7 Simple Home Improvements to Beat the Winter Blues
Winter can be a tough time of year for many of us, especially after all the holiday excitement dwindles down. Itâs cold. Itâs dark. Itâs gloomy. And this is when many of us start to feel the winter blues settling in.Â
But there is good news. By planning out a few simple home improvements you can easily transform your space into a happier and cozier place to be, while also enjoying time spent inside. Sprucing up your home can feel good during any season, but certain projects are perfect for giving you a much-needed mood boost during this time of year.Â
So, if winter is getting you down, consider these home improvement projects to help you beat those winter blues, no matter how short the days are or how low the temperatures drop.
1. Repaint living spaces
Feeling like your home is in need of a dramatic change? A new coat of paint can be a cheap and effective way to switch things up in no time. During this time when many of us need a mood booster, take a page out of the psychology book, and surround yourself with colors that help you relax and increase happiness. In general, cool colors have a calming effect, while warm colors add comfort and can be invigorating. White can help brighten rooms by reflecting light. It makes a small space feel larger and more open, which can help you feel more energized.
Painting can require some patience, especially if you are considering a brand new color, but it’s easy enough for even a DIY beginner to accomplish. And, with the right attitude and a few friends or even some favorite music, you can make repainting your walls fun, too. If youâre feeling overwhelmed by your painting project, consider hiring a local painting company to tackle it for you.
2. Update your homeâs lightingÂ
What better way to brighten and warm your spirits this winter than with the perfect lighting. Not to mention itâs an easy and affordable way to make your home a more comfortable place to spend time.
Instead of sticking with whatever fixtures came in your home when you bought it, you can use the doldrums of winter as an excuse to try this simple home improvement. Light fixtures are affordable and can often be installed without an expert. Whether you repurpose your holiday string lights or invest in a daylight lamp, the options are endless. You can also completely change the ambiance in your home simply by replacing any harsh white bulbs with calming yellow ones.
3. Maximize natural light with windows or skylights
With the shorter days and gloomy weather, one of the main factors leading to winter blues this time of year is the lack of natural light. The best solution for this is to increase the amount of sunlight in your home. If your current windows aren’t letting in enough light or air, it may be time to upgrade.Â
Skylights can also be an excellent way to improve natural light. This is true even if you live somewhere like Miami, where the sunlight is abundant. Skylights can be installed in many areas of your home, with kitchens and baths being among the most popular choices. Adding more light and sun can go a long way in making the winter darkness a little easier to manage.
4. Install a sound system
There’s nothing like a great song for instantly lifting the spirits. Playing some of your favorite tunes at home is the perfect remedy to help fight your winter blues. It’s a bit less impactful, though, when you’re listening to music through tiny laptop speakers. If you want to really immerse yourself in the sound of your favorite songs, invest in a home sound system.
Setting up a surround sound system or a sound system that plays across multiple rooms is quite simple. Modern technology allows for easy connectivity with Bluetooth, ensuring your home is ready for fun without a costly or complicated setup process.
5. Improve organization
After spending months inside due to the pandemic, followed by the holidays, your home may be overrun by clutter. Think about how good youâll feel when youâve cleaned your house, and everything has been put back in its rightful place
Improving the organization of a space can occur in a number of ways, from purchasing storage boxes and bins to custom pieces for the closet. A few simple home improvements can go a long way. Whether thatâs just going through old mail, sorting clothing to donate, or filing papers, organizing can help create a nicer living space. If youâre feeling overwhelmed with the process, bring in a professional organizer or declutter to help.
6. Add greenery to beat winter blues
Plants are amazing gifts of nature. In both work and home environments, live plants can boost your mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity. Plants come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny succulents to large potted plants, making greenery a functional and flexible option for everyone. You can choose from flowers, greek plants like ferns, or even herbs to add color and life to any room.
If you have a large living area, potted trees can also be an excellent addition and one of the simplest home improvements you can do. Available from local nurseries and mail order services nationwide, plants make it easy to add a dynamic living focal piece to any room.
