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Top 3 Building Inspection Mistakes You Should Never Make

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People can get very picky when it comes to acquiring something new. Even with groceries, we try to get as much information about a specific product before actually deciding on purchasing it. So if we are this meticulous with such things, why is it that most tend to forgo the process of building inspection when buying a new house or business space?

There is a reason as to why a thorough building inspection is needed. And that is to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth, and that the space you’re getting is safe.

In this article, allow me to give you 3 building inspection mistakes most people make; so that you won’t.

Not Inspecting New Construction

Regardless if a house or building is new, or has cleared all the necessary ordinances and codes, never assume that it is in good shape. Only until the insides and foundation of the structure is inspected can you truly say that the building is truly in tip top shape.

An example of this is a brand new home in Ohio that was cleared of the entire county and building requirements. Looking at the house everything seems to be ok. But when an inspector checked the crawl space beneath the house, it was revealed that 3 feet of the main support beam was removed.

So like I said earlier, don’t assume anything unless you had it checked by a professional. Unless of course you’re fine with the idea of coming home and seeing your house tilting like the Tower of Pisa

Choosing Price Over Experience

As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.

There are two train of thoughts when it comes to this issue. First is a buyer that sees building inspections as an added expense. The second is a buyer that sees building inspections as part of the buying process. So which one are you?

The point here is not about hiring the most expensive building inspection company, but rather getting best one that you can afford. If you have the cash to pay for a more expensive building inspector, then by all means do so. And if you still that such a thing will only burn a hole in your pocket, think about this; is saving a few extra bucks that big of a deal after buying a new house?

Anyway, when choosing a building inspector, choose that that can provide a full physical check-up of the property. Also, make sure to get their credentials, professional affiliations, licenses, and ask if they carry omissions insurance.

Not Being Present During The Inspection

Though you will be handed a report of their assessment after they’re done, it is highly advised that you should be there during the inspection.

Why?

A buyer that wasn’t present during inspection is prone to overemphasize basic issues, or on the flip-side, fail to realize the seriousness of the problem.

So to make sure you have a clear picture of what you’re about to invest your hard earned money in, take time to go with your building inspector.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and take note of every opinion he provides.

If you are looking for a trusted company that can provide you with accurate information about the state of the home you’re planning to buy, go to Melbourne House Check and request for a FREE quote.

HVAC System Maintenance Can Lower Your Energy Bill

Fewer than half of companies perform preventive or predictive maintenance on their building HVAC systems – even though studies show that good maintenance can cut HVAC energy costs while also extending equipment life, improving occupant comfort, and increasing uptime. Effective maintenance can reduce HVAC energy costs by 5 to 40 percent depending on the system or equipment involved. A variety of HVAC components need ongoing maintenance or energy performance degradation can occur.

Regular scheduled maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can increase their efficiency, and a number of studies have quantified energy savings from maintenance, as well.

These studies fall in two categories:

1. Analysis of failures in individual HVAC components and the energy savings possible by correcting those failures.
2. Whole-system estimates based on interviews with HVAC maintenance experts. Energy Performance and HVAC Component Maintenance

HVAC systems have over 100 components, and many common component performance issues degrade energy performance.

Estimating Whole-Building-System Energy Savings from Maintenance
A few studies have analyzed the whole-building energy savings from HVAC system maintenance.

• The New Buildings Institute found that best practices in building maintenance and operations reduce energy use 10 to 20 percent across all climate zones in the United States. In contrast, poor maintenance practices can increase energy use by 30 to 60 percent. The study included HVAC systems setpoints and schedules, economizer operation, ventilation controls and settings, and HVAC system efficiency and fan power (these last two variables were included as surrogates for adequate maintenance and balancing of the HVAC system).

• Portland Energy Conservation Inc. found that building operation and maintenance programs specifically designed to enhance the operating efficiency of HVAC and lighting systems decreased energy bills 5 to 20 percent in commercial buildings, without significant capital investment.

• The National Center for Energy Management and Building Technologies conducted 45 interviews with industry experts, and concluded that effective scheduled maintenance decreases energy bills 15 to 20 percent in commercial buildings.

Management Approaches to Capture HVAC Maintenance Savings

Often, energy savings opportunities through maintenance are missed.

There are three basic approaches to maintaining HVAC systems in buildings:

1. Reactive maintenance. Under this management practice, used by 55 percent of companies, HVAC systems run until a problem or failure occurs. (This strategy also called run-to-fail maintenance.)

