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November 2019

10 Ways to Save on Your Home Renovation

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If you’re in the market for home renovation tips; look no further. We’ve got you covered for your 2020 home renovations. Read on and let us know what you think in the comments!

If you are unfortunately having surgery, you put your life in your doctor’s hands and hope for the best. Unless you are lost in the wilderness and have to practice DIY medicine on your own body, medicine is one thing you are going to totally leave to the pros. If you’re moving, you likely will consider getting help from the pros, but this is sometimes a DIY project that you’re comfortable with.

When renovating your home, however, even if you have hired a top contractor to do the work, there are still some things you can do to save money and even expedite the project. Check out our 10 favorite DIY home renovation tips that you can either suggest to your contractor or actually implement yourself.

Do the Demo Yourself

We’ve all seen those HGTV shows where the real estate agent picks up a hammer to demolish a wall, and frankly, it’s easy to tell if they’ve never done demo work before. You, however, might be really good knocking down walls, and there is no reason to pay anyone else if you have time to get the job done.

Ask About Skylights

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Windows can be expensive enough but cutting a hole in the kitchen wall to add a new window can be very costly. Alternatively, consider a skylight that can be as small as a floodlight fixture but when properly placed can allow a great amount of natural light to enter your space.

Find Used Stuff

Distressed fixtures, doors and flooring can look great, and you don’t have to spend big money to get that look. Go to the recycling center and see what you can pick up. Sometimes it’s good to go there even before you make any final plans so that you can see what materials are available to you.

Trade Efficiency for Size

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Sure, you may want a giant closet for all of your clothes but consider using a smaller space while designing it to handle significant storage. Smaller spaces mean cost savings.

Donate That Trash

Check with your CPA, but there are legit ways to deduct donations of your trash to recycling centers. If a door has some value to someone else, you may be able to save tax dollars by donating it.

Pick It Up

Freight costs are expensive, and if you add your contractor’s employees to the delivery mix, you’ll probably find that you can save a lot of money by gathering construction materials yourself and then delivering them. It may be cheaper for you to go to the Home Depot with some helpers, rent a pickup truck and move a load of drywall by yourself, for example.

Clean Up

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If you are not skilled in demo, and you don’t want to move materials, at least you should be able to help with the basic construction cleanup. According to Bin There Dump That (USA), in today’s good economy, basic construction labor—even for cleanup only—can be very expensive—so you can save big dollars by doing it yourself.

100 Wall Patches v. a Bulk Fix

If you have a very ugly wall, it can be a big challenge to patch every hole, smooth each rough area, and then coat the wall with the proper paint or sealant. There are textured wall finish materials that come on a roll that can easily and cost effectively cover a wall like the one pictured above.

Wait Until Your Pro Needs the Work

Friends of ours called a contractor about renovating a bathroom and the person that answered the phone said, “Oh, I don’t know if they are taking any new work now.” That should be an obvious red flag that it’s time to call someone else. If all of the contractors you call seem really busy, it’s a signal that it’s time to wait until they aren’t.

Contractors as a rule don’t like to turn down jobs so if they are overbooked, they may just throw out a high price because they don’t care if your sign up or not.

Use Your Contractor’s Sources

You walk a fine line when you step into the construction process. You want to help so that money can be saved, but, at the same time, you don’t want to get into the contractor’s way. Do check into their material sources, however, because your contractor may have access to some deals that you would not.

Home renovation tips can lessen your stressful time when making home updates. You’ll have new messes every day, and you’ll have to work hard to keep the project moving along, so consider our ten tips above as you manage your project.

Moving Tips and Tricks

Moving Day Prep: 5 Moving Tips & Tricks From the Pros

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If you’re reading this, it most likely means you’ve secured financing for your new home, and will be moving soon. Don’t worry: we have great news — moving tips and tricks coming your way!

First, congratulations are in order!

After the stress of the home buying process, you may think that everything that comes afterwards is a breeze, but sadly you’d be mistaken.

The moving process is often considered one of life’s most stressful events. The most reassuring fact about the stress that comes as a part of many people’s moving experience is that this stress is commonly a product of ignorance, inadequate preparation, or inexperience.

Proper research and planning, on the other hand, can make the moving day seem like a breeze. 

Declutter to save money

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The moving process for first-time or contract for deed buyers is time to take stock in one’s belongings since they are all going to be faced at some point. What better time is there to think about whether or not they should stay in your home at all?