7. Create a bedroom sanctuary
Thereâs nothing quite like having a cozy place to escape to on a cold winter day. From fluffy blankets and bedding to essential oils and warm, ambient lighting, your bedroom can be a place of peace from the moment you walk in. Flannel sheets can keep you nice and warm while a plush rug to sink your toes into will add comfort.Â
Making it through yet another winter may seem tough, but a few simple home improvements can be just what you need to turn a cold-weather frown upside down. From a little repainting to installing skylights, there’s plenty you can do to increase your happiness and take your home from bland to beautiful this season.
The post 7 Simple Home Improvements to Beat the Winter Blues appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.
Good Riddance to Open Floor Plans and Cabinets Galore: Top Kitchen Trends of 2021>
Remote-Work Boom During Covid-19 Pandemic Draws Real-Estate Startups
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A group of real-estate startups is aiming to cash in on the remote-work phenomenon.
With many corporate offices closed because of the pandemic, manyÂ young professionals have left citiesÂ like New York and San Francisco for warmer, cheaper places. A number still plan to return after their offices reopen, leaving them reluctant to buy homes or sign long-term apartment leases.
That situation is creating fresh demand for furnished housing on a short-term basis, a fast-growing niche that many property startups and their venture-capital backers are rushing to fill.
One of them is Landing, which runs a network of furnished apartments across the U.S. When it launched in 2019, the Birmingham, Ala., and San Francisco-based company initially planned to operate in about 30 cities last year. Instead, it expanded to 75, largely because demand grew much faster than expected, said Landing Chief Executive Bill Smith.
âCovid has taken a decade of change that I was thinking was going to happen between now and 2030 and kind of compressed it into a year,â he said.
Legions of remote workers also offer these firms a chance to make up for reduced tourist and corporate business. San Francisco-based Sonder, which rents out furnished apartments by the night, ramped up its marketing of extended stays during the pandemic, according to Chief Executive Francis Davidson. Stays of longer than 14 days now account for about 60% of the companyâs business, up from less than a quarter before the pandemic, he said.
Kulveer Taggar, CEO of corporate-housing operator Zeus Living, said his firm experienced a steep drop in demand as companiesÂ hit the pause button on employee travelÂ and relocations. But he was able to make up some ground by renting apartments to individuals. People working from home now account for about a quarter of the companyâs business, Mr. Taggar said, up from virtually nothing before the pandemic.
Unlike Sonder and Zeus, remote workers were a key part of Landingâs business before the pandemic. Its customers pay an annual membership fee, which gives them the right to rent furnished apartments in any city. The minimum length of stay varies from 30 to 60 days, and the company asks for a monthâs notice before a customer moves out.
The company is popular with college-educated young professionals who donât want to be tied to a single location. Since the start of the pandemic, it has seen a growing number of customers leave New York and San Francisco and move to cities like St. Petersburg, Fla., and Denver, Mr. Smith said.
In November, Landing raised $45 million in venture funding from a group of investors led by Foundry Group and including Greycroft and Maveron, along with $55 million in debt. Mr. Smith said he hopes to expand to 25,000 apartments by the end of this year, up from around 10,000 today.
That growth carries risk if demand from remote workers were to disappear again after the pandemic is over. Still, Chris Moody, a partner at Foundry Group, said the number of furnished apartments available under flexible terms is still so small that he doesnât worry about a lack of customers.
âEven at the end of 2021, we wonât really have scratched the surface,â he said.
The post Remote-Work Boom During Covid-19 Pandemic Draws Real-Estate Startups appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
If a Sale Doesn’t Go Through, Who Pays the Appraisal Fee?
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If youâre buying a home, one of the (many) things you must check off your list is hiring a professional to do a home appraisal to assess the property’s value. But what if you check it off your list and then, for whatever reason, the home sale falls throughâwho pays the appraisal fee then?
Letâs take a look.
What is a home appraisal anyway?
A home appraisal is a professional assessment of how much a property is worth. Unless youâre paying for your home in cash, itâs a non-negotiable in the process. Most lenders require an appraisal before theyâll grant you a mortgage. Your home is their collateral, and if you canât pay your mortgage, they want to make sure they can get back as much of their money as possible. An appraisal also helps protect you from buying an overpriced property.