2. Preventive (or scheduled) maintenance. This practice, used by 31 percent of companies, the periodic maintenance of HVAC equipment, generally as prescribed by the manufacturers.

3. Predictive maintenance. Practiced by 12 percent of companies, this strategy differs from preventive maintenance by basing maintenance on the actual condition of the machine, rather than on a preset schedule.

Predictive maintenance can be the most cost-effective over the long term, but does require technology infrastructure investments up front.

For more heating and cooling tips, feel free to checkout HVAC Cincinnati.

The Three Myths That Surrounds Ductless Mini-Splits

If you check HVAC related forums, you will see that there is somewhat a hefty conversation regarding the use of ductless mini splits. This stems from the highly successful marketing campaign by HVAC companies to push this product to its consumer.

There is no denying that it indeed has something to offer consumers, but is it all hype, or does it actually deliver on all its promise?

Sales of ductless mini-spit system will eventually dominate the U.S. market

Current industry statistics does not see this as accurate. Though the sale of ductless systems in the US has indeed grown since 2005, it has slowed down and has been in stagnation since 2010.

Yearly sales figures of ductless systems are at 260,000 units. Some might see this as a huge number, but in reality it only amounts to 4% of the annual unitary AC shipments.

What is in continuous growth though are larger commercial AC systems.

Ductless mini-splits are the best solution for home HVAC systems

Economic numbers don’t support this. Fact is, for a ductless mini split to cool a 2,000 square foot space, its operational cost alone is three times the cost of replacing an existing central AC system with another ducted unit.

Even in a home where the owner needs to create a new duct system for its AC unit, the said owner would still have to shell out 50% less on a regular AC system than a ductless one.

Ductless mini-splits are more energy efficient due to less air leakage

What this information lacks is the fact that some ducted homes that do have air leakages does not totally lose its cooling integrity. What happens is that when some homes lose air through duct leakage, it actually leaks back inside the home, and thus contributes to the actual cooling of the space.

But what is exactly lost is the cooling energy associated with the leakage.

As for mini splits, they don’t lose air through ducts but through other means. Mini splits distribute conditioned air through refrigerants.

In most cases, the lines of these refrigerants are found outside the

conditioned area and are thus prone to thermal loss due to energy transfer from the outside to the inside of a home.

For a more detailed explanation of these myths from an industry expert, click here.

Paint Finish Guide for Any DIYer

For someone who has little to zero knowledge about paint, choosing the right paint finish can be very overwhelming. Yes, paint finish matters as much as paint colors. So to help newbie DIYers, we’ve come up with a simple guide to help you get it right.

The rule of thumb:
Before we proceed with the guide, there are some basic rules of thumb you need to keep in mind:

  • The higher the sheen, the higher the shine. The higher the shine, the more durable the paint is.
  • Flat paint doesn’t shine
  • High-gloss paint is all shine
  • Other finishes include: eggshell, satin and semi-gloss.

Each of this has their own decorative jobs to do. And that’s what we will talk about next:

Paints have different finishes, find one that suits your needs.

High-gloss Finish
From the name itself, high-gloss paint sheen is ultra shiny. And because of this, it has the highest capacity to reflect light. It’s considered to be the most durable of them all. It is hard and tough. Have you noticed how tough appliance paints are? Yep, high-gloss paint is that tough.

This finish is often used in kitchens, doors and window trim. Most particularly, it is best for areas that sticky fingers touch. For example:

• Cabinets
• Trim
• Doors

It may not be ideal for interior walls because it’s too shiny. It may not be kind to the eyes. Also remember that because it’s ultra shiny and reflects light, it will show every bump and roll found on the surface where it’s applied. The solution? Don’t skip the prep work.

Semi-gloss Finish
Again, from the name itself, this contains a certain level of shine. This type of finish is great for spaces where there is high level of moisture and where the walls are exposed to grease. I’m sure after reading this, you could now name the places where you can use a semi-gloss finish.

Semi-gloss is great in kitchens, bathrooms, chair rails and yes, trims.

Is it durable too? Yes, definitely!

Satin Finish
I love the luster this paint sheen leaves behind. It’s velvety and the beauty of it is that it’s easier to clean. Having said that, it’s great for areas or spaces where there is heavy traffic – think hallways, foyers and kids’ bedrooms.

While it’s easy to fall in-inlove with Satin, don’t forget that satins has some application flaws. Touch-ups proves to be a little tricky too. But once you’re done painting the room, you’re sure that it will last for a long time because satin is also very durable.

