Hiring A Contractor Verse DIY

How many times do you see a renovation idea for your home and consider taking on the challenge of doing it yourself only to find half way through you may be over your head?  It always looks so easy when they are doing it, are reading it or are seeing the end result on the internet.  There are so many times the renovations don’t translate over into real life.  This is one reason it is super beneficial to consider hiring a professional contractor when it comes to home improvement projects you are interested in.

It is important to hire the right contractor when it comes to renovations especially for the bigger jobs like kitchen renovation and bathroom remodels.  The process of hiring a contractor doesn’t have to be scary.  It does take a lot to trust a stranger with your home but there are several steps you can take to be sure you are hiring the right individual for the job, your home and your family.

A professional contractor does more than just the physical labor involved in the renovation process.  Renovation specialists manage and oversee the entire remodel to be sure the project is staying on schedule, within budget and that the homeowner is satisfied.  The main contractor is in charge of getting sub-contractors organized as needed throughout the project as well.  It is quiet the balancing act to make sure that burden of the renovation is off of the homeowner.

When hiring a contractor you will want to be sure to work only with professionals that are not only licensed but also insured and up to date on special certifications.  The rules and regulations of what is needed for contractors to be able to practice their trade in each state vary.  It is your responsibility as the homeowner to make sure that the contractor you have hired holds the correct licenses and insurance.  It is important to obtain a hard copy of all documentation for your records in case it is needed at a later time and date.

When you begin your search for the perfect contractor it is important not to base your opinion solely on the cost of the renovation.  When you are looking at the estimates that you are given consider the hidden costs that are not seen in the quote.  Not every estimate is created equally.   Solid communication between homeowner and contractor is not something that can be written in an estimate even though this is one of the key elements to consider when choosing a contractor.

Many times it seems as if a project is well within our DIY capabilities’ only later to realize how overwhelmed we have become and how the renovation has taken over our entire lives.  This is why it is important to consider hiring a professional contractor from the start.  Hiring an expert ensures the job is done correctly the first time, within budget, without wasting time or sanity.

Aspen Construction is an innovative building leader specializing in home additions, new construction, bathroom and kitchen remodeling.  For all of your home improvement needs including electrical services contact us today at http://www.aspencoinc.com/.

Important Tips In Locating A Renovation Contractor

It is important to put in the time and effort when looking to hire a contractor for renovations jobs around your home.  In this installment on choosing a contractor we will discuss several steps you can take to confidently find a renovation specialist for all of your remodeling jobs.

When looking to find a renovation contractor it is important to ask for referrals.  Word of mouth is the best way to find competent help.  If you need a qualified professional to remodel your kitchen, renovate your bathroom or add on to your home start by asking relatives, friends, family and neighbors with whom they have experience with.  Talk about what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems as they arose and if they would choose the same contractor again if they were remodeling again.

The next step after you are armed with referrals is to do a little firsthand research.  Start by checking out the contractor’s website.   Locate their credentials and check to see if they hold all of the required licenses, insurance, certifications and proper designations from professional contractor organizations.  From there make a phone call to set up a meeting to interview each home renovation specialist.

Set up meetings with three contractors because any more than that can get a bit confusing.  How a contractor answers a homeowners questions says a lot about them.  It is extremely important and will give you insight on how communication will go in the future.  Be prepared with a detailed list of questions to ask each contractor.  Be sure to take notes so that you have something to refer back to when making a decision at a later time and date.

During your interview with each contractor be sure to ask for references.  You will want to see some of the work that the contractor has done in the past as well as to find out other details about job performance.  Ask about the execution of the job and the work of the crew. Were they able to stay on time and within budget?  What about the outcome?  Was the referral pleased with the outcome of the job?  Would they hire the same contractor to perform the renovation again?

As you are making a final decision on which contractor you will chose for your renovation narrow it down based on previous business experience and management.  Here are a few things you will want to be sure you can answer:

  • Does the contractor run a reputable construction firm; are they a one man renovation specialist or do they hire sub-contractors to help perform tasks they aren’t able to? Is there a permanent mailing address, email address and phone number?  Be sure you can contact the contractor at anytime you need to.  Communication is a key element to a successful renovation.
  • Can you get a physical copy of insurance and certifications held by the contractor?
  • What is their presence in the community like? Do people recognize the contractor’s name?  Does the contractor maintain positive relationship with other specialized contractors such as plumbers and electricians as well as their crew?
  • Do they have a solid reputation within the community and their peers? Do they have a successful track record with other area contractors?