The appraiser will take an unbiased look at a home, the condition itâs in, any repairs it needs, and other factors, and will also likely compare it to other similar properties in the area before providing an estimate of what they think it’s worth. An appraisal goes deeper than the comps your real estate agent likely gathered and presented to you when you were first considering the propertyâbut not as deep as a home inspection, which youâll also want to have completed in most cases before the sale is final.
If the appraised value is higher than the cost of the home you want to purchase, good for you! Youâre making an investment thatâs paying off from the get-go. If, however, the appraised value is lower than the price of the house, then you have a variety of optionsâincluding negotiating with the seller, challenging the appraisal, and/or getting a second one. Or, of course, you could walk away from the deal completely.
The cost of a professional appraisal varies depending on where you live; but in general, you can expect to pay somewhere around $300 to $400 for one.
Who pays the home appraisal fee when a deal falls through?
In most cases, even though the appraisal is for the benefit of the lender and the appraiser is selected by the lender, the fee is paid by the buyer. It may be wrapped up into closing costs, or you may have to pay it upfront.Â There are some cases, however, in which a seller will offer to pay the appraisal fee to make the deal more attractive.
So, back to the original question: When a sale falls through, whoâs on the line for the fee? In most cases, itâs still going to be the buyer.
âThe buyer is usually required to pay the appraisal fee upfront, and it is owed even if the lender does not move forward with a loan,â says Lee Dworshak, a real estate agent with Keller Williams LA Harbor Realty in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. âWhile the seller may have agreed to pay all closing costs, if the closing does not occur and the property is not conveyed, the seller is not required to pay your appraisal fee.â
If a buyer doesnât pay the appraisal fee upfront and instead rolls it into the rest of her closing costs, that doesnât mean she’s off the hook if she doesnât close.
âIt has nothing to do with the seller; it is ordered by your lender, and payment is due regardless of the outcome,â says Maria Jeantet, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker C&C Properties in Redding, CA. âIt is typically paid by the buyer unless specifically negotiated ahead of time to be paid by the seller.â
Having a home sale fall through is usually a bummer for both the seller and the buyer, and having to pay for an appraisal on a home youâre not going to buy adds a bit of insult to injury. Just know that while the appraisal fee can sting, it can save buyers from a much bigger financial wallop that comes with buying an overpriced home.
In the grand scheme of things, itâs a small price to pay when it comes to finding the right house at the right price.
The post If a Sale Doesn’t Go Through, Who Pays the Appraisal Fee? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?
How long does it take to buy a house? The answer is: it depends. You can buy a house in a matter of weeks or it can take you anywhere from 4 to 6 months. The question is how ready are you? It can take a long time, and that’s just learning about various mortgage options or improving your credit score.
So understanding the various factors involved in buying a house can give you an estimate of how long it will take you to buy the house
Check out now: 5 Signs You Are Not Ready To Buy A House
How long does it take to buy a house? A step-by-step guide.
It can take a homebuyer a few weeks to several months to complete the home buying process. But when determining how long it will take you to buy a house, you first have to find out if you will be pre-approved for a mortgage. There is no sense of shopping for a house to then realize you can’t afford it.
If you are interested inÂ comparing the best mortgage rates through LendingTree click here. Itâs completely free.
I. How long does it take to get a pre-approved mortgage letter in order to buy a house?
If you’re serious about buying a house, it’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage. So when it’s time to make an offer, the seller will know you’re serious. If you don’t have one handy, the seller will likely move to the next buyer.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage in order to buy a house can take longer. That is because you have to make sure your financial situation is in shape. For example, your income-to-debt ratio, your down payment, and your credit score must be good. That’s exactly what a mortgage lender will look at.
Even when these things are in order, shopping and comparing mortgage rates and fees can take several weeks.
Let’s take a look on how long it will take you to get these things in shape before buying a house.
Click here to compare mortgage rates through LendingTree. Itâs completely FREE.
A. How good is your credit score?
A low credit score can make buying a house take longer, because it can take months to a year to improve a bad credit score.
A conventional loan will usually require a 640+ credit score.
In fact, your credit score is the number 1 item mortgage lenders look at to decide whether to offer you a mortgage. And if it is not where it’s supposed to be, you might get rejected.
Luckily for you there are other ways to get a loan with much lower credit score: FHA loans.
