The Weiss Team's Blog
If you have a list of home contractors that you use and are satisfied with, consider your yourself lucky!
Many homeowners find themselves in the unenviable position of having to blindly search online for reputable contractors, sort their way through dozens of miscellaneous reviews, and then hopefully find a handful of promising candidates to interview.
Even after all that, there's no guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied with your choice!
Although picking a contractor may sometimes feel like a gamble, there are strategies for lowering your risk factor.
A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is usually the most reliable method of finding the right person for the job. If a relative or friend has had a positive experience with a roofer, bathroom remodeler, or plumber, then there's a good chance, you'll be satisfied with them, too. It's still a good idea to get two or three contractor estimates, but a good starting point is to have at least one recommendation from someone who has your best interest at heart.
Do Online Reviews Help?
Online review sites can also provide helpful information and feedback, but they're not always the "unvarnished truth". In spite of efforts by review sites to discourage biased reviews, some are probably going to slip through. For example: Have you ever read a review that sounded like it was an advertisement for the contractor? Sometimes when the praise sounds just a little too glowing and over the top, you can't help but wonder if those reviews are genuine and unbiased. Although the majority of online reviews are probably legit, the best way to view them is with a healthy dose of skepticism.
When it comes to the occasional scathing review by a disgruntled customer, one has to put it in context and look at "the big picture." There are some customers who are literally impossible to satisfy and will always find something to complain about. However, if a contractor has more than one or two negative reviews online, and they're not offset by a couple dozen positive ones, then that could be a potential red flag. Since you don't know the reviewers personally, and the reviews are often posted anonymously, the credibility factor is much lower than if you got a recommendation from one of your parents, a close friend, a next-door neighbor, a sibling, business associate, or your real estate agent.
The point at which you should be able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is during your face-to-face meetings. If a contractor gives every you indication of being professional, honest, knowledgeable, experienced, ethical, and customer-service oriented, then they're probably a good prospect for the job. Other factors include the price they quote, their Better Business Bureau rating, and their willingness to provide references, proof of insurance coverage (such as general liability and Workers' Comp, if applicable) and direct answers to all your questions
Submitting a "fair" offer on your dream home may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine what it takes to submit a fair offer on a home that increases the likelihood that a home seller will accept your proposal without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure that a first-time homebuyer can submit a fair offer on a house.
1. Study the Housing Market Closely
Are you preparing to submit an offer in a buyer's market or a seller's market? Ultimately, the current state of the housing market may help you define a fair proposal based on the sector's conditions.
For example, a buyer's market frequently includes an abundance of top-notch residences and a shortage of homebuyers. In this market, you may be able to submit an offer at or below a home seller's initial asking price and receive an instant "Yes."
On the other hand, a seller's market usually features a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundances of homebuyer. As such, you may need to submit an offer at or above a home seller's initial asking price if you want to secure your dream residence.
For first-time homebuyers who analyze the housing market closely, they should be able to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market. That way, a first-time homebuyer can determine fair market value for a residence and submit an offer that corresponds to it.
2. Evaluate Your Homebuying Budget
There is no need to overspend for a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. But with a homebuying budget in hand, a first-time homebuyer can resist the urge to pay too much to acquire an outstanding residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage often provides a great option for those who are uncertain about how much they can spend on a home. This budget will enable a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search based on the finances at his or her disposal.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of your mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your budget and move one step closer to acquiring a terrific residence.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-have for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. This housing market professional can teach you about the intricacies of buying a house and help you submit a fair offer on a residence any time you choose.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and help you overcome any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at your convenience.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and by doing so, a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on a residence.
If you have watched any home search show or any home renovation show on television, you probably know that granite countertops are the hottest thing, right? Maybe, but there’s so many different kinds of materials that make for fantastic countertops. You need to choose the types of countertops that will fit your budget and your lifestyle. There’s a new countertop material that’s taking over.
