Apparently the real estate recovery has finally come to fruition according to many professionals in the industry. Strong listing and sales numbers confirm this, along with the increase demand for investment property, especially multifamily and commercial rental space. Some prices are hitting 2007 levels in some ares which is a strong indicator of economic rebound. According to Bill Mack, AREA Property founder and chairman, “I think the recovery has started, we bounced off the bottom. But the recovery has been tepid, it’s been spotty and it’s been uneven.”
With historically low rates, many homeowners are watching closely for the right time to refinance their mortgages. Those with good credit may well recall being showered with praise by a mortgage broker during the initial purchase for that solid credit score.
Consider coughing up a little dough to take care of these small jobs before they morph into gigantic, expensive jobs later.
Annual HVAC inspection
Cost: $200-$300, depending on where you live.
How often: at least once a year.
When: spring or fall. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, companies aren’t as busy, and you’re not in dire need of heat or air conditioning.
What an inspection might find:
The furnace blower is not working properly. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$150. Possible consequence of letting it go: a broken heat exchanger. Potential savings down the road: $300-$1,000 to replace the heat exchanger or $750-$3,500, depending on the energy efficiency, to replace indoor or outdoor furnace components.
The reversing switch in the heat pump is broken. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$300. Letting it go results in no heat from the heat pump, and the system switches to a more expensive auxiliary heat. Potential savings: lower heating bills.
Bottom line: “Things that happen often happen at the worst possible time in the worse possible conditions and you’re looking at the maximum rate,” says Terry Townsend of Townsend Engineering in Chattanooga, Tenn., and former president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Remember, continual maintenance prolongs the life of the equipment. “You’re sitting there with an investment of thousands in your HVAC system and you’re investing a few hundred dollars in maintenance.”
Cost: $65 for an inspection; $150 for inspection and cleaning, including removal of creosote buildup, which may lead to a chimney fire.
How often: once a year.
When: before your first fire in winter.
What an inspection might find:
There’s no chimney cap. Cost to add: $150. If you let it go, rain water can get into your chimney, damage the chimney liner and damper, and even saturate mortar joints — causing mold. Potential savings: $2,000-$4,000 to replace the chimney liner.
Other problems may include: a cracked chimney crown, which can be repaired for $300-$500; chimney flashing that needs caulking, which can be done for $80-$100; and waterproofing the exterior brick, $350-$600. All these fixes will prevent rainwater from getting in and mold from forming.
Bottom line: “A simple chimney cleaning can prevent chimney fires and damage to your entire house,” says Ray Gessner, a licensed professional engineer and owner of A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps, with offices in the eastern U.S. “Water is the No. 1 problem with chimneys. With water damage, you might need to have your whole chimney rebuilt.”
Cost: $75-$200 for an inspection; $200-$300 for a termite protection contract for qualifying homes with no current evidence of termites to cover treatment and repairs for any later infestation.
How often: once a year.
When: any time, although termites are more active in spring and early summer.
An inspection might find subterranean termites that come from the ground or flying termites. If left untreated, these bugs damage framing, trim, drywall, furniture, carpet, copper and other soft metals. Termites cause more than $5 billion in damages a year in the U.S., says Paul Curtis, director of quality assurance for Terminix in Memphis, Tenn. The average homeowner loss for termite damage is $3,000, but losses can be as high as $30,000 or even $80,000, Curtis says. Most homeowners insurance does not cover repair of termite damage.
Bottom line: “Termites eat the wood from the inside out,” Curtis says. “A typical homeowner would not be aware they are even in their home until months or years after they get in and start causing damage. A lot of people don’t realize that termites don’t just feed on the home. They’ll eat flooring, insulation, books — I’ve even seen them penetrate through swimming pool liners.”
Power washing and sealing wood deck
Cost: $100-$300 for a 200-square-foot deck, more for a larger deck.
How often: every one to three years, depending on the amount of traffic, moss and mold.
When: any time in sunny weather.
Power washing gets rid of stains, algae, mold, mildew and moss. Algae and mold can make your deck slippery and dangerous, says Justin Lee of JL Power Washing in Williamsburg, Va. Sealing your deck after it is cleaned helps prevent water damage. Wood soaks up rain like a sponge, expands and then shrinks, Lee says. Sealing makes the water bead up and roll off. And let’s not forget — your deck will look nicer, too.