FHA loans only require a credit score of 580 with 3.5% down payment. You may get qualified with a 500 credit score, but you’ll have to come with a 10% down payment.
So before you get into the fun part of shopping for a mortgage or visiting homes, it’s best to know what your credit score is and take steps to improve it.
You can get a free credit score at Credit Sesame.
B. Fix errors on your credit report.
Fixing errors on your credit report in order to get pre-approved for a loan in order to buy a house can take 30 days.
According to Transunion, “most investigations are completed within 2 weeks, but some may take up 30 days.”
Again, we recommend you get a free credit report at Credit Sesame. A credit report will give you a detail analysis of your credit history, how much debt you owe, and how creditworthy you are, etc. If there are any errors or inaccuracies, fix them immediately so there’s no surprise when you’re actually applying for a mortgage.
The best way to do that is by filing a Transunion dispute or Equifax dispute.
C. Do you have a down payment for the house?
How long it will take you to buy a house will also depend on whether or not you already have money saved up for a down payment.
Unless you’re going to buy the house with outright cash, you’ll need a down payment. And saving for a down payment can take a long time. Depending on your income and expenses, saving for a down payment on a house can take years.
Assuming, for example, you want to buy a house that will cost you $450,000, and you’re using a conventional loan to finance the house. With a 20% down payment, you will need to come up with $90,000.
Let’s say again, because of other monthly expenses, you can only save $1500 a month for the down payment.
You see how long it will take you to save for a down payment to buy the house? 5 years. And that doesn’t even take into account other upfront costs of buying a house, such as closing cost.
While it’s possible to get a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% of the home purchase price, it’s advisable to put at least 20% down. The reason is because you will avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lenders in case you default on your mortgage.
Home buyers with a down payment below 20% are usually charged with PMI.
Another reason for a larger down payment is that it reduces the cost of the mortgage, grows equity much faster, and saves you on interest over the life of the loan.
As you can see, it can take you as much as 5 years from the time you’re thinking about buying the house to the time you’re actually ready to start the process.
But once you have taken care the things above, buying a house can go a lot faster.
II. How long does it take to find a real estate agent?
Average time: 1 day to a month
Once you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, the next step is to find an experienced real estate agent. Finding a good real estate agent can take a day to a month. Websites such as Zillow and Redfin list real estate agents you can use.
III. Shopping for a home.
Average time: a few weeks to a few months
With the help of a real estate agent and your own due diligence, finding a home can can go faster or take longer depending on available homes, the season and your desired location.
But experts say on average it can take a minimum of three weeks to a few months.
IV. Making an offer, negotiation, and inspection.
Average time: 1 to 10 days
Once you have found the home of your dream, the next step is to make an offer. You and the seller can go back and forth negotiating the price.
Once your offer has been accepted, you and the seller sign something called a purchase agreement. Then, the next step is to hire a professional to inspect the home for defects. Depending on your state, a home inspection must be completed within 10 days. And if the inspection finds some defects in the house, that could delay the process.
V. How long does it take to close on a house?
Average time: 30 to 45 days.
Once the inspection is done, your lender will need to officially approve you for the loan. And depending on the lender, it can also affect how long it takes to buy a house. You may need to provide additional documents. But the lender will need to assess the home for its value. And depending on the program (whether it’s conventional loan or FHA loan) it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to close on a home.
When asking yourself this question: “how long does it take to buy a house?” The answer is : it depends. If you have your credit score, your down payment, your other finances under control, you can buy your house in two months or less. But if you have to save for a down payment, fix errors on your credit report, raise your credit score, the whole home buying process can take years.
Click here to compare mortgage rates through LendingTree. Itâs completely FREE
Still wondering how long it takes to buy a house? Read the following articles:
- 5 Signs You’re Not Ready To Buy A House
- 10 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes To Avoid
- 3 Signs You’re Not Ready to Refinance Your Mortgage
- The Biggest Mistakes Millennials Make When Buying a House
- 7 Signs You’re Ready To Buy A House
Work with the Right Financial Advisor
You can talk to aÂ financial advisorÂ who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). So, find one who meets your needs withÂ SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals,Â get started now.