Eggshell
Eggshell is a no-shine finish. It’s flat, unlike its other paint high-sheen cousins. Apparently, the finish got its name from, you guessed it, the real chicken egg-shell. It may have a little lustre up its sleeve, but that’s all. Just think of a chicken egg and you’ll know what I mean.

What I love about eggshell is that it has great coverage. It can hide wall imperfections, which makes it perfect for dining rooms and living rooms.

Matte or Flat
Unlike high-gloss paint sheens, flat paints don’t reflect light and therefore don’t show-off or highlight a wall’s imperfections. It is perfect for areas that have so much to hide because it soaks up light and has the most pigment, providing great coverage. It’s best for places like adult bedrooms.

One weakness of flat paint sheen is that it’s harder to clean. If you’re not careful enough, you run the risk of taking the paint off with the grime.

 

Other resource:

http://www.handyman.net.au/

5 Renovation Mistakes To Avoid

There are a lot of renovating mistakes homeowners make. One is ignoring prep work, second is having unrealistic budget and third, well, everything that can go wrong because you didn’t prepare for it. To avoid these mistakes, I’m giving some tips that I hope you’ll keep in mind:

1. Using cheap materials
I think this is one of the most common mistakes that people make. They buy cheap materials hoping to save money and feeling quite optimistic that the material can hold out for a long time. But no, you get what you pay for. If you want the renovation to last for a long time, you should invest in high quality materials so that you don’t have to do repairs every now and then.

If you want to renovate your home, do it. If you can’t afford it yet, then don’t force it. It doesn’t hurt to wait just a little longer.

2. Inaccurate measurements
This usually happens when people do their own measurement or are doing a DIY project. You would think that a half an inch will not matter, but doing a home renovation will prove you wrong. A difference of a half an inch can really do some damage. Nailing the dimensions is really important if you want to get the full effect that you’re gunning for.

If you’re not confident with your measuring skills, ask for help. Call someone to come over and do the measurements for you. It’s better to do this before it’s too late. Don’t risk it because if you make a mistake, it’s going to add up to your cost and delay you further.

3. Prepare before you start you renovation
You can’t cut corners and go right ahead with the project because you’re only increasing your chances of making costly mistakes. Do it the right way from the get go. Take the time to do some preparation, anticipate mishaps and have readily available solutions if that happens.

Yes, I know that maybe prep work is not the most exciting thing to do but it will save you time and money later down the road.

4. Don’t duct tape it
I know a lot of people who use duct tape to repair problems instead of actually getting down and dirty and do some actual repairs. Seriously, leave the duct tape out of this because it has some other use where it can have some lasting effect. If you use a duct tape to repair holes, this is just a temporary fix. You know that you have to have that hole repaired one day soon before it goes bigger and more expensive to fix.

5. Use of the wrong tools
Sometimes, people use something else for a hammer, and another tool for a drill. Plus points for resourcefulness but minus points for not being smart enough to know that, one small mistake, it can wreck your entire project. If worse comes to worst, you could even wreck yourself for not using the right tool. So why risk it?

 

Other resource:

http://www.lifestyle.com.au/

Easy Living Room Remodelling Tips

Fully furnished living room The living room is the center of most homes. This is where most of the socializing and family bonding happens. It’s always great to have a living room the reflects your personality, preference and lifestyle as a family. If you’re planning to remodel your living room to tailor-fit your needs, here’s an easy-to-follow tips for you:

1. Enough space
If you feel that your living room is too small for you, then maybe it’s about time to expand your space. You can either add a room, knock down a wall to extend your space or you could use space saving fixtures and furniture.

Space-saving fixture and furniture are great if you have a small house or apartment. For instance, instead of using a long sofa, you can use an L-shaped sectional that you can place in the corner of your living room. If you have a small space, wall-mounted fixtures and lamps will do the trick. Another way to save space and make your living room seem bigger is by using a flat-screen TV instead of a tube or boxy television set. Adding mirror in the living room will also create an illusion of space.

2. Use cool paint colors
This is one way of tricking your mind to believe that you have a bigger room. Cooler paint colors are room openers. They give the illusion of a wide space.

If you have kids, you can use primary colors. If you want a more formal or sophisticated feel to your living room, you can use white, beige, black or brown.

You may also use blue or green, if that floats your boat. These colours have soothing and relaxing effects.

3. Wallpaper or Paint?
There are times when papering your wall makes more sense than painting it. However, if you’re planning to sell your home a few years down the line, you probably need to think twice before papering your walls.