If you let it go, your deck will warp, nails will pop out and the deck won’t last as long.
Potential savings: $4,000 to $20,000 or more to replace your deck, depending on size.
Bottom line: “A properly cleaned and sealed wood deck can last 20 to 30 years,” Lee says.
Dryer vent cleaning
How often: every year.
When: a sunny day.
The purpose is to get rid of lint buildup. If your dryer is not on an exterior wall, it’s likely that the vent leading outside is clogged up, says Gessner of A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps.
If you ignore it, the result could be a disastrous fire. “Once the vent gets clogged, the dryer starts overheating and it can catch on fire,” Gessner says. “Dryer fires are very dangerous.”
Potential savings: your home, your furnishings, your belongings and your life.
Bottom line: “I had been airing a radio commercial talking about the importance of dryer vent cleaning for about a month when three people (in our area) died in a fire caused by a dryer vent fire,” Gessner says.
Cost: about 50 cents per square foot for hot water extraction cleaning, or $500 for 1,000 square feet of cleaned carpet.
How often: every 12 months; more often for high-traffic areas and homes with small children, pets or smokers. Manufacturers’ warranties may require cleaning every 18 to 24 months. You can save money by focusing on regular cleanings for high-traffic areas and waiting up to two years for the entire carpet.
When: any time.
If the carpet looks dirty, you’ve waited too long because some soil can’t be removed with vacuuming. This soil will bind to your carpet and dull the texture, shortening the life of the carpet.
Your home also will be healthier with pollen, bacteria, insecticides and dirt removed, says Howard Partridge, founder and president of Clean as a Whistle, a cleaning company outside Houston.
Potential savings: extending the life of your carpet. Replacing 1,000 square feet of medium-grade carpet, including padding and installation, costs about $3,000.
Bottom line: “One of my neighbors had to replace his carpet in less than four years,” Partridge says. “And his carpet looked terrible the whole time. I’ve been able to keep my carpet for 12 years now.”
If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, or would like a recommendation for contractors, contact me directly at 678.983.7987
Cary Daniel Blumenfeld
Harry Norman, Realtors
Buckhead North Office
The Candler Park and Inman Park neighborhoods are located in Intown Atlanta, about 5 minutes east of downtown and just south of Ponce De Leon Avenue. Each neighborhood is proudly labeled one of Atlanta’s first suburbs and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Candler Park and Inman Park are family-friendly neighborhoods with a focus on walkability and livability. Candler/Inman Park is home to many talented people, great shops, bars, and everything eclectic. Nestled right in the neighborhood, Wisteria Restaurant serves up southern hospitality and contemporary southern cuisine along with an award winning wine and spirits list. Also located around the corner is La Fonda Latina, which evokes a carnival mood with their brightly painted furniture and walls. During the last full weekend in April each year, Inman Park proudly presents a Neighborhood Festival widely regarded as Atlanta’s most spirited and eclectic.
Contact me for all of your Intown real estate needs. 678.983.7987
Paint the “Super Pets” this Friday night at Sips N Strokes Toco Hills!
CLICK HERE to see the full calendar
Sips N Strokes Toco Hills
3019 North Druid Hills Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30329
Bring your drinks and come paint the Funky Palmtrees at Sips N Strokes Toco Hills. Located in the Publix shopping center at North Druid Hills and Lavista Road. CLICK HERE for the full schedule.
We have begun renovating our investment property in Brookhaven, the house was built in the 1940s and has definitely been showing its age recently. The first task is tackling the mold infested master bath. After a tumultuous bout with the mold spreading constantly in the bathroom, we decided to completely gut it and find out what the true problem is.
I was kicked out of the festivities once the moldy insulation began to show its ugly face. A few surprises came about, but nothing too serious yet.
Today at the tile store we explored aisle after aisle on the search for the perfect complementary pieces. We are installing wall tiles, shower floor tiles and separate floor tiles. We also had some fun while on the shopping trip.
Cary Daniel Blumenfeld
Harry Norman, Realtors