The post How Long Does It Take To Buy A House? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Chipotle to Hold Nationwide Hiring Event to Fill 15K New Jobs
Chipotle is kicking off the new year with a nationwide hiring blitz.
With hundreds of new restaurants in the works, the fast-casual Mexican food chain plans to fill 15,000 new openings, according to the hiring announcement.
To make headway on those recruitment efforts, all Chipotle locations are holding a âCoast to Coastâ career event Jan. 14. On-site interviews are taking place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time.
As a safety precaution, outdoor and curbside interview accommodations are available.
âPlease bring a mask and follow all safety protocols while youâre in the restaurant,â the company said.
To participate in the hiring event, you must fill out a brief application and select an available interview time slot at your local Chipotle. Do not show up without requesting an interview.
Compared to the overall restaurant industry, Chipotle has fared well throughout the pandemic. The company hired 10,000 new workers in July as it added new locations and built drive-thru windows at many existing locations. In November, Chipotle unveiled its first ever âdigitalâ restaurant in New York to experiment with only providing drive-thru and pick-up orders.
Job Openings at Chipotle
Chipotleâs recruitment spree is focused on hiring new restaurant team members, which primarily consist of line cooks, food preppers, and cashiers. These positions are entry level.
According to job listings on the companyâs career board, the main crew-member requirement is that you must be at least 16 years old to apply. All training is provided.
Chipotle doesnât have a company-wide minimum wage. On average, crew members earn about $10 to $11 an hour (or local minimum wage if higher) according to thousands of self-reported wages on Glassdoor.
To entice new workers, the burrito chain has been experimenting with new perks and benefits available to all employees, part- and full-time:
- Medical, dental and vision insurance.
- 401(k) retirement plan after one year of employment.
- One free meal per shift.
- 100% tuition coverage for select degrees and universities through a partnership with Guild Education.
- Tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 for schools and degrees outside that partnership.
- Paid time off including parental leave.
- English as a second language training.
If Chipotle meets its hiring goals, the companyâs workforce is set to exceed 100,000.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, remote work and other unique ways to make money. Read his âlatest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Renovate or Sell? Why We Bought a New Home
When we bought our first home in 2013 we thought it would be our forever home. We planned on renovating once we were in a better place financially, but 6 years later we found ourselves struggling with the decision to renovate or sell.Â
The post Renovate or Sell? Why We Bought a New Home appeared first on Homes.com.
Steps to Building a House
In this article:
- Check your financing options
- Locate the right lot
- Plan and design the home
- Hire professionals
- Understand the process of building a house
If you can’t find your dream home on the market or if you want to create a home that’s uniquely yours, you might consider building a house. Buyers who decided to build new homes were more likely to say that selecting the floor plan, having everything in the home be brand-new and customizing their home features were among their top reasons.* Before deciding if new construction is for you, you’ll want to learn about the different types of new-home construction and familiarize yourself with the process, from the initial land search all the way to selecting finishing touches.Â
Typically, when someone says they’re planning to build their own home, they are referring to a fully custom build where they have a say in almost everything (short of items restricted by local laws and zoning regulations). But, in the realm of new construction, there are three different approaches buyers can take:Â
Spec homes. With a spec home (short for speculative home), a home builder designs and constructs a single-family home without having one individual buyer in mind. Instead, they plan on selling the house to a buyer once it’s finished. Depending on how early in the process you are able to go under contract, you may be able to select some of the home’s final touches, like flooring, kitchen appliances and paint color. Sometimes these homes are listed for sale as “pre-construction.”Â
Tract homes. With a tract home, a developer purchases a parcel of land and divides it into individual lots. Then, a home builder constructs all of the homes in that planned community. Tract homes can be condominiums, townhomes or single-family homes. Most homes in the community will look similar, and shared amenities are common. Similar to spec homes, you may be able to select some finishes in advance, depending on the timeline.Â
Fully custom homes. With a fully custom home, you typically find the land on your own then hire a builder to build your dream home. You have total control over the floor plan, layout and finishes, but the process requires a lot of decision-making, attention to detail and disciplined budgeting – custom homes can be expensive.Â
Since custom homes are the most complex new construction option out there, we’ll spend most of this article explaining the process.
