Objectively Examining Your Home for What a Buyer Desires in a Home

The first process a seller must do to have a successful sale, is take a realistic look at their home before home staging can begin. Of course to most people this would seem a little odd, as they feel they have lived in this house and know every nook and cranny.

So if this is your belief, then let me ask you; would you feel your home is beautiful and would a prospective buyer see its beauty for the street? You may not know how to answer that question and I understand, our job here is changing your perspective to that of a buyer from that of a seller.

The home owner has grown use to the clutter they have created and see their home with loving eyes. The concern of any home seller should be how will my home present itself to a buyer on their first glance from the street?

The best method to get a clear picture is to spend some time getting a perspective on what can be improved by viewing your home from the street. At first blush you need to list any areas on the outside of your home that will need to be cleaned, repaired or modified.

You should make notes on any areas of the house that a prospective buyer would see as not perfect. Once you have taken notes on your home from the street, you should continue to scrutinize your home as a buyer would with a careful circular examine from all sides.

Make a list of everything you believe needs to be improved. Viewing your home from the eyes of a buyer what reasons would make you not purchase this home. Once you have completed this task, your next task is to examine the inside of your home from room to room with that same buyers’ eye. So what you are going to do is repeat your observation on the inside of your home and take careful notes.

The main problem for any home seller is they must determine what the market for their home requires. The good news is you do not have to go very far as I have gathered all the information that will make you task easy.

The list below contains many of the benchmarks that prospective buyers use to appraise homes listed for sale.

1. Most important has the house been staged and does it present itself well?
2. Did the interior of the home still contain clutter, were the rooms open and clear?
3. Was the home clean and tidy on the inside and outside?
4. Was there enough lighting throughout the entire interior and exterior of the home?
5. Are there enough receptacles throughout the interior and exterior? What is the general condition of the electrical system and will it last?
6. The condition of electrical switches, breakers and over all wiring?
7. Is the plumbing system up to date or will it need replacing or repair?
8. Are all pumps, valves, pipes and drains in good condition?
9. Is the inside of the house in need of painting or repair?
10. Is the outside of the house in need of painting or repair?
11. What is the general condition of the floors and will any of it need to be replaced?
12. Is landscaping in the front of the house well cared for or in need of work?
13. Is the landscaping in the back of the house well card for or in need of work?

The fact is most home buyers in today’s market are after more than a place to hang their hat, they want a warm and comfortable home. One of the most important facts is they are after a house they can be proud to live in and be able to live in it without the need for repair. The prospective buyers are looking for more than ever and you as the home seller, most likely will have to update your home so this new breed of buyer will be interested in what you offer.

Pumped Up! Maintaining the Pumps in Your Home!

It is very possible your home may have one or more pumps. A pump is an electrical/mechanical device to move fluid, usually water, from someplace to someplace else.

The most common pumps in a home are: Circulating pumps on a heating system Condensate pumps on heating and cooling systems Sump or “de-watering” pumps in your basement or crawl space These devices may work silently and faithfully, often for long periods of time. Then, they fail, without warning. Failure of pumping equipment can cause anything from an inconvenience to a catastrophe. We can minimize the troubles failed pumps can cause by maintaining them.

Your heating circulating pump

If you are enjoying the comfort of hot water heat, whether through radiant floors, baseboard heaters, convectors or classic radiators, you have one or more heating circulating pumps. The task of this pump is to move heated water from your boiler to your heating radiation, where the water gives up its BTU’s and is then returned to the boiler for reheating and another trip around your home. In hot water heating systems, heating capacity is equal to flow capacity. When your pump ceases to work, the flow stops and so does the heat.

Most modern pumps are water lubricated and require no attention from homeowners. Some of the older pumps, usually red in color, have 3 small oil ports. Add oil to these three ports each year. Use light motor oil, available at any hardware store but add it sparingly. Over oiling can cause deterioration of the rubber seals on the pump and more likely, an oily mess on your basement floor.

