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How To Transform A Fixer-Upper

The real estate market will always have its ups and downs, but real estate is an oft-profitable investment. Real estate investors do their investing for various reasons. Some see a house as a place to hang their hats for years and years, while others look at properties as nothing more than investments. Buying a home with the intent to fix it up and resell it is called a “fix and flip.” In such situations, investors buy homes at below-market prices before refurbishing the homes with the goal of recouping their initial investment and then some when the homes are ultimately put back on the market. Flipping has become popular for both expert remodelers and novice investors. RealtyTrac, the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, noted in its “Year-End and Q4 2015 U.S. Home Flipping” report that 5.5 percent of all single family home and condo sales during the year were flipped properties. This marked an increase from the same time the previous year. Investing in a fixer-upper requires a leap of faith and a vision of what the home can look like in the future. Turning a real estate lemon into lemonade requires certain skills and a good measure of patience. The following are some guidelines to get anyone started.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make an honest assessment of your abilities and which renovations, if any, you can handle. If you are unskilled or inexperienced working with your hands, then it can be easy for an investment property to quickly become a money pit. Before purchasing a property, hire a trained home inspector to tour the home with you and point out all of the areas that will need renovation. With this list, begin getting estimates on how much money the work will entail. Determine if this fits with your budget or not. You do not want to invest so much that it exceeds what you could feasibly recoup when it comes time to sell.
  • Overlook cosmetic things when visiting properties. Cosmetic issues include all of the easily replaceable items in a home, such as carpeting, appliances, interior paint colors and cabinetry. Focus on the bones of the house — the architectural integrity and those little touches that you envision having a “wow” factor.
  • Seek the help of experts. Some flippers think they’ll save the most money by doing all of the work themselves. This isn’t always the case. Professional architects, designers and contractors may help you save money. Contractors have an intimate knowledge of where to buy materials and may be able to negotiate prices based on wholesale or trade costs. In addition, experts can help you avoid common pitfalls because they’ve already done this type of work time and again. It’s smart to rely on expert advice, even if it means investing a little bit more.
  • Save money by doing some work yourself. While the pros may tackle the more complex parts of a given project, such as rewiring electricity or changing the footprint of a home, you can still be involved. Ask to participate in demolition, such as taking down walls or removing old materials from the home. Such participation may be fun, and it can save you substantial amounts of money on labor.
  • Recognize that not everything must be completely redone. Realize that, in some instances, a coat of paint and some new accents may be all you need to transform a space. For example, if kitchen cabinets are in good condition, see if they can be refaced or painted instead of replaced entirely. Install new door pulls/ handles to add visual interest. Look for some ready-made items, such as bookshelves, instead of installing custom carpentry.
  • Think about what the buyer wants and not what you want. Renovate with an eye toward prospective buyers’ needs. Keep things neutral and accommodating. Research the latest trends to understand what buyers might be seeking in a home. You want potential buyers to envision themselves moving right in.

Renovating a fixer-upper takes time, but it can be a worthwhile project, and one that can help anyone turn a profit in a booming real estate market.

Things To Consider Before Building A Greenhouse

Avid gardeners may be enticed by the idea of a greenhouse that allows them to explore their passion for plants year-round. While it’s true that greenhouses afford this luxury, there are important things to consider before erecting a greenhouse in your yard. Greenhouses require ample time to maintain. Greenhouses are not self-managing; they require heat, water, venting, electricity, and maintenance on the part of gardeners. Individuals need to determine how much time they have to devote to a greenhouse and then consider their options. Start by choosing the size of the greenhouse. Many experts, like those at the home and garden information site The Spruce, suggest getting the largest one you can afford and fit into the yard. It is much easier to fill a large greenhouse than try to expand on a small one later on. Next, consider whether you want to build the greenhouse from scratch or utilize a prefabricated kit that can make easier work of the job. Kits typically contain all of the materials needed, and are easiest for someone who is a construction novice. Look for grower greenhouses, which are all-purpose options with adjustable shelving and space for growing plants full-term. The next step is deciding where the greenhouse will be located. The goal is to have a consistent amount of sunlight year-round. A south-facing locale is ideal, and structures should remain north of the greenhouse so they do not cast a shadow on it. The building, cars and technology resource Popular Mechanics advises gardening enthusiasts to take into consideration the angle of the sun during all seasons before choosing a location. Doing so ensures that the sun is not obscured in the winter or fall. Select a spot that also has ample drainage, as you will not want water pooling along the sides of or underneath the greenhouse. Raise the greenhouse on footings to alleviate flooding concerns. Consult with a gardening or agriculture expert about the best way to heat the greenhouse. Options abound with electric-, gas- and propane-powered heating sources. Some systems will require venting. You also will need to know what is available and legal in your area. Check to see if you need a building permit for the greenhouse and any accompanying heating elements. Once the greenhouse is situated, you can begin to add other items, like benches, additional shelving, hooks for tools, and even an automated watering or misting system. Greenhouses take commitment, but the reward is the chance to enjoy gardening all year long.
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4 Home Fix-Ups for Fall

With cooler days and temperate weather, fall is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects, as well as prep your home for winter.

“Cold weather can wreak havoc on your house, leaving you with a long list of repairs,” said Cathy McHugh, director, brand management at DAP. “It’s important to take preventative action now so you can enjoy the coming weather change, rather than making costly repairs later.”

Don’t know where to start? Here are the top four “must-do” repairs from the experts at DAP.

Refresh around windows and doors

Temperature fluctuations and weather extremes can cause cracks and crumbling in sealants around windows and doors. The resulting gaps allow air to creep inside, putting your energy bills on overdrive. In addition, if current sealant has any dirt build-up, the hot and humid weather of summer can foster mold and mildew. Protect your home and give your windows and doors a refresh and waterproof seal that stands up to the elements by applying a new exterior sealant that will provide long-lasting all-weather, waterproof protection, resisting dirt build-up and water absorption. It also comes with a lifetime mold-, mildew- and algae-resistant guarantee. It’s easy to apply and is paint-ready in just an hour, allowing you to quickly repair problem areas.

Repair imperfections and surface damage

It’s important to take a walk around your property and inspect your home and outdoor living areas for surface damage issues caused by hail, wind and heavy rain. Common damage includes cracks in sidewalks and driveways, as well as chips in siding. Address problem areas like these with an exterior filler, which can fill in exposed, vulnerable areas and prevent further damage. To save time and money, choose a multipurpose filler designed specifically for exterior repairs like Platinum Patch Advanced Exterior Filler, formulated with innovative Weather MaxTechnology for long-lasting, all weather protection. The mold-, mildew- and algae-resistant formula creates a durable bond that prevents discoloration, as well as cracking and crumbling over time. It is sandable and paintable and offers superior adhesion to porous and non-porous building materials such as brick, concrete, metal, composite or wood decks, vinyl or fiber cement siding, PVC trim board and more.

Inspect your roof

Start by making a simple visual inspection of your roof. Before hauling out the ladder, use binoculars or zoom in with a smartphone camera to spot obvious damage. If your roof has a relatively flat surface and you feel comfortable on a ladder, then go up for a closer look. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. And of course, while you’re up there, be sure to clear any clogged gutters to prevent potential water damage.

Prepare your furnace for fall

Now is the time to prepare your furnace for fall. Change the filter, clean vents and remove any dirt or dust that has settled on the unit and connections. If you suspect problems, schedule a professional to check it out now – rather than wait until temperatures drop.