Why?

Many realtors think that wallpapers actually decrease the value of your home. This is because most homebuyers just don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing it. That’s just a heads up though. If you really want to use wallpapers, go ahead. Just make sure that you use high quality wall papers so your living room would look really great and it would last longer too.

4. The details
Typically, living rooms have wainscoting, baseboards and crown moldings. These simple details make your room look really polished and refined. If you think your living room looks bland, check out these moldings and see if one of which will suit your space.

5. Environmentally-friendly options
If you can remodel your living room, if not your entire house, into a more energy-efficient space, then by all means do it. You can save a lot from your utility bills plus you’re also helping the planet. And did you know that by having an energy-efficient space you’re also increasing the value of your home? Well, now you know.

 

Other resource:

http://www.houzz.com.au/

5 Kitchen Renovation Tips for all Homeowners

Renovating your kitchen is an exciting project. I love renovations because it adds value to your home plus it’s also a form of self-expression, in support of your lifestyle. Who you are, what you do, where you live and who you live with plays a major role in the type of renovation you’re going to make. Having said that, I’ve come up with some important things to consider when doing a kitchen renovation project:

1. Don’t use cheap materials
Using top quality materials means that your drawers will stay closed and your cabinets will not fall off. You’re guaranteed that your materials will hold your kitchen together for a long time and can take the wear and tear.
For example, make sure that you don’t buy drawers that are made of particleboard or sloppily stapled together. It won’t last.

2. Cabinet heights
If you have a 5-foot ceiling, you don’t want a cabinet that’s too big or too tall for your space. Choose cabinets that go to your ceiling. Why? These types of cabinets offer more storage. Now, if your ceiling is more than 8 feet high, leave 15 to 18 inches above the cabinets.

3. To paint or to stain
Just know that if you use stained-wood cabinetry, you may have to have it stained again soon. This is because it usually dates quicker than paint. If you’re okay with this, then by all means, go ahead and stain those cabinets

4. Use elegant countertops
I love white Carrara marbles and wood because it just makes your kitchen look elegant, classy and warm. If this is not your cup of tea, you can also opt for honed Kirkstone slate, soapstone and Wiarton limestone. To make it look more sophisticated, you can plastic laminate it with a wood edge.

5. No need to overdo the details
Remember that the kitchen is not another home but an extension of your home. Therefore, it should compliment or be compatible with the style of your home. Make sure that you don’t add too much detail; don’t be guilty of decorative excess. Subtle details go a long way. People can see that and they appreciate that.

 

Other resource:

http://www.completehome.com.au/

Increase The Value Of Your Home With Under $100 Budget

Many people are under the impression that home renovation always involves a lot of time and money. But it’s not always the case. You can actually add value to your home no matter what your budget is. In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how far your $100 can go in terms of home improvement.

1. Talk to a pro
Typically an interior designer charges around $100 for a consultation fee. Find someone good in your area and invite them over to your home. They will always be willing to do this for a certain price. You can also talk to a realtor and they too can give you tips on how to improve your home, but unlike interior designers, they may do this for free.

Spend an hour with them and with that little time, they can give you a lot of ideas on how to improve your home. Even as simple as paint color or furniture placement can do a lot in making your home look chic.

2. Do some home inspection
If you think that home improvement is all about cosmetic and aesthetic, think again. Hidden damages can lower the value of your home. So, do some check up and see if you have deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or problematic electrical systems. If you have no skill or experience doing some inspection, hire a professional inspector. They will tell you if your home has some integrity problems that you don’t see.

You have to make sure that you fix these problems as soon as possible so it won’t go out of hand. The bigger the problem, the more expensive the repairs will be.

3. Paint your house
Repainting your house is the easiest and most cost-effective way of upgrading the look and feel of your home. Making your home look clean and updated adds value to it.

However, the key to achieving this effect is also choosing the right colors. Generally speaking, people lean more towards neutral colors – such asa white or beige. It’s more appealing to more people.

How much does paint cost? It can cost somewhere around $25. This gives you extra for rollers, painter’s tape, brushes and whatnot. A few gallons of paint should do the trick.

4. Be inspired
Hiring an interior designer is expensive. What we recommend that you do is find inspiration in other people’s work. There are a lot of remodelling and decorating inspirations on the net and magazines, make use of those. Do-it-yourself projects are great if you don’t want to spend too much on renovation.