Once a final choice has been made between contractors the real work can begin.  Be sure to openly communicate your own expectations throughout the renovation.  This will help to ensure the remodel will go smoothly and that you stay satisfied throughout the entire process.

Aspen Construction is an innovative building leader specializing in home additions, new construction, bathroom and kitchen remodeling.  For all of your home improvement needs including electrical services contact us today at http://www.aspencoinc.com/.

Autumn Is An Attractive Time To Purchase A Home

There are two seasons that the real estate market finds incredibly active: spring and fall.  If you are in the market to purchase a new home the fall season that is almost upon us may be the best time.  Take a look into why we think Late September, October and early November are the best months in real estate to look into buying a home.

First, let’s talk about the lack of competition in buying during the fall season.  Less people purchase homes in the fall because it is notoriously spring that is known for purchasing a home.  The fall season is a perfect time for new inventory and repositioning of older inventory that did not sell during the previous season.

Buyers are better able to negotiate a deal on homes that are leftover from the spring and summer inventory.  Sellers are always motivated after their homes have been on the market awhile and are interested in getting into new homes before the holiday season.  It is a great time to negotiate with sellers.

Another reason the fall is a perfect time to purchase a home is simply because sellers are worn-out.  This is especially true if they out their home on the market during the prime spring selling season and were a tad overly confident about how much buyers were willing to spend.  If a seller has set an unrealistic objective when pricing their home at first they are going to be more eager than ever come fall to find a buyer.

Don’t take this to mean that all sellers during the fall are leftovers unsold from the spring.  That is not at all true.  In fact many sellers that newly list their homes in the fall do so because they need to.  Whether they have bought a new home, finished building a home, were transferred or are interested in making a change before the holiday, sellers in the fall are often the most serious about selling.

Another great benefit of buying a home during the fall is the tax advantages.  Both property tax and mortgage interest are deductions that can be taken on the whole year’s income.  Even if you purchased the home in late December the tax advantages are yours for the whole year.  The payments made before the closing of the loan are all tax deductible.  This can make a big dent in the amount of money that is owed to the government at the end of the year.

Fall is a perfect time to find you and your family in a new home.  Call to talk with a real estate professional today to find a home that best meets your unique wants and needs.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Attracting Home Buyers During The Hot Fall Real Estate Season

Autumn is literally right around the corner.  The kids are back in school, the weather is becoming a bit more bearable and there is downtime between summer vacations and the holidays.  There is no doubt why fall is the second best season in real estate especially when it comes to selling your home.  Not only do the colors start to explode amongst the trees, for sale signs also start to reappear.  Below you will find some of our top tips to help sellers attract autumn home buyers.

Shape Up the Landscape

In order to attract buyers a home must appear well maintained inside and out.  Make sure to take time to rake up fallen leaves and clean debris before it settles.  Overgrown vegetation should be trimmed including small bushes and large trees around the home.  Dead flowers should be cut down and prepared for next spring and vine growth should be eliminated to enhance the exterior of your home.

Create an Autumn Atmosphere

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home for top dollar.  One way to enhance the feeling of warmth and fall is add a little bit of it to your home.  Take advantage of the beauty that comes from all things fall like corn stalks, pumpkins and mums.  Accent walkways and entrances to add to the fall appeal.

Window Washing

Everyone considers spring cleaning however the momentum often dies going into the fall season.  When looking to sell your home during the fall real estate season it is beneficial to thoroughly was dusty, streaked windows.   Clean off pet prints and wipe down window ledges.  The little details may not get noticed when they are on point but if they are left uncared for you can guarantee that buyers will take note.

HVAC Maintenance

Just as homeowners take time to have central air conditioning system evaluated at the beginning of the spring season, heating systems should be checked as well at the beginning of fall.  You will want your home to smell clean and dust free.  A dirty heating system says a lot about your home that you don’t want it to.  Replace furnace filters, have vents cleaned and do the yearly maintenance that needs to be done to ensure your system is running efficiently and clean.

Prepare Fall Edibles

The scent of fall is quiet attractive and should be used to your advantage during open houses and home visits.  Fresh apple cider smells, pumpkin spice cupcakes or leaf cut out cookies left out on the counter are all ways to welcome guests into your home.  People looking to purchase a home want it to be warm, cozy and inviting.  Make sure that appeal is what they feel when they first arrive.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com.

Popular Mortgage Options In 2016 Continued

In our last installment on mortgage options we discussed three popular options including the thirty and fifteen year fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages.  Throughout this installment we will look into other popular options homeowners have when looking into financing a home.

