Archive for March 2019

5 Important Questions To Ask A Home Seller

estate agent giving house keys

estate agent giving house keys

By the time you are planning to make an offer on a home, you probably have a pretty good idea of the home’s history. You probably know which features have recently been upgraded and which parts you might need to replace in the coming years. But there are still a few things you can only learn from talking to the buyer.

Question #1: Why are you selling your home?

While the seller might not be completely honest with you, their answer to this question can still give you valuable information. If the seller is in a hurry to sell the home and move into a different property, there may be more room to negotiate the price. If the seller is not in a rush to sell their home, they will be more likely to wait for a better offer instead of accepting the first decent offer that comes their way.

Question #2: What is included in the sale of the home?

Typically, anything that is considered a “fixture” should be included in the home, but there are some grey areas here. If you are concerned about the light fixtures, wall mounted sound system, or detached shed or workshop, make sure you get it in writing that your favorite feature is included in the home sale.

Question #3: Does the home have any problems – past or present?

Again, you might not get a completely honest answer, but the seller might reveal some useful tips that would not have been uncovered by the home inspection. For example, the seller might be able to tell you that that sticky drawer actually opens if you pull on the corner.

Even if past problems have been fixed, it is still useful for prospective buyers to know about them. For example, if you know that the foundation leaked in the past, you will know that you should keep an eye out for future leaks. If the roof leaked but was later repaired, you should keep an eye out for signs of water damage in the attic.

Question #4: Favorite local shops and restaurants?

While this is not directly related to the sale of the home, the seller can often give you insight into the best locally owned spots in town. For example, there might be 3 or 4 dry cleaners within a few miles of your home. Finding out which one does the best alterations can take trial and error if you do not have a recommendation. If you ask, some sellers will even leave menus for the favorite takeout spots. This can save you from a few disappointing dinners while you explore your options.

Question #5: Do you still have the owner’s manuals?

Your new home might come with exterior lights, a backyard pool, a septic system, or other complicated features. Having the original owners manuals and maintenance records can make your life easier.

To learn more about how you can make your life easier when buying a home, get in touch with Huntley Realty at email us at homes(at)huntleyrealty(dotted)com or call 847.669.4010.

4 Tips For Finding a Reliable Contractor

Construction workers

Construction workers

For complicated home improvement projects, hiring a contractor is the way to go. However, unless you have recommendations from friends or family, it can be difficult to find a reliable contractor. At best, an unreliable contractor can slow things down. At worst, they can provide sub-par work that might not hold up long term.

Sub-par work might also not be up to code, causing complex legal problems that can be expensive to fix. Keep these tips in mind when choosing a contractor to work on your home.

Tip #1: Follow Your Instincts

When choosing a contractor, think about the scope of a project. Larger projects can keep a contractor around for weeks, so you will want to make sure that the contractor is someone that you feel comfortable having around your family. You will need to trust your contractor completely, so if you find that they are stretching the truth during their initial estimates, you might be better off finding someone else.

Tip #2: Choose an Expert

Consider the type of home improvement project that you want to complete and make sure your contractor specializes in that line of work. A specialized contractor will be better equipped to deal with potential issues that might pop up during the renovation process. Many general contractors are good at several different types of projects, but most of these “jack of all trades” contractors have more experience in some areas than others. A specialized contractor is guaranteed to have the necessary experience to complete your project quickly and successfully.

Tip #3: Check for Appropriate Licenses

In most specialties, a legitimate contractor will need to pass an exam to certify that they have a full understanding of the building codes and regulations surrounding the renovation process. Ask potential contractors for their license number so you can double check that they have the necessary certifications for the project.

At this time, you should also check that your contractor has their own liability insurance. You will not want to be responsible for any injuries that occur while the contractor is on your property.

Tip #4: Compare Bids Carefully

If you are looking for someone to work on a complex project, you might shop around and get quotes from several different local contractors. If this is the case, you need to make sure that you are accurately comparing each quote. Make sure that each contractor is billing you for identical services. Often times, a bid that seems more expensive at first glance will actually end up being cheaper when you look at what is included in and excluded from the quote. You should also make sure each quote uses the same quality building materials. While you will want to save money where you can, a cheaper quote is not always better.

To learn more about renovating your current home or planning renovations for a new property, talk to one of Huntley Realty’s members today through homes(at)huntleyrealty(dotted)com or call 847.669.4010. We can help you choose the right home for your family and offer tips on potential renovations and local contractors.