Check your financing options
Once you’ve decided that building a custom home is the right choice for you, the next step is figuring out how you’ll pay for it – and a traditional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage isn’t an option for custom home construction, at least not at first.Â
Unless you can pay for the entire build with cash, you’ll likely be looking for a construction loan, which is also sometimes called a self-build loan or a construction mortgage. Getting a construction loan is often more difficult than getting a traditional mortgage, as you’re borrowing money for a concept and not a physical house. You’ll need to provide your lender with a timetable, budget, floor plans, materials needed and extensive details to be considered. Other things to know about construction loans:
- They have variable rates that are often higher than typical mortgage rates.
- A 20%-25% down payment is usually required.
- The loan can include the land you’re purchasing or it can cover only the construction costs if you already own the land.Â
- There’s an opportunity to refinance into a traditional fixed-rate mortgage once construction is complete.
Locate the right lot
If you don’t already own the land you plan to build on, you’ll need to shop around for the right lot. A real estate agent can help you identify lots for sale in your area.Â
As you narrow down lots you like, you’ll want to loop in your architect and builder to make sure the lot you select fits the needs of your home’s floor plan and design. They should be able to help you check zoning laws and restrictions and identify any attributes of the lot that might make it more expensive to build on – for example, a steeply graded lot may require more engineering, or a lot in a remote area may necessitate a septic tank.
Plan and design the home
Figuring out the size, layout and style of your home is a big task, and it can happen before or after the lot is selected, depending on your individual plans. When you’re building a custom home, the sky’s the limit, although you will need to keep in mind your budget and any limitations of your lot. And, if you don’t plan on living in the home forever, consider how design decisions will affect the home’s future resale value.Â
The professionals on your team will be able to help you home in on the right style and layout, but it doesn’t hurt to get a feel for what you might want in advance. Drive around your area and identify homes you like. Look for interior design inspiration online or research the latest smart home features to see if you think they’re worth the added cost.Â
Here are a few important design decisions that need to be made early on:
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms. How many people will be living in the house? Is your family growing, or are you downsizing? What about houseguests?
Single story vs. two story or more. Are there mobility issues that should be accommodated? Would a one-story home be easier for those with limited mobility living there?Â
Outdoor space. How important is outdoor space and how much should you have? The bigger the yard, the more maintenance involved.Â
Open concept or individual rooms. How open you want your house to be depends on your taste and lifestyle. Individual rooms give a more classic feel, while open concept homes are more modern.Â
Home style. What aesthetic do you want your house’s exterior to have? Tudor, Cape Cod, craftsman, colonial?
Interior design. Are you partial to modern design, a more traditional look or something in between? If you plan on using the same furnishings you have now, will they match the look of the new home?Â
Additional features. Think through other features that need to be decided on early in the process, like smart home compatibility, eco-friendly materials or solar panels.Â
Future resale value. If you think you’ll sell the home at some point in the future, consider the home’s possible resale value. For example, if you add a pool or an upscale kitchen, will your home be priced too high for the neighborhood?
Building a home isn’t an easy task, and it’s rare to take on the entire project yourself. So, you’ll need to have several different professionals by your side to ensure your home is structurally sound, follows local code and suits your needs.
Hiring the right builder can make or break your custom home experience. Choose someone who is not only a licensed general contractor but also has a portfolio of custom homes and success stories in recent years.Â
To find your builder, you can ask for a referral from friends and family, search online, or ask your real estate agent for recommendations. A good builder will help with:
- Zoning laws, including acquiring permits
- Infrastructure needs, like utilities and sewer
In most places, in order to even apply for permits, you’ll need architectural plans. Discuss the following details with your architect before they create your blueprints:
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
You may also want to hire an interior designer who can help with the finishes once the framing and structural elements are in place. From flooring to bath tiles to fixtures, there are many design choices that need to be made, and it can get overwhelming for the average home buyer. If you do plan on making all the interior design choices on your own, don’t wait until installation time. Start researching finishes and fixtures early so you can set your budget.