Interest only mortgages can be either fixed or adjustable rate and offer homeowners the option to pay only the interest on their mortgage for a specific term between five to ten years.  The loan is set up in a manner in which you can pay the interest only or interest and principle until the end of the interest only period.  The risk of this type of loan option is that if the value of your home does not appreciate as you may expect when you decide to refinance your options could be limited.

If you are unable to refinance at the end of the interest only period you could be stuck with an incredibly high mortgage payment.  Interest only loans offer a flexible payment option that allows you to buy more home than what you may be able to afford when you are initially buying.   This makes a lot of sense for homeowners who know that they will be making more income in the future and therefore will be able to handle the higher payment.

Another option homeowners have when it comes to obtaining a mortgage is the flex pay payment option.  With this type of mortgage the homeowner has the ability to pay a different amount each month.  The monthly payment can include a low payment option, an interest only payment option and an interest plus principle option.  This option is great for those homeowners without a steady income.  It is incredibly flexible month to month.  The major risk with this type of loan is that if you only pay the interest payment option and the home does not appreciate homeowners may find themselves owing more on their home than it is worth.

A balloon mortgage is a fixed short term mortgage that follows an amortization schedule similar to traditional fixed term mortgages.  The terms of a balloon mortgage are three, five or seven years in which you pay interest and mortgage.   At the end of the balloon term you need to come up with a manner in which to pay off the home, most often this comes from refinancing.  The one drawback is if the interest rates at the end of the balloon period are high you will not have an option to wait until rates are better to refinance.  This means that homeowners could be stuck with a higher than average mortgage payment.

It is important to sit down with a mortgage broker to discuss available options.  Homeowners all have different financial situations and different monthly needs.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at http://brightoncrosscountry.com/.

Popular Mortgage Options In 2016

When it comes to mortgage options there are more than a few options to choose from.  In this installment we will look at popular mortgage options from fixed to adjustable, thirty to fifteen years and more.

The first option we will discuss is the most traditional type of mortgage available is the thirty year, fixed rate mortgage.  This option offers a mortgage payment where the interest and mortgage payment stays the same for the entire life of the home loan.  At the end of thirty years you will have completely paid off your home.

Thirty year mortgages are good for individuals who prefer the stability of a fixed monthly payment.  It is important to note that these type of mortgage is often more expensive than their adjustable-rate counterpart.  Homeowners are willing to pay the premium because this home loan is pretty straightforward, easy to understand and provides payment stability.  This option is a solid bet for homeowners that are looking to stay in their homes for more than ten years.

Fifteen year mortgages are the exact same as thirty year mortgages but require less time to pay them back.  The benefit of a fifteen year, fixed mortgage is the rate at which you are able to build equity in your home.   If homeowners can afford the higher monthly payment that comes along with a fifteen year mortgage and they like the stability a fixed mortgage offers than this is a solid mortgage option.

Another popular option in mortgages is known as ARM’s, adjustable-rate mortgage.  This mortgage option adjusts the interest rate that homeowners pay at a given time and frequency.  There are a few ways that an ARM can work.  Most often however the mortgage starts out offering a lower interest rate then what is found with a thirty year fixed rate mortgage and steadily adjusts with the market.   When the initial rate period of the mortgage ends and the ARM adjusts you may end up with a higher payment than you originally started out with.

The major risk involved in an ARM is that there is not a guarantee on what your future payments will be.  ARM’s do have many benefits that homeowners should consider when looking into a mortgage.  For instance, ARM has a lower initial rate over a fixed mortgage.  A lower initial payment allows buyers to afford more house than they would have with a fixed rate mortgage.  It is also advantageous to have an ARM if it is believed that the interest rates will lower in the future.

In our next installment we will look into more popular options in mortgages from interest only to balloon mortgages.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at http://brightoncrosscountry.com/.

Properly Maintaining Industrial Electrical Components

In order to keep industrial machinery and equipment in good running order it is important that it is properly maintained and cared for.  When large manufacturing equipment is improperly cared for it not only runs inefficiently but also decreases the safety and reliability of the machine. If a breakdown in machinery occurs it is not only time consuming to correct it is also extremely costly.  Below we will look into how to maintain large industrial equipment to ensure it is kept running efficiently.

Keep On Top Of Operator Training

Equipment in industrial manufacturing settings often has more than a single operator.  With this in mind it is crucial that the equipment is correctly operated and therefore each individual using it is trained accordingly.

