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Asbestos Abatement Guide

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Are They All Created Equal? Finding the Right Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project

First off, kudos to you for making the decision to go with a professional contractor. Many DIY projects go astray when the homeowner gets in over their head, and as any DIY pro will tell you, you’ve got to be able to recognize when your skills just aren’t up to the task. Whether you just purchased a home or want to give your current humble abode a face-lift, there are contractors all over Honolulu rearing and ready to go. However, finding a reliable contractor will require a little bit of work on your end.

Get That Bid

While it might be tempting to go with the first contractor that comes along, the basic rule of thumb is to get at least three bids or estimates. Most estimates come free of charge to the homeowner, so why not take advantage? Opt for contractors in the Honolulu area, as you are more likely to find neighbors and acquaintances that have used that particular company before. While some contractors prefer to give you a single price for your home improvement project, it leaves you completely clueless as to what they are charging for each part of the job. Ask for an itemized bid that outlines each step of the project so you know what you are paying for. In addition, you might find that some of the steps can be done on your own and for a much cheaper price.

Test Their Trust

As you bring in contractors to supply their bids, you have to put them to the test. With any person you bring into your home whether it is a contractor, repairman, or a babysitter, you want them to be trustworthy. Start by asking these basic questions:

  • Have you completed a similar job?
  • Do you have a list of references I can contact?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have proof of licensure?
  • What is your permanent business address?
  • When can you start?

Any good contractor will be more than happy to answer your questions in detail. The success of their business is dependent upon gaining customers so making sure you are happy and comfortable should be their top priority.

Have It in Writing

Once you’ve chosen your contractor, make sure to get a contract in writing and keep a copy for yourself. Avoid signing the dotted line until you read through it completely and make sure it has all the necessary elements. It should outline the scope of the work in great detail, including any specifications or requests you made. While you may have discussed the additional trim on the phone or via email, if it isn’t in the contract, the price you are quoted is inaccurate. Make sure there is an estimated work duration so you can ensure the work is being done quickly and effectively, as well as an agreed upon payment schedule. You should never pay for work up front; payments should be made based on work milestones or percentages of completion.

Getting a contract is all fine and dandy, but do you know what kind it is? A fixed-price agreement means your contractor will complete the work based on the agreed upon price, creating a clearly defined scope of work and project predictability. However, unforeseen changes or requested additions will come at an additional cost to you. With a time and material’s agreement, the contractor will give you an hourly rate and your cost will be based upon the cost of materials plus labor. While this option gives you more flexibility to change plans or designs, you could end up over budget if the price goes beyond the estimate.

When you are looking for the right home contractor, take your time. This isn’t a race to the finish line and you want to make sure you are hiring the right person for the job. Do your research and get the necessary paperwork, and your home improvement project will be done in no time.blog photo

What is a home inspection?

Home inspections involve a visual inspection of the systems and physical structure of a residence and cover the major elements of the home. A home is an investment, thus the buyer wishes to ensure they are paying a fair price for the structure. In addition, the inspection may be used by the seller to determine any items that need to be corrected before the house goes on the market. One benefit of obtaining a home inspection is it also provides information on what maintenance will be needed to keep the home in good shape.

Why a Home Inspection is Crucial Before a Purchase

People looking to purchase a home need to ensure they request a home inspection before the purchase is complete. In addition, many lenders now require this type of inspection before they will finalize the mortgage. When a purchase agreement or contract has been signed, the inspector comes in to do the assessment, and the buyer needs to ensure there is a clause in the agreement stating the sale is contingent on the results of this inspection.

In the event problems are detected, the sale price may be renegotiated or the seller may opt to have the repairs made before the sale is complete. If a seller won’t budge on the price or make the repairs, the buyer then must determine if they are willing to pay the current price and make the repairs themselves or hire someone to do the work. This ensures all parties are able to make an informed decision before the process is complete and the legal transfer of the property takes place.

The Benefits Of Infrared Technology

Certain home inspectors make use of infrared thermography technology as part of the inspection process. An infrared imaging camera sees and measures invisible heat energy in different parts of the home. With the help of these images, homeowners learn about problems that may not be visible to the human eye during a standard inspection. For example, areas of water intrusion provide one type of heat signature, while electrical overheating produces a different one. The inspection is more thorough when this type of technology is used, thus the homeowner has a better idea of the home’s condition.

Why Call in a Professional?

Most homeowners lack the knowledge and expertise required to properly inspect the home. A professional inspector understands the various parts of home construction, home safety, and the correct installation and maintenance of various systems. These systems need to work together, and the home inspector understands how they do, why this is of importance, and why one or more systems are now failing.

Furthermore, many homeowners tend to be emotionally attached to the home although they may be in the process of selling it. These emotions often come into play during the inspection process and can lead to items being overlooked. This issue disappears when a professional is called in, as he or she has no emotional attachment to the home and can make an objective assessment of the structure and its systems.