The fewer items being moved, the easier the moving process will be, and the less money it will cost. Certain belongings like furniture pieces or media (Books/Music/TV) could easily recoup a decent amount of money as well, which could be used to lessen the burden of moving expenses. What can’t be sold might make a very generous charity donation.

Maybe a large furniture piece that simply doesn’t belong in your new home should just be recycled or disposed of, in order to make space in the moving truck. Reducing inventory and creating space before a move is always a sensible idea.

Moving tips & tricks for packing properly

Often homebuyers are stressed about what could happen to their fragile belongings in the moving process. If they’re not careful and put these items into the wrong hands, these items could be damaged. Packing most fragile items is fairly simple, and just requires that people avoid cutting corners.

When it comes to packing furniture, wrapping each piece in a bunch of moving blankets and taping the blankets down should do the trick. 

Moving boxes are more expensive than many other kinds of cardboard boxes, because they are specifically corrugated to maintain the integrity of the items inside. Secondhand or cheaply made boxes can warp during transit, putting the items inside them at risk. Once fragile items are placed inside the proper boxes, they should be wrapped with packing paper or bubble wrap.

After the box is filled with items, any remaining space should be covered with additional packing paper or bubble wrap to serve as a buffer. 

Maintain flexibility for cheap rates 

Hiring a moving company, or moving DIY?

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Either way, the supplies you need to rent will be cheaper on some days than it will be on others. Maintaining as much flexibility on dates and times of your move is the key to getting the best possible price.

For example, many people are forced to move on certain dates, often the 30th, 31st, or 1st day of a month, primarily due to their lease.

Many buildings don’t allow movers to work in their elevators past a certain hour, so often moving companies are most booked in the mornings. Because of the simple relationship of supply and demand, this makes moving away from these high-demand windows the cheapest – but it pays to maintain as much flexibility as possible, to ensure you have availability in the low demand windows.

Better safe than sorry (insurance!)

Red tape during the moving process is extremely annoying. But if one form isn’t properly filled out and delivered, it can be a disaster; believe us.

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It pays to be safe and ensure everything is taken care of well in advance, especially if you’re making a winter move.

That means booking elevators in the rental building you’re moving out of, delivering any certificates of insurance that are required, and insuring the inventory you’re moving prior to moving day.

Many people assume they will be taken care of if something goes wrong on moving day, for whatever reason; those movers should double-check that confidence before something does go wrong and they’re stuck with no compensation. 

Get Out of the Way

Those who know what they’re doing on moving day, whether it’s a moving crew or a crew of friends or just using our moving tips and tricks, work best unobstructed by distractions.

Those distractions can commonly be brought by children or pets, but anyone can be distracting if they don’t stay in their lane.

A sitter on moving day to keep the kids and pets stable and out of the way can often pay dividends. If you’re paying movers to move your belongings, get your money’s worth and let them work. 

Roof Inspections

Why You Need a Roof Inspection Before Buying a Home

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Buying a new home is exciting! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of owning a new property but before you pull the trigger, you should carefully consider the condition of the roof and potential roof inspection.

According to roofing contractors in Dallas:

“the roof of any house is crucial to the overall condition of the property. After all, the roof is what protects the structure from rain, wind, debris and UV rays. The roof also has a huge impact on how warm and cool the house stays.”

That is why it is so important that you have the roof of any property you are thinking of making an offer on a professional roof inspection. But there are things that you can look at yourself too. It won’t take a roofing professional to spot the following signs of a bad roof. 

Take a minute or two to go over this list we have compiled of things you should look for in a roof before purchasing a home.

Shingle Condition

According to a Toronto real estate expert, “a few missing shingles here and there may not seem like a big deal but they could signify larger problems. When shingles are missing, they expose the underlayment and substrate of the roof to moisture and debris.”

You can usually see if there are any shingles missing by standing back from the property and examining the roofline. Again, this is why the roof inspection is so important.

Roof Inspection Tip: Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the important questions. Ask the owner or your real estate agent when the roof was installed. An old roof isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Some roofing materials like composite shingles and metal have long life spans.


If you hear that the roof was installed 60 years ago and is made of a material like wooden shingles, you should think twice before moving forward with the purchase. Listen, you don’t want to be searching for a rain jacket to wear in your own home!

You should also ask what, if any, work has been done to the roof. Ask about repairs and maintenance. Inquire about the roofing material used to build the roof and if it is still covered under warranty. If it is, make sure to find out whether or not the warranties are transferrable to new owners.

You basically want to get as much information about the roof as you can. Not only to help you determine whether the house is worth buying, but also to have records should any work be needed in the future.