In addition to these key players, there are other professionals involved in the custom-home-building process. Many of these people are hired by your home builder or general contractor:
- Land clearing crew
- Structural engineer
- Inspector (from the city)
Understand the process of building a house
After the designs and blueprints have been finalized and your permits have been approved, that’s when construction starts and your home begins to take shape, generally following these steps:Â
1. Land prep
The first step in the construction process is getting the land ready. This includes clearing the area, digging trenches and making sure utilities are installed.Â
2. Footings and foundation
Your foundation will be made of poured concrete reinforced with steel rods. Depending on the part of the country you’re building in and the design of your home, you may have a slab foundation, crawl space or a full basement. No matter what kind of foundation is poured, it will be sprayed with a waterproofing material and inspected by the city before framing begins.Â
In the framing step, the bones of the home start to take shape. Framing includes the floor joists, subfloors, studs that form the walls and roof trusses. During this step, the crew will wrap the house to protect it from moisture. If construction is taking place during a rainy time of year, your builder may also install windows, roof shingles and siding during this step.Â
4. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC
Once the home is “dried in,” subcontractors will start installing the home’s major systems, including plumbing pipes, electrical wiring and heating and cooling ducts. Each of these steps requires signoff from a local inspector.Â
Your home’s insulation needs will vary by climate, but in general, insulation will be applied to exterior walls, basements, crawl spaces and attics. Fiberglass, cellulose and foam insulation are all options.Â
Drywall panels are hung with screws, taped and mudded, and a spray texture is applied. Then the new walls are primed with paint.Â Â
7. Interior finishes
In this step, most of the home’s interior features will be added. This includes doors, baseboards, casings, window sills, stair balusters, kitchen counters and cabinets, bathtubs, vanities, and hard-surfaced flooring. Interior painting and hardwood installation are sometimes done during this step, but they may be done later if there is risk of damage due to continuing construction.Â
8. Exterior finishes
Driveways, walkways, patios and final grading to direct water away from home will all be completed. Landscaping and exterior decorating happen during this step too.Â
9. Fixture installation
With the house close to completion, toilets, faucets, light switches, heat register covers, the hot water heater, the electrical panel and the HVAC systems are all installed. Many of these items require another round of inspection. Another task that happens in this step is the installation of glass fixtures like mirrors and shower doors.Â
10. Flooring installation
Carpet and hardwood flooring are added in this late stage. Make sure to check with your builder on the status of your hardwood finishing process so you don’t accidentally damage them.Â
11. Final inspection
Once construction is complete, a final inspection will be conducted by a local building official. Upon passing, you’ll receive a certificate of occupancy, which gives you the green light to move in.Â
12. Final walkthrough
Before you move in, you’ll want to do a final walkthrough with your builder to identify punch list items that need to be repaired for the job to be considered complete. Common punch list items include electrical defects like nonfunctioning outlets, damage to drywall and paint, or missing fixtures.
Skip construction and buy renovated
Building a custom home is a complicated process, and it can take well over a year depending on your location, lot complications, house size, laws and the permit-approval process. Another option is to buy a home that has already been renovated – you get a fresh and updated feel without having to do the work yourself.
Shop Zillow-owned homes
Buyers of Zillow-owned homes can be confident that the homes they buy have been professionally renovated by local contractors. With Zillow-owned homes, you can avoid the stress of a custom build and make yourself at home.
*Zillow New Construction Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019
The post Steps to Building a House appeared first on Home Buyers Guide.
What to do when you have problem neighbors
Figuring out how to deal with bad neighbors can be a major struggle. There’s nothing worse than buying a house and then realizing you have nightmare neighbors. But you don’t just have to grin and bear your neighbors’ undesirable behavior or tension on the block. With the right approach, you can turn it into an opportunity to build a good relationship, create a more positive environment for you and the rest of your neighborhood.
Here’s how to deal with bad neighbors
First off, make sure you’re not the bad neighbor.
It’s easy to see what your neighbor is doing to drive you nuts, but it’s a little harder to understand how your behavior might be affecting them. Because you’ll never get a neighbor to shape up if they think you’re the problem, make sure you’re as close to a model homeowner as possible before approaching them. A few hard questions to ask yourself:
- What’s your noise level like? Loud TV, music, or machinery can drive neighbors bananas any time of day. And even normal noise, from say, lawn mowing, shouldn’t be waking them up in the morning or preventing them from enjoying a peaceful evening.