Quartz refers to engineered stone. This is a manmade surface. This shouldn’t be confused with quartzite, which is the solid stone alternative to granite. Manufactured quartz is actually now the leading countertop material according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
Granite Is Out Quartz Is In
Quartz has many different advantages over granite. This material won’t let stains pass through and can stand strong when faced with acidic foods. Quartz also doesn't require the need to be sealed. As a bonus, quartz is more scratch and chip resistant than granite and many other popular countertop materials.
Quartz is also considered a greener choice when it comes to choosing a countertop. This material doesn’t need to be mined or shipped long distances. Both marble and granite require these carbon intensive processes. Using quartz for your countertops is really good for the environment and your wallet at the same time.
The Downside: Patterns Look Uniform
The downside to quartz is that the patterns look kind of uniform and bland. Quartz manufacturers have actually come up with a way to create patterns in the fabrication process. This is the end of boring quartz in the kitchen.
The Newest themes in home design are all about functionality and low maintenance. Many kitchen showrooms are adjusting accordingly, using marble sparingly in their displays and featuring granite. Every aspect of home design from furniture to tile is now being made with low maintenance materials so that homeowners have it easier time keeping up with their homes.
Other Materials For Countertops
- Solid surface
- Butcher block
- Other kinds of stone
- Other woods
- Stainless steel
As you can see there’s many choices out there as to what to have your countertops made of. There’s a good reason why Quartz has become the number one material for kitchens everywhere.
You could be tempted to choose a countertop based on looks alone, however there’s much more to consider. You’ll need to look at your habits and lifestyle, then consider what you want out of a material. Each type of countertop material provides different benefits to maintenance, durability and cost. If you have kids, for example, white marble may not be the most economical choice for you. You’ll be pretty upset the first time some peanut butter is spilled on the countertop or some finger paints end up there. Knowing how you live will help you to make a countertop choice that you won’t regret.
The roof of a home is one of the primary concerns of real estate transactions for both buyers and sellers. An aging roof can affect the value of your home. Often, if your roof is over 20 years old, it’s wise to have it repaired or replaced. The material that is chosen for the roof is just as important as the way that the roof is constructed. A new roof may even make your home look more updated and more attractive.
Types Of Roofing Materials
When you are deciding on certain roofing materials, you’ll need to consider some things:
- The color of the material
- The weight of the material
- Will the material stand up to severe weather conditions?
- How much does it cost?
This is the most popular type of roofing material. These shingles can be reinforced without the appearance changing. It does come in many different colors and is the least expensive type of roofing material ranging between $70 and $120 per square. The downside to asphalt is that it doesn’t have a very long lifespan compared to other kinds of roofing materials, lasting somewhere between 20 and 25 years. It also isn’t a very insulating type of material, which is a downside for home construction.
Slate is a beautiful material that can be used for roofing. It appears with many different shades including shades of green, gray and red. Slate is a very sturdy material. It’s even fire resistant. The problem is that it’s very heavy and requires special installation. The good news is that your investment is well worth it. Slate roofing can last between 50 and 100 years or longer!
Wood shingles are a sought after roofing material. They weather well, turning to shades of gray, which is attractive for some homebuyers. One obvious problem with wood roofing is that it’s a fire hazard. Wood shingles are treated with a fire-resistant coating. Fire codes could prevent you from being able to install this type of roof in your area. In wetter climates, wood shingles can mold or rot away. Wood shingles cost about $100 to $150 per square. The lifespan of wood shingles is somewhere between 25 and 30 years.
Other Roofing Options
There’s many synthetic roofing products that are available. These include rubber, plastic and polymer. A roof can be made so that you end up with the color and the look that you want. You can have a synthetic roof made to look like slate, making it more affordable. These synthetic materials can even be fire resistant. Synthetic roofing materials aren’t as expensive as their alternatives, making them more attractive for home construction. This type of roof also can be much more durable. The problem with roofs like these is that they can absorb water and their quality varies. This could cause obvious problems in the future once this roof is installed. The price of synthetic roofing varies but these roofs can last up to 50 years.
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