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So many lenders to choose from when trying to finance a home!

by The Cincinnati Team

A headache is sure to follow as soon as you sit down to assess how or if you can buy a new home.   Where will you find the funds to do so and who will you ask to help lend you money?  Hopefully, you can gain some insight on lenders from the following article from the website of Home Builders of Greater Cincinnati and this process may feel less daunting!

http://www.cincybuilders.com/financing.html

Please feel free to call us with any questions and visit our lenders page where other clients have gone for financing assistance! 

10 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before You Start Your Project

by The Cincinnati Team

Ask these questions before signing with a contractor for better communication and fewer surprises along the way!

Remodeling or building a new home is a big financial and emotional investment. It can also be a big investment of your time if you want to be closely involved in the decision-making. Knowing what to expect before the project gets started will help you better prepare for the process. Here are 10 questions you should always ask your contractor before starting a home remodeling project.

 

1. What is our schedule? A schedule is more than just a start and end date. Having a schedule that outlines tasks and timing will give you a big-picture view of sequencing and deadlines for things such as tile and countertops. It will also give you a benchmark so that you know if things are slipping by a day or two. 
 

With small projects such as kitchens and baths, schedule is everything. The cabinet lead time determines the start date and sub-trades need to be scheduled in quick succession, for instance. Don’t start without a schedule that tells you what days and times workers will be on site.

2. Who will be here every day? Depending on the size and structure of the company you hire, the answer could vary widely. Many remodelers use a lead carpenter system, where a staff member (sometimes called a superintendent) is responsible for day-to-day work on site, and often swings a hammer as well. Ask your contractor direct questions about who will be responsible for opening and locking up, who will supervise subcontractors on site and who to call on a daily basis with any questions.

3. How will you protect my property? This is a conversation best had before demolition, not after you come home and find dust all over the house. There are a number of dust-containment measures that can be taken, and talking about it ahead of time will provide you will a clear idea of how the construction area will be cordoned off from the rest of your home and how you'll be able to move through your house. 

There’s also the issue of stuff — all the books, furniture, drapes, delicate vases and paintings on the wall. It’s helpful to remove them all from the construction zone. This includes anything hung on walls or sitting on shelves in adjacent rooms, since they can shake loose from persistent hammering. If you leave them as-is, it will cost to have them moved and moved again to keep them out of the way, and you risk damage in the process. It's better to move it all at once and know it’s safe and sound.

4. How will you communicate with me? With every mode of electronic communication at your fingertips, you may have some ideas about how you would like to receive information about your project. Your contractor likely has specific ways he or she likes to communicate, too — daily emails, cloud-based schedules or maybe just phone calls.  Make sure you understand how you will be contacted and receive information. If the contractor's format doesn't give you what you think you'll need, agree on a method and format so that you’re not in remodeling limbo on a daily basis. Weekly meetings at a specific time are an effective way to make sure you see your contractor in person to get your questions answered.

5. What part of my project concerns you? There’s always something unknown about a project, or an area that is most likely to trigger an immediate change order. Odds are, your contractor already knows what that is. Talking about it upfront and running some worst-case-scenario numbers or doing some early, selective demolition to get more information could be the best way to get a handle on what may be ahead. 

6. What will happen if there is a change order? Change orders can be easily handled in your construction contract. A common way to document change orders is in writing, where the change in scope of work and the price are noted and signed by the client and contractor. Some contracts also note the change in schedule, if applicable. Make sure you have a plan in place to document the unexpected and expected changes that happen along the way.

7. How will you let me know I need to make a decision? There are many ways to organize a list of decisions — from spreadsheets, to lists, to notes on a calendar. But all of these methods focus on the same outcome: giving you clear direction about what and when you need to make a decision on something. Asking for a list and deadlines will help you keep organized and ensure you are able to shop for materials and make decisions in time to meet your contractor’s schedule.

8. How do I reach you after hours? Knowing how to reach your contractor on an emergency basis is just as important as your contractor being able to reach you. Exchange all your numbers — work, cell and landline — so that contacting each other won’t be a crisis in itself.

9. When do I need to be available to meet? Even if you set up a regular weekly meeting, there may still be necessary additional meetings. We usually schedule an electrical walk-through on the day the electrician sets boxes and can lights so that everyone can review their placement and function before wires are run. Another key day is when the tile-setter works on layout. There are a number of ways to set tile, and having an on-site meeting is the best way to make these decisions. It’s also possible to have your architect or designer attend those meetings in your place.

10. What kind of documentation will I receive when the project is done? Contracts frequently call out end-of-project paperwork — lien releases, marked-up plans with as-builts on plumbing and other utilities, copies of inspection reports, etc. But there may be additional items you will find valuable: a full set of mechanical photos before insulation is installed, the operating manuals for installed equipment (and a personal lesson in their operation if you don’t know the basics), a list of subcontractors and contact info, care for things such as countertops and tile and a well-marked electrical panel. Confirming that you will receive these things before you get started will help ensure that you finish the project with all the information you need.

(From Houzz Jan. 2015)

Check out these monthly tips on maintenance for October!

by The Cincinnati Team

Here is what I read recently about younger home owners:

"Generally speaking, millennials are not known to be obsessive home DIYers. In fact, as a group, they tend to shy away from serious home maintenance," says Ed Padilla, the founder of the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals.

So maybe this idea of a monthly maintenance calendar would help you not have to spend so much money? Here is a link to Realtor.com for activities to do in the month of October.  https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/home-maintenance-checklist-october/‚Äč

GOOD LUCK! It is important to maintain your home! Call us if you need any service providers in the Greater Cincinnati area for the tough jobs! We have a list of who past clients used and liked. Thanks, Saralou 513-646-4819 or Mary 513-310-4448

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up and Coming Kitchen Trends

by The Cincinnati Team

Want to see what is trending in renovating kitchens?