 

Other Resource:

http://www.hgtv.com/

5 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Home

Buying a home is probably the biggest, if not one of the biggest, investments one will ever make. So it’s really important to know what to expect from the experience. It’s also important to know what you need to cover to avoid costly mistakes. To help you sort this out, we’ll share with you a few tips before you start your house hunting:

1. Examine your lifestyle
What is the lifestyle that you lead? Do you like a suburban style or do you feel excited about urban cityscapes? Do you want to feel like you live in pasturelands?

This should help you narrow down the location you’re going to look into. Each location, each locality has its limitations and by knowing what you want, you save time and energy. Make sure that you also know what each location offers that will suit your lifestyle.

2. Ownership cost
Mortgage isn’t the only consideration a homeowner should have. You also have to think about expenses that comes along with home ownership. Examples of these expenses are:

• Property taxes
• Repairs
• Association fees
• Lawn maintenance
• Maintenance of your home

3. You can either buy or build your new home
Do you own research—ask the experts or ask a family member or friends. Know that building your own home, tailored according to your specifications is going to be more expensive.

If you want to buy a house, then prepare to do some remodelling and renovation. Are you ready to do this? Remodelling also involves a lot of work and planning and can be expensive too.

So I suggest you do your research first, weigh your options, talk to contractors and other people you trust before you decide.

4. Loan
If you’re going to buy a house on a loan, make sure you read the fine print before agreeing getting a mortgage. Know every detail of the contract and if you’re not sure about it, ask someone to explain it to you.

For instance, are there hidden costs that could drive your mortgage up? How much is the down payment? How much is your monthly payment? If you can’t pay on time, how much is the penalty. Again, read the fine print and understand all the clauses of the contract.

5. Have a buyer’s broker
A buyer’s broker represents you, your desires and your needs. There are also brokers or real estate agents that represent the sellers – they’re not what you need. You need someone who will help you find the property that suits you and then represent you the best way possible.

They may be a bit hard to find but as soon as you find one, they’re really a great investment because they are required by law to find you the best terms. Not only do they work for you, but they also help lower the stress that comes with hunting and buying homes.

Other resource:

http://www.realestate.com.au/blog/

5 Things to Consider Before A Home Renovation Project

Home renovation, be it a small or big project, requires massive preparation. I’ve lost count of how many homeowners underestimate their home renovation project, only to find themselves buried in mountains of debt or just settling for really mediocre results. We’ve come up with a list of 5 things you have to think about before starting a renovation project so you can avoid similar setbacks:

Learn more about what you should consider before renovating your house

1. Budget
How much can you afford? How much are you willing to pay? Realistically speaking, what can your budget afford?

If you want a swanky kitchen, then prepare to save more and spend more. You can’t say that you have a $500 budget for a kitchen that looks $5,000 more expensive. Unless you’re getting things for free, then perhaps that is possible. But hey, let’s be realistic here.

If you have no idea how much you could possibly spend, talk to a friend or a family member who has gone through the same kind of project you’re planning of doing – say a kitchen or room renovation. Do some window shopping and compare the costs.

Add an extra 20% on your budget for any unexpected expenses that might come up. Don’t forget to discuss it with your contactor just to make sure you’re on the right track.

2. The right contractor
Since you will be dealing with a contractor for the home renovation, make sure that you’re only working with a legitimate and trustworthy company. It’s important to feel secure and confident that your contractor can deliver exactly what you discussed and agreed upon. It also pays to get objective and honest advice about your home renovation plans.

How do you find a contractor?
I say, word of mouth is your best source of information. Otherwise, you can check out the internet for great contractors near you. Read the testimonials on their site or social media page.

3. The key is to be realistic
You might be thinking of doing a full kitchen project, that’s great. But let’s say after much research and cost comparison, you realized that the cost of a full kitchen reno is much more than you anticipated. You may have not saved up that much money yet. If this is the case, I wouldn’t recommend spending more than what you can afford.

You can do the project in different phases or waves. Let’s say you want a stone floor in your kitchen. You can either wait until you’ve saved enough money or you can start by painting your subfloor a putty grey. This should allow you to install the stone floor later or whenever you have the budget for it.

4. Do your homework
Do some research. Talk to trusted friends, family members, colleagues and contractors. Make sure that you have all the information you need before you decide on renovating your home. Start the project with a clear understanding of what you want from it. How do you want your space to look and feel? If you can’t express it in words, find some pictures that depict your thoughts.

5. Details
Make sure you’ve nailed the details for each and every corner of your space. Don’t forget the icing to your cake.

 

Other Resource:

http://www.completehome.com.au/