Items Examined During a Home Inspection

  • Windows and doors
  • Interior electrical and plumbing systems
  • The roof, attic, crawl space, and any insulation that is visible
  • Ceilings, walls, and floors
  • The basement, foundation, and structural components
  • Central air conditioning
  • Heating
  • Kitchen area and appliances
  • Garage
  • Items specifically requested by the client, although an extra fee may be charged

Don’t Sign That Mortgage Yet! Here Are 3 Reasons You Need a Home Inspector First

It may seem like a no-brainer to get a home inspection before you buy a house, but not everyone thinks they’re a necessity. A recent survey found that just 77% of home buyers had an inspection before making their purchase. While that is still a majority of buyers, that still leaves nearly a quarter of future homeowners skipping out on an important service to protect them as they make what may be the biggest purchase of their lives!

If you are one of those buyers who thinks a home inspection is unnecessary, think again! An inspection can save you money further down the road and may even prevent you from making a huge mistake. So why do you need to hire a home inspection service before you sign that mortgage paperwork? Here are three reasons why home inspectors are absolutely crucial when buying a house:

home inspector

  1. They cost less and are worth more than you think. Depending upon the size, age, and type of home and the home inspector you choose, a typical inspection will only cost between $200 and $500. While that may sound like just another cost to add to the home buying process, it can actually provide peace of mind for some buyers and give others the chance to save money later on. In some cases, home buyers can ask the sellers to foot the bill if any major problems are uncovered, and it also gives buyers a chance to duck out of a sale if the home repairs are more trouble than they’re worth. And this isn’t something that most home buyers regret — in fact, 97% surveyed said that their home inspection was a good value for what they got out of it.
  2. They uncover major and minor problems. Around 36% of inspectors find issues such as improper grounding or drainage in a house, making these the most common issues. While some of these things can be fixed easily, others can be fairly costly. About 20% of inspectors discover that a house has improper or undersized electrical wiring, which can mean rewiring a whole house if there are serious code violations. Another 9% of inspectors discover old or damaged roofs, and depending on the severity of the problem, that could be a cheap fix or a major investment for a new homeowner.
  3. They’re a good preview of future home repairs. One national survey revealed that about 79% of home buyers attended their home inspection and participated in it. Even if no issues come up that would make a buyer cancel the sale of a home, they may still discover some things that need repairing after they move into a home. A home inspector can also let them know the approximate dates of when they might need other repairs and replacements, like a new roof or furnace, if that information is available.

If you need a Hawaii home inspection service, make sure that you give us a call today. We also do commercial property inspection for those with businesses or rental property.

Ask These 5 Questions or Risk an Inferior Home Inspection

Home inspections are a standard part of real estate transactions. Almost all Realtors (99%) recommend that buyers get a home inspection, and surveys show that the majority of buyers (77%) actually do so prior to purchasing. These inspections may run between $200 and $500 — depending on the home inspector, the type of home, its age and its size — but a full 97% of home buyers say their inspection was a good value.

home inspection

So the question is not whether you should get an inspection prior to buying a home, but rather which inspector you should hire. There are a number of questions you can ask to determine which inspector will be the best for you — and the fee should actually be the last question on the list. Here are five much more important things to ask about:

 

    1. What Does the Inspection Cover?Make sure you’ll be getting a thorough inspection. Ask specifically about appliances, if they’re being sold with the house, and make sure all attics, crawl spaces or foundation areas are included.

 

    1. What Kind of Report Will I Receive?You should get a detailed report that includes photographs of any reported damage. This will be an important tool as you negotiate your purchase and plan for repairs.

 

    1. Can I Attend the Inspection?It can be extremely educational to tag along on a home inspection. Although an inspector might be able to give you a legitimate reason why this isn’t allowed, in most cases a refusal is a big red flag.

 

    1. Are You Bonded and Insured?You don’t want yourself or the current owners of the home to be liable if your inspector slips off the roof or falls through a rotting floor.

 

  1. How Long Have You Been in This Business?Inspections are trickier than they might seem at first, and experience can help an inspector predict where there’s most likely to be damage. Considering that uncovering problems could save you thousands of dollars down the line, experience is therefore an asset worth paying a little extra for.

A Note on Finding an Oahu Home Inspector

If you’re looking for an Oahu home inspection service, keep in mind that there are a few concerns specific to Hawaii that you’ll want to factor into your decision. Hawaii in general and Oahu in particular are home to a wide range of architectural styles that aren’t commonly found on the mainland, so you’ll want to make sure you’re working with an inspector who has been working in the islands for a while.

Are you looking to buy a home in the near future? Share your questions or concerns about a home inspection in the comments.