Your condensate pump

When air conditioning systems operate in hot summer weather, moisture is wrung out of the air in the form of liquid condensate. Most of today’s cooling systems do a spectacular job of dehumidification, pulling upwards of 20 quarts of water out of the air per hour. In most systems, if situated in the attic or basement, this water will flow by gravity either to an outside roof gutter or nearby sink or drain. Many systems have condensate drains that are either below the level of nearby plumbing or are so far away as to make gravity drainage impractical. Here, we use a small device called a condensate removal pump. Usually about the size of a shoe box, this device consists of a water reservoir, a float switch and a small pump.

As condensed water trickles into the pump reservoir, the float switch rises until it turns the pump on. The pump then discharges the water, usually through a small plastic tube, to a sink, drain line or even the exterior of the house. These pumps should be tested each year. A proper test will involve pouring significant amounts of water into the pump and making sure the switch activates the pump and the pump properly evacuates the water through the tubing. At this time, the tubing should also be examined for clogs, kinks or breaks. When a condensate pump fails, those 20 quarts of water per hour will drain by gravity right to the floor, or in the case of an overhead air conditioning system, through an upstairs ceiling as it escapes from your attic.

Today, often, these pumps can be equipped with safety switches which will turn your system off in the event the reservoir fills to the top and the pump fails to operate.

Your sump pump

Water, water everywhere! At least, we hope not. Here in New Jersey, basements and crawlspaces are very common if not universal. This creates a potential problem. There is water in the ground, at all times. The level can vary with the season and with precipitation. When the water level in the ground is higher than the level of your basement or crawlspace floor, hydrostatic pressure can force this water into your basement, causing flooding and serious damage to your home and contents. Sump pumps, properly called “de-watering” pumps can alleviate this problem. A circular pit is dug into the basement floor, usually two to 3 feet in depth. A porous cylinder is put into the pit. Cracked stone is put in between the cylinder and the side of the excavation. A small paving block is put at the bottom of the pit.

The excavation is cemented closed at floor level. Water seeks its own level and will always seek out a lower place rather than a higher place. The new pit is now lower than the basement floor. Water will flow into the pit before flooding your basement. The cracked stone surrounded the porous cylinder acts as a filter to prevent silt and dirt from entering the pit. The porous cylinder allows water to flow easily into the pit. The small paving block at the bottom serves as a secure base for the pump. De-watering pumps come in two basic types, upright and submersible. In an upright pump, the motor and switch mechanism is above floor level. These pumps should only be used in commercial boiler rooms, where hot boiler water might be drained into the pump pit. Steaming water will destroy the motor and controls of the other type of pump, the submersible. All components of a submersible pump are concealed within the pump pit. As the water level in the pit rises, a float switch turns the pump on. The pump, powered by a large motor is connected to a discharge pipe, which directs the flow of water out of the basement and away.

Pumps do not last forever. They fail. Often, with disastrous results. Your basement sump pump should be tested at least 2 times a year. Run or pour water into the pump pit until the pump activates. Observe the pump housing and discharge piping for leaks. Make sure the discharge pipe outlet, wherever it is, is clear. Pumps over 10 years old should be replaced proactively. You should not take chances. But even pumps of lesser vintage can fail, being mechanical and not divine in nature. Often, major storms and down pours are accompanied by power outages. Just when you need your pump most urgently, it lies there in the dark pit, useless as a rock. Fortunately today, we have two types of backup systems.

First, there is a battery backup pump. This pump operates off a marine-type battery. The battery is continuously charged through a nearby wall outlet. Should the primary pump fail, the water level will rise higher, triggering the battery-powered backup pump. This pump has a lower capacity that the main pump, but will usually suffice for short power blackouts. Should the power be out for longer periods of time, the battery will completely discharge. Battery backup pumps should also be tested twice a year.

The average battery life is about two years. After this period of time they should be replaced. (Note: keep records or a reminder on your computer.) Second and most recent, is the water-powered backup pump, also called water actuated. This device operates on the principal of water pressure. The water-powered backup pump is connected to the house water supply line. If the main pump fails, the water level will rise and trigger the backup pump. A mechanical valve will open, permitting high pressure water to operate a small turbine wheel. The will drives the pump. The pump will provide enough capacity to remove water in the sump pit along with any water used to power it. No batteries are required and other then twice yearly testing, there is no maintenance.

Unsure if you can handle this? NJ Residents call us at 800.287.6651 and we’ll be glad to service you!