- Are your pets quiet and friendly? Noisy, threatening, or roaming dogs â and even roaming cats â can become a sore spot for neighbors.
- Do you keep things tidy? If your lawn is overgrown or your kids’ toys are strewn all over the place, it can become an eyesore. Neighbors may start to worry about your poor home maintenance hurting their home value.
- Do you respect property lines? Don’t let your trees, fences, or any other property encroach on a property line, unless your neighbors specifically say they’re fine with it. It may seem fussy, but it can prevent all sorts of disputes.
- Are you playing tit-for-tat? If you started parking over the property line because their dog barks too much, you’ll never sort out who was really in the wrong â or find a solution. Revenge, no matter how minor, is never successful at dealing with bad neighbors.
Once you’re confident that you’re notÂ engaging in anyÂ bad-neighbor behavior, you can approach your neighbor to talk about what’s bothering you.
Develop a friendly relationship.
Trulia’s Neighbor Survey showed that one in two Americans doesn’t even know the names of their neighbors â and that can be a major hindrance to resolving conflicts peacefully. Introduce yourself at the first opportunity so that you have a strong rapport to build upon if a problem arises. It will be a lot harder for your neighbor to keep causing you grief if they see you as a friendly face.
To start a pattern of good communication, tell your neighbor in advance any time you’re having a party, doing a renovation, or anything else that could create noise or commotion.
Assume good intentions.
Don’t go in guns blazing when you approach a neighbor about what’s bugging you. Drop by and approach the subject in a friendly fashion, or, should you need to gently escalate the situation, request that they meet you for coffee. That will indicate that the issue is a big deal to you.
Neighbors often don’t realize that they’re creating a problem, and it’s best to avoid seeming like you’re accusing them. Put yourself in their shoes, and start by assuming that their problematic behavior is not because of any ill will towards you.
Be sympathetic if your neighbor complains.
While it’s important to bring up problems to your neighbor in a constructive way, it’s just as crucial to be thoughtful and cooperative when you’re the one accused of poor behavior. The complaint may not make much sense to you â for example, leaves from a tree on your property falling into your neighbor’s yard. But it’s more important to be friendly and accommodating than to be “right.” Respond to any complaints or requests the way you’d like them to respond to yours. If you’re willing to try to make their lives better, they’ll be more likely to do the same for you.
Document everything, just in case.
With luck, you won’t ever need to involve a third-party when sorting out how to deal with bad neighbors, but it’s always possible. While it’s worth doing everything you can to resolve an issue peacefully and willingly, you should also document every step along the way just in case. On the off chance that you need to involve a homeowner association (HOA), a neighborhood group, the city building department, or even the local police or an attorney, maintain a record of relevant dates, times, emails, texts, and even photos, so the facts are at your fingertips if you need them.
Research the rules before taking action.
Before turning your complaint into legal action or a formal complaint, make sure you know what you’re talking about. Contact the local housing department, consult a lawyer, talk to your HOA, or just do some solid Googling to get a sense of what the neighborhood rules and the law have to say about your issue. You want to make sure you’re on the right side of things before making a big deal out of i. (For one of the most common neighbor problems, check out this handy guide to easements.) Then â again, in a gentle and friendly way â you can let your neighbor know that the law or rules are on your side.
For critical issues, contact the authorities.
Of course, friendly conversations don’t always fix everything, even if you’re in the right. If you’ve tried everything else and the problem neighbors haven’t stopped their offending behavior, it may be time to get the authorities involved. Just make sure you consult the right authority about the issue â and always make the police your last stop. For instance, an issue with trash all over someone’s lawn can probably be resolved with the city’s code enforcement department. And a noisy or frequently loose dog might warrant a call to your HOA before the police or animal control.
Avoid scenarios likely to cause conflict.
Some situations between neighbors are almost guaranteed to cause conflict â for example, buying a home next to one that shows signs of being a hoarder house or one with a shared driveway. No matter how likable your neighbors may seem, tensions are likely to rise in situations like this. So unless you know your neighbor extremely well, it’s best to avoid the possibility entirely.
Find out what homes are available in the friendliest neighborhood you know onÂ Trulia.
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