Proper Ventilation

Proper roof ventilation is imperative. When there is not enough roof ventilation, mold could start growing and it can cause the house to get too warm in the summer.

If the house you are thinking of buying is large, it should have ample roof vents installed throughout. If the house is smaller, it may only need a small gable-end vent or two. Soffit vents are also a good sign that there is a proper amount of roof ventilation.

A quick glance at the roofline should reveal whether or not it is properly ventilated. You should see at least a few wind turbine vents, ridge vents, or power vents. If the roof does have wind turbine vents, be sure to pay close attention to how they perform. 

Wind turbine vents are not static like other types of roof vents. They move with the blowing of the wind. If you can, listen for squeaking. If the turbines are squeaking as they rotate, it probably means that they are no longer properly lubricated and don’t move as much air as they should.

Drainage Systems

The gutters and downspouts are important to a roof system because they are responsible for channeling water off of the roof. Standing or pooling water could leak into your home or cause the roof to become too heavy.

Take a look all around the perimeter of the house. Make sure that all the downspouts are intact and connected to the gutters. Make sure that the end pieces of the downspouts are not broken and that they are pointed away from the house. All downpipes should be feeding into storm wells and not just dumping water straight onto the ground.

If you can safely get on the roof, make sure that the gutters are clean. While you can clean gutters yourself at any time, long-term clogs compromise the structural integrity of the drainage system and the roof. 

If there is debris in the gutters that looks like it has been there for ages, there may already be roof damage.

Water Damage

Roof leaks can lead to water damage inside a home. Be sure to do a thorough walkthrough of the home and look for stains on the ceilings and walls. Water stains will discolor the paint or leave dark spots on the walls and ceilings.

The previous owners could have easily painted over water damaged spots on the walls or ceilings so be sure to use your nose. If you smell fresh paint in only one or two areas of the house, the previous owners probably painted over something they didn’t want you to see.

You can either use a mold inspection company or your sense of smell to detect mold as well. Leaks in the roof could lead to mold development. Mold smells musty and damp – like there was an old moist rag left to sit in some corner of the house.

Hire A Professional

When in doubt, call a licensed roofing professional. The fact is that unless you are a roofer yourself, there will be things that you won’t be able to detect on your own. The roofer you choose to handle the inspection should have a lot of experience and come from a local company (familiarity with zoning laws and local building codes is important).

The roof of your new home is something you should not compromise on. Keep a sharp eye out, a keen nose in the air, an attentive ear at the ready and call a professional when you need help. 

Tips for Buying a Condo for the First Time

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There are always many questions to ask and considerations to make when buying a property. However, if you’re searching for a condo, there are some specific things to keep in mind. 

Buying a condo is a bit different from buying a house, which means it’s essential to go about it in the most strategic way possible. With numerous pros and cons involved, be sure you know what to look out for, so you get the best home or investment

Consider Your Needs

It’s a good idea to stop and consider your specific needs before making a big purchase like this. Based on your lifestyle and your plans, ask yourself if a condo is definitely the most suitable housing choice? For example, do you have a pet or plan to get one, and if so, will there be enough space for the animal in a condo? 

Also, will you need to move in the next few years? Since condos tend to appreciate more slowly than individual properties, you could struggle to make a profit if you won’t be in the property for long. You should also consider the potential noise elements involved with sharing walls plus potentially ceilings or floors with condo neighbors, especially if you’re someone who works from home or is a light sleeper.

If, however, you hate having to do lots of home maintenance and gardening tasks, like getting the roof cleaned, pressure washing the driveway, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and trees, etc., a condo could be the perfect fit for you. When you buy a condo, these types of jobs are taken care of as part of the homeowner’s fees. Plus, if you like being a part of the community and having people close by, a condo could also be a great option.

Investigate Finance

Before you buy a condo, investigate finance options if you will need a loan to make the purchase. The reason for this caution is that not all lenders approve loans for condos. On top of the usual underwriting criteria that come with mortgages (e.g. credit status, assets, and income), lenders also typically scrutinize condo buildings themselves when deciding whether or not to approve a loan.

The terms and conditions and outcomes vary significantly from bank to bank and between other lending organizations, so do your research upfront. There’s no guarantee that your preferred lender will approve a loan if you plan to buy this type of property, and you don’t want to have a contract fall through because you can’t get finance. 