When machinery is first purchased and brought into a manufacturing setting it should be thoroughly inspected.  Training should take place not only when new equipment is purchased but should be ongoing in nature.  If the number of operators working on the machine regularly turns over it is easy for important steps in the training process to be overlooked.  To avoid skills from becoming outdated and poor overall operations training on large equipment should be ongoing.

Keep On Top Of Lubricants

Machines with many different moving parts need to remain well lubricated.  Scheduled lubrication helps to extend the lifetime of equipment and the moving electrical components within.  Lubrication is important. Be sure that the correct lubrication for the machine is used.  Special oil needs to be used on each specific machine.  Check the requirements set forth by the manufacturer.  Look for signs of excess oil or grease build up on pistons, check for leaks around the seal.  Analyze the oil.  If containments are found it could indicate components are wearing and breaking down.

Check For Wear

Machinery with moving parts is bound to breakdown.  Carefully check for excess wear.  Look for gears and belts that are out of alignment from machine vibrations.  With extended use, friction, poor lubrication and worn parts comes higher than normal machine temperatures shorting the life span of the machine.  If you become of an unusual amount of wear or a pattern in wear occurring it may be time to look into issue deeper.  It is important that any wear and tear on the moving components within the machine is taken care of immediately.

Keep The Environment and Machinery Clean

A clean environment promotes equipment cleanliness which has a large impact overall on equipment longevity.  As part of equipment maintenance schedules be sure to include thorough cleaning to the work environment and machines.  Fewer contaminations in the space mean less likelihood for them to cause issues with machinery.

A routine maintenance schedule, performed on a regular schedule will increase the longevity of equipment, cut costs as well as increasing productivity & safety.

J&P Electrical is a full service electrical equipment company.  At J&P, we supply contractors, end users and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned and obsolete electrical equipment. Contact us today at https://jpelectricalcompany.com for all of your bus plug, circuit breaker, switchboard, fuses, disconnects and more.

Important Industrial Equipment Maintenance

In order to keep your business running smoothly it is important to keep industrial equipment well maintained.  In many industrial settings equipment maintenance is an afterthought instead of forethought.  Preventative maintenance in the workplace saves a company more than it costs in the long run.  Spending just a small amount of time to create a reasonable maintenance schedule for large scaled equipment and components can save a company a lot of time and money in the long run.

Prevention verse Rectification

There is little to do other than to repair a piece of equipment once is stops working correctly.  It doesn’t matter if a professional has to be called in or if someone within the company can make the repair it has to be done and the time the equipment is down is costing the company money in both lost production and employee productivity.  Corrective maintenance may get the equipment up and running eventually but at the cost of missed revenue.

Whereas scheduled preventative and regular maintenance can help to prevent against the devastation down equipment can have on a company.  When a maintenance schedule is stuck with catastrophic problems can be caught and corrected before they begin thus helping to stay ahead of issues before they become devastating.

Regular machine maintenance allows machine operators to spot potential problems with equipment before it results in a break down or worse, an injury.  Technicians running large scaled equipment should be trained to spot issues before they shut down machinery.  If this can be achieved companies can save on lost revenues, expedited repair costs, losses in production, employee safety and more.

Maintaining industrial equipment saves money.  Companies that use refurbished components in the maintenance of their machinery save even more.  Make sure to keep a detailed record on repairs to machines.  Analysis should be done regularly on this information as it can offer a lot of insight into a proper maintenance schedule.  If companies see that the same part always needs to be replaced on equipment after certain periods of time then they can adjust the maintenance schedule to correct the issue before it occurs.

Maintenance extends the life span of most everything in life including electrical components that run your business.  Think about it in another way.  If this was your car and you never took it in for oil and filter changes it probably won’t last for as long as if you had done the proper maintenance.   Car manufacturers have guidelines in place regarding the maintenance on your vehicle based on years of analyzed data and records from other vehicle owners.  This process allows updates to be made to the maintenance schedule as time goes on.  For instance, an oil change used to be recommended every three thousand miles but now based on new technology and data analysis oil changes on certain makes and models of cars has been expanded up to six thousand miles.

J&P Electrical is a full service electrical equipment company.  At J&P, we supply contractors, end users and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned and obsolete electrical equipment. Contact us today at https://jpelectricalcompany.com for all of your bus plug, circuit breaker, switchboard, fuses, disconnects and more.

