in life, your foundation is subject to environmental stress. Expanding and contracting soil, excessive moisture and inadequate drainage are some of the most common threats to your home’s foundation. Over time, environmental stress can cause the foundation to shift, crack or settle unevenly. And homeowners can often miss the early warning signs of foundation damage.


 

Mold in The Basement

Mold and mildews are both common problems indoors and outside your home.  Humidity in your home can be an indicator that you have water seeping into the walls and floor of your basement.  Humidity is a key component to the mold growing in your basement and causing eye irritation, stuffiness, and more serious respiratory problems.  If you have a family member suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, the mold growing in the basement could be making their symptoms much worse.

What are some of the reasons you have water sitting on the floor of the basement of your home?

Clogged gutters

If the gutters of your home are full of debris, the water may not be finding the correct pathway and overflowing.  Ensuring the gutters are unobstructed to allow the water to flow to the right spout is just common sense, and can save you some headaches along the way.

Cleaning the gutters of your home does not take long if you do them every year.  Try to have someone to help you with the ladder and make sure you follow safety precautions before you start climbing.

Drainage

If water is just gathering around the foundation of your home with no place to go, it may be a major reason why you have water on the basement floor, and seeping through the walls.   The drainage should be taking the water about ten feet from the foundation of your home.

Flower Beds

The flower beds should have the soil sloping away from the foundation to ensure the water doesn’t find a way to your basement.  Bushes and other types of greenery should be kept trim and away from touching the walls of your home as well.

Mulch

Mulch should also be laid flat close to the foundation to avoid gathering water pools and eventually seeping into the walls of the foundation.

Driveways

Even if this is not as common, unleveled driveways can allow the water to run towards the foundation instead of away creating pools of water to seep into the walls and basement of your home.

Leaking Pipes

Indoor water leaking is also a problem if you have leaking pipes without knowing where they are. Before this problem gets any bigger, replacing those leaking pipes can be the solution to the humidity and water problem in the basement.

If you need to find a solution to the water in the basement of your home, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you and offer a solution to your problem that makes sense.


Basement Waterproofing and Other Home Repairs You Can’t Ignore

It is difficult to budget for a home problem when you don’t know if you have one.  An emergency fund can help you solve that problem, but if you have a basement waterproofing issue you may need a bigger emergency fund than you thought.

How do you know if you have a basement waterproofing issue? One of the first and most obvious ones is whether your basement has damp walls. If you have marks around a  specific area on the walls, that may a sign water is getting into that area. If you notice mold or mildew growing on the corners or any other part of the basement, that means you have a lot of moisture and possible water leakage in some parts of the basement.

Don’t wait too long to take care of those problems.  Ignoring them can bring you bigger more expensive problems in the future.  Call waterproofing companies to give you an estimate, and find out whether they have financing available.

For more about this and other problems, follow the links below.


Ask the Carpenter: Tips for dealing with a wet basement

Q. I get water in part of my unfinished basement. I can’t determine whether it is coming in from the outside or up from the water table. I installed a dehumidifier, but I’ve been told that this actually draws in more water if the problem is the water table. What are your thoughts?

A. You may be getting water in your basement for any of the following reasons: lack of gutters, improper ground sloping, clogged perimeter pipes, or hydrostatic pressure.

Your dehumidifier is not causing the water table to rise. Water is seeping in at the wall and floor joint, and oftentimes that can mean hydrostatic water pressure is present. During wet weather, the soil outside your basement becomes saturated. Exterior footing drains aren’t very effective at relieving water pressure, because they usually become clogged with silt or plant roots. With no place to go, hydrostatic pressure continues to build up, and the water will eventually seep in. You have options:


8 Home Repairs You Should Never Put Off

Or you might have a bigger problem in the future.

Hate to break it to you, but ignoring that ugly water spot on the ceiling is the wrong move. Lingering issues around the house can get worse—much worse—if you don’t address them ASAP. Here’s how to identify and fix seemingly small problems before they morph into expensive repairs.

The basement is damp. A musty basement can lead to mold and mildew. Plus, it stinks. Many times, grading the yard encourages the water to run away from the house, rather than leaking into the basement. Installing gutters and downspout extensions channels rain water away from the foundation, which can help keep the basement dry. The worst case scenario is you’ll need to place drain tile around the footings. This job typically requires a pro and costs several thousand dollars.


Three Ways to Ensure Effective Repair Management

After the hottest July on record for the Salt Lake City area, during which my air conditioning unit worked overtime, I noticed a performance slump along with wet carpet in my basement. So, I turned off the AC and called a repairman. He showed up Monday afternoon and simply removed an internal panel, cleaned the drip tray that captures the condensation from the evaporator coil, and unclogged the ¾” drain pipe. I paid a $120 service fee and realized: Had I taken a few extra minutes, I could have saved myself $120, multiple phone calls, and two days of no air conditioning.

Of course, effectively managing repairs for numerous homes across different cities, counties, or even states is much more challenging than doing so for one’s own home. That’s why many lenders and investors hire a vendor partner to develop and execute a successful repair program for their REO or SFR assets. So, what should you look for in a repair management vendor to ensure your repair dollars are maximized?

Understand the Scope of the Repair

Had I really understood what it took to repair my AC unit, I could have done it myself. Similarly, many lenders and investors want to fully understand the scope of repairs, including all the deficiencies of the asset compared to the comparable properties that are available in the neighborhood. Having dedicated, trained vendor partners in the field that are in tune with the local market is essential. Without their input, including photos, descriptions, and their commitment to the best strategy for the asset, you won’t be nearly as effective as you could.


 

What To Ask A Contractor

Are you planning a home project that requires you to hire a contractor?  Do you know what to ask before you begin?

Five questions you must ask a contractor:

  1. How long have you been doing this kind of work?
  2. Are you Insured?
  3. Will you provide a written estimate and warranty?
  4. Are you a licensed and registered contractor with the state?
  5.  Can you provide references I can contact?

Many honest, long time contractors won’t hesitate when you ask them these questions.  They probably expect them and would be more than happy to answer them.  A long history in the community doing the job you are hiring them to do speaks volumes and build trust between the parties.  If the company you are trying to hire has a long history in your community doing great work, the references request you are supposed to ask won’t be a problem for them.

Now, if you call the references they provided, what are some of the questions you may ask?

  1. Are you satisfied with the work they did?
  2. How long ago was the job completed? Is the job holding up?
  3. Was the price agreed upon the final price, or were there other expenses not specified in the contract?
  4.  Were they clean and orderly? Did they arrive on time?
  5. Would you work again with this contractor or company?

The secret to finding a great home contractor

Right now, renovating a home is much, much easier than it was during the real estate bubble. So how do you pick a contractor?

I recall back during the bubble how often I’d get calls from homeowners complaining they couldn’t get a call back from contractors. The frenzy around housing values going up and up and up drummed up plenty of business for contractors at that time.

During the bubble, I even heard of contractors who were so successful that they wouldn’t even give price quotes. The price would just be whatever it would be and you’d have to be in a position to pay it when the bill came due.