Use an Experienced Realtor

Since condos are a unique type of property, it helps to work with an experienced realtor who has assisted many clients in buying and selling condos in the past. You want someone who knows condo association documents, can walk you through terms and conditions, and help you understand things that are foreign to you as a first-time condo buyer. 

Good realtors should also be able to give you information about things such as if there has been acrimony in the local community over issues that might affect you, and if there are any current infrastructure concerns in the area to consider. They should also be able to provide details about which developments have achieved the best resale values in recent times. 

Examine the Nitty Gritty Details 

You might find a condo you absolutely love on the inside, but before you sign a contract, be thorough with your research. Examine all the nitty-gritty details that could come into play, such as the association fees and rules (especially if you want permission to bring your pet), and the inclusions that come with the condo. You need to know if things such as parking and storage are available right now or at extra costs, as well as access to on-site facilities such as pools, gyms, cinemas, etc. It might be hard to find a condo that will meet all of your requirements, however, you can always do thorough research using websites like Condo Shopper, and be sure that you made the right choice.

Look into insurance and warranty options, too. Some things may be covered already in the condo’s fees, and if the building is new, some fittings and fixtures may still have a warranty on them, but none of this is a given. You may need to purchase a specific product to cover yourself and reduce risks, such as home warranty for condo offerings. 

Also find out more about your potential neighbors, the management board in charge of the rules and administration of maintenance and other tasks, and learn if there have been any common gripes from other condo owners in the complex that could be cause for concern for you, too. 

Buying a condo, or your first home, can be equal parts exciting and stressful, and is undoubtedly a big decision. However, provided you do your research and make a mindful decision based on the factors mentioned above, you should set yourself up for a favorable living situation.

Marketing Methods to Earn More Real Estate Clients

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If you’re trying to find the best digital marketing methods that will help you get more clients for your real estate business in 2020, look no further.

Hosting Virtual Open Houses Is A Must

With the technology available today, you can host a virtual tour of the house/condo you’re selling. The immersive 360-degree panoramic photography is what will undoubtedly bring satisfaction to potential homebuyers.

This virtual tour allows potential buyers to walk through the house/condo like they’re physically present in the house. Another tip is to create a contest. For example, any virtual tour visitor that goes through more than five rooms will enter the raffle for winning a special prize. The real estate agencies that used this method claim that the units were sold out in a matter of a few days.

Optimizing Your Facebook Page Is A Must

If we consider that Facebook has several billions of users from which most are active every day, it’s a waste of excellent opportunity if you don’t optimize your Facebook page in time. According to Marketing Agency, We Are Igloo, “utilizing Facebook page to inform potential homebuyers about the house your agency has to offer is of the utmost importance since people nowadays use Facebook search for everything, including searches for homes to buy.” This can be a huge piece of your business plan.

High-Quality And Unique Content Is Always Important

Provide potential buyers with fantastic content that will keep them engaged, and you’ll make sure that they’ll revisit your website. Along with high-quality content, you should provide your potential buyers with amazing photographs of the houses on sale. Professional photographs always catch people’s attention more than anything else. Unique content followed by amazing photos is a win-win combination that will bring fantastic results.

Become a Content Marketing Machine

Providing your clients with a blog that serves to answer all their questions is of the utmost importance since, that way, you’ll get closer to potential buyers. People have a lot of questions they wish to ask before they decide whether to come and visit the house or not. Providing them the answers they seek will be mutually beneficial.

Utilize Google Remarketing Ads

The importance of Google ads is significant, but Google offers remarketing ads as well.

These ads will help you target the specific group of people that have already performed searches like “buy a home” or “sell a home,” etc. Creating this target list of people can be done through the Google ads dashboard. Create a remarketing list based on website URLs, keywords, and buyers’ interest. Your advertising banners will easily find people who are looking to buy or sell a home.

Learn How To Advertise To Millennials

Millennial generation accounts for 34% of all real estate buyers, but it’s estimated that in the next five years, around 65% of real estate buyers will be the millennial generation. That’s why you need to focus on learning how to advertise your sales to the millennial generation. Create an authentic brand that is friendly and informative, and you’re on an excellent way to gain millennial buyers.

Forward All Potential Clients To Your Website

In case you’ve already invested a lot into your website, you should send all your social media followers and interested parties directly to your site. A fantastic site will explain all potential buyers, why should they choose your real estate company instead of many others. Adding posts on your social media pages is a free way to drive traffic towards your website. Another important fact that you must know is that social media ads aren’t as expensive as people may think. That’s the main reason why you must implement social media advertising into your marketing campaign at once.