 

Narrowing Down The Causes Of A Leaky Roof

Your roof is one of the most important elements of your home.  It is crucial that it remains on the top of the list of items that need to be regularly maintained.  Your roof helps to protect your home from the elements. It keeps the warm heat in during the cold winter months and the brisk air in during the hot months of summer.  Damage to the homes roof should immediately be repaired to avoid having to later replace the entire roof or worse yet damage to the structural integrity of the home itself.

When a home experiences a leak in the roof the root of the issue isn’t always easily narrowed in on.  There are a few common problems to look for if you notice a leak in your homes roof.

Missing Shingles

No matter what material your roof is made from it is susceptible to damage during inclement weather.  Shingling that blows off your homes roof leaves underlayment exposed.  If left exposed to the elements the underlayment material will quickly deteriorate and cause water leakage.

Issues with Pipe Flashing

There are several vent pipes that sit directly underneath your roof material.  Most often these vents are sealed well but occasionally corrosion occurs or the sealant is damaged and allows for a leak to occur.

Skylight and Chimney Flashing

The flashing around your chimney can leak if it becomes pulled away from the roof or if perhaps the sealant becomes worn.  Skylight leaks require a bit more troubleshooting as sometimes the leaks that occur are because of condensation.  Other times however, a leak may occur because of a crack in the skylight or worn out seal.

Valleys

The little gutters that run down the interior angles of your roof line are known as valleys. When the little gutter flashings are damaged by weather, fungus or are improperly maintained they can lift away from the roofing and allow water to seep through the channel and into the home.  It is crucial to make sure that these valleys are properly cared for and kept intact to avoid leaks.

Ice Dams

During the winter months it is common to have snow melt and refreeze on the roof.  When this happens and ice dam occurs that does not allow the water to runoff into the gutter.  The water is then left backing up under the shingles and the process of freezing and refreezing is allowed to continue causing damage to the underlayment of the roofing.

If at any time you notice the above damage occurring within your homes roof it is time to call in a professional roof contractor to repair the damaged area.  The cost of repairing a roof is significantly lower than the cost of replacing a roof hence it is far more cost effective to preserve the roofs integrity for as long as possible.

Home Pro Roofing contractors offer a variety of roofing services throughout Brighton, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Fenton and Commerce Township, including installation of shingle roofs, metal roofing and roof repairs.  You will find them at http://www.homeproroofingmi.com today.

Common Issues To Look For When Your Roof Is Leaking

When you are looking to find where a leak is coming from on your homes roof you may be overwhelmed at first.  Although know two roofs are alike there are still some commonalities when it comes to leakage issues.  There are a few common places that roofing contractor’s checkout first when homeowners mention that their roofs are leaking.  Below we will discuss what to look for if you should experience a leak in your roof.

Flashing

Flashing is an essential element in roofing.  It is the metal piece that is used to attach vents and other ducting on the surface of the roof.  The metal flashing will most likely need to be replaced before the homes roof because as it ages it can crack and corrode.  Roof flashing is the number one point of failure on a roof and therefore should be the first place you inspect you suspect your roof is leaking.  Normal repair costs for flashing repairs on your homes roof usually range between ten and twenty dollars.

Vertical Slits

Another common place to look when you are experiencing a leak in your homes roof is the vertical slit between the shingles.  Water freely flows between the vertical slits in the shingles and thus causes corrosion.  This in turn can lead to a leak in the roof.

Missing Granules

All shingling is covered with an exterior stony coating.  This extra layer of coating on the shingle adds protection against ultra-violet rays.  When the stony coating starts to wear off the asphalt shingle it becomes exposed to the elements.  If you begin to notice bare spots in the shingling it is important to replace them before it becomes a problem.  If the bare spots in the shingling are left untreated water can start to cause water to pool and a leak to occur.

Skylights

Skylights are a great way to let in the natural daylight however they are also a major contributor to leaks.  Water is allowed to run down the slop of the roof hitting the flat upper edge of the skylight getting trapped in there.  Another thing that can occur is cracking in the skylight.    Sealant to correct the issue costs about five dollars.  If the flashing is the cause of the leak it can cost anywhere between twenty five to eight dollars to replace.

If there is a leak it is important to address the cause of the problem before fixing the effects of the leak.    Chimneys are also another source of where leaks occur as well as the valleys in the roof.  If you are unable to locate the leak on your own call in a professional roofer to assist you evaluate the problem before the roof repair turns into roof replacement.

Home Pro Roofing contractors offer a variety of roofing services throughout Brighton, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Fenton and Commerce Township, including installation of shingle roofs, metal roofing and roof repairs.  You will find them at http://www.homeproroofingmi.com today.