What Should I Look For in a New Heating System For My Home?

A new heating system for a home is one of the most important considerations in buying or building the home. Health considerations are just as imperative as financial considerations. Dust, dirt and the refuse of vermin can be blown throughout the house using a system that blows air to heat. That can be deadly to an asthmatic or those with other lung malfunctions. A radiant heating system, on the other hand, uses radiation to heat the house. This does not spread illness. Radiation also means that homeowners may receive renewable heat incentives from power companies as well as tax incentives. Green heating methods means money saved.

Radiant heat uses coils through which water is pumped. Electricity heats the water which then radiates heat upward from the floor under which it is installed. The time it takes to return to a temperature set by a thermostat is longer, which will save money in the long run. People can be satisfied with a lower temperature because the space they are in will be heated directly. Forced air heat heats the whole room but can leave people less comfortable. Additionally, forced air can escape through cracks in walls, flooring and ceilings. This costs more money and leaves the people uncomfortable.

Installation of such a heating system can be done by professionals or the homeowner can do it himself. Installation by a professional can be expensive, but the homeowner can be assured of quality product applied correctly. There are manuals available to the homeowner detailing the process by which the heating system is installed. These cover direct, indirect and slab installation. They also cover water heaters heating the coils. Also available to the homeowner are manuals detailing the use of solar energy to heat the water heater for the heating coils. Solar energy receives tax considerations from renewable heat incentives, which homeowners should look into when considering systems.

What homeowners should look for in a new heating system is efficiency, zoning and the life of the present heat pump and water heater. Homeowners want a heating system that is efficient, environmentally friendly plus one that will enjoy a long life. Replacing heat pumps and water heaters is expensive. Look for a radiant heating system that considers condensation in summer in addition to being integrated with the slab or stapled up underneath the floor joists. Look for a radiant system that can work in conjunction with existing radiators or heat pumps. Homeowners should know how cooling in summer will work.

A new heating system for a home is an important consideration. Comfort, economics and environmental friendliness are tied in to this decision. Making this choice will mean health, comfort and warmth for the family.

Call Your Local Basement Contractors to Help Keep Your Home Safe and Stable!

A small basement leak or patch of mold may seem like a minor flaw in your building, but the reality is that these problems could threaten the stability of your structure and compromise your health and safety. Call your local basement contractors today to learn about how waterproofing can help resolve these issues.

Many little kids believe that dank basements are home to monsters and other scary threats. Depending on the basement, they might not be too far off! Buildings with leaky foundations pose a variety of risks to people and the structure itself, including those which, if left untreated, can be costly or potentially irreparable. A wet basement may be the result of faulty drainage on your property, improper waterproofing, or advanced building age. No matter what your story, call your local basement contractors today to have your problem corrected. These trained professionals will put together a customized basement and foundation waterproofing plan to make your home or business safer, increase your property value, and help you get the most out of your basement space.

Some of the procedures that these professionals may use to waterproof your building include:

  • French drain systems
  • Re-grading your property to improve drainage
  • Sump pump installation
  • Exterior hydrophobic membranes and sealants
  • Interior waterproof paints and sealants
  • Exterior deviation systems

Some of the dangers associated with wet basements include:

Mold: Mold commonly grows in moist environments and spreads rapidly, causing property damage, unpleasant odors, and health risks such as brain damage, respiratory issues, cancers, and even death. Basement waterproofing dramatically decreases the risk of mold growth, and your local mold remediation specialists will have the skills to execute a full, effective mold cleanup.

Structural damage: When water penetrates porous foundation walls or seeps into your basement at the floor-slab join, serious deterioration can occur. Basement leaks, foundation cracks, tilted walls, and other problems at the base of your structure can also cause negative affects throughout your building, including:

  • Popped nails
  • Windows and doors out of square
  • Uneven floors
  • Gaps between seams, such as between bricks, doors, floors, and ceilings

Keeping the water out is the key to avoiding these serious structural issues!

In addition to increasing safety and promoting quality building maintenance, dry basements also increase property value, are more appealing to buyers, and can be used as a reliable storage space. Foundation waterproofing is a smart preventative measure for any property. Don’t hesitate–call your local basement waterproofing professionals today.

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