Status of the Move to Cleveland

unpacking messAs you know from my last post, I moved to Cleveland from North Carolina to take a construction job. The move went very smoothly thanks to them and to a few friends. I was able to pack up the whole house in a weekend, which is great because I had to be in Cleveland within a week’s time. I rented a U-haul for the trip and they charged me less than the normal rates because I was going to be delivering the truck back to where it needed to go. If you can get the planets to line up like that and find a U-haul that needs to deliver a truck to the location you are moving to, you can get a really great price. Of course it might not be the right size truck to suit your needs but the price may cause you to make it work one way or another. Lucky for me the truck in question was the same exact model I would have rented regardless of the price.

The trip to Cleveland was uneventful and there were no major problems. My family flew down the day I was supposed to arrive but I was a little behind due to some bad weather I encountered on the first night out. I still made it the same day but a little later than originally planned. Unfortunately none of my friends that live in Cleveland were available to help me unpack the truck in to the new apartment so my family and I had to unload the van ourselves. Unpacking took a little longer than I would have liked but we managed to get it all unpacked and get the van returned before they closed.

The real problems showed up when we discovered that the heavy rains that occurred the week before we arrived, wound up causing some major water damage in the attic which started to come through to the upstairs level of the new house. Luckily we were able to find a company that deals with water damage cleveland style, meaning they came quick, were very friendly and took care of the damage in a professional manner. Basically they allowed us to continue moving in to the new house without missing a beat.

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Fixing a Foundation the Right Way

helical_pilesThere are a number of ways to fix an existing foundation so I will go over a few methods and what those methods mean. The first method I want to talk about is using helical piers. Helical piers is a deep foundation system with helical bearing plates which are segmented. Because of the helical geometry of the bearing plates, there is very little disturbance to the soil when installing helical piers. Helical piers are preferred over other methods like drilled shafts, auger-cast piles, belled piers or other foundation systems for a number of reasons which include the following;

Helical piers are pre-engineered, installation is fast with helical piers and are immediate loading. Helical piers are easily modified on the construction site and they don’t have the high costs of mobilization that come with driven piles or auger cast piles. When using helical piles, you don’t have to wait for concrete to cure (this helps cut down the installation time). They can be installed using common construction equipment when fitted with hydraulically driven torque motors. You can check out Pier tech helical piers and piles if you want more information. You will see that when it comes to fixing a foundation or even putting up a new foundation, helical piles are the way to go for a number of reasons.

Another method of fixing a foundation is to use concrete piers. These are short cylindrical piers made of concrete that are pre-casted. Because the concrete piers are short, it makes lining them up difficult when they are driven. Because of the diameter of the concrete piers, it can be difficult getting them driven in to the soil and most likely will not be driven through sections of bedrock or load bearing strata. Basically concrete piers have a lot of flaws and the system isn’t that great because of the design of concrete piers. Concrete piers are generally cheaper than steel driven piers but because of the limitations on driving them through bedrock or tough soil they are not the easiest to work with. Because they usually can’t be driven to the proper depth, adjustments are often needed post installation and that can cost more time and money than using steel driven piers or even better helical piers.

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The Best Real Estate to Buy in a Recovering Market

invest_in_real_estateWith all the T.V. shows about flipping houses and tight budgets it can be hard to know the best way to actually invest in real estate. Things don’t happen like those television shows portray them. It seems like every time they buy high and somehow squeak out a sale for big profit despite all the pitfalls they ran in to during the renovation. Well I want you to know that if you’re not careful you won’t come out with a profit in the end. I know those shows are edited for content and made to be dramatic on purpose but if you are serious about investing in real estate (and you should be), then you need to learn the art of getting a deal because all of your money is either made or lost at the purchase. The real estate market is still very shaky in a lot of places but that is good news for real estate investors, provided they know how to determine which deals are really a good deal and which ones aren’t. That comes from learning your craft and by doing your due diligence.

Right now I work strictly in the vacation home market because those kinds of properties were decimated when the real estate bubble burst back in 2008. However, the vacation real estate market is starting to show signs of major recovery and in some places the surge is big and it’s happening quickly. Do a search for Lake Tahoe getaways and you will see what I am talking about. The prices for property at Lake Tahoe have just about doubled in the last two years up from even the prices just before the real estate bubble burst of 2008. This is happening in other vacation hot spots as well. You simply need to find the areas that are moving up in price at a rapid pace and get in before it settles down. There is a great opportunity in fixing up vacation real estate right now because people are once again looking to buy vacation properties up and that in turn brings the prices up.

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New Home Features You Can’t Forget

heating-zonesIf you are having a home built there are a few features you should consider adding to the build if you haven’t already. Adding these features will add to the cost of the new home but they will save you hours and hours of time and provide a ton of convenience over the life of the home ownership. The features I am talking about are not generally considered because of the costs involved but having them put in during new construction is way cheaper than having them added later once the house is built so you should put some serious consideration to adding as many of these features as possible.

What are the features I am talking about? For starters you should have data lines run to each room of the house. I know this is the age of wireless but there is going to be a flood of devices, including smart appliances that will take advantage of internet connectivity and you don’t want to mess with wireless coverage in your house when you bring home the new refrigerator and want to hook it up to the internet. Having data lines run while the house is under construction is way cheaper and might not even be possible in some rooms once construction is complete. You can ask a builder like Sunshine Coast Builders what the difference in cost would be to run data lines in new construction compared to adding it later and you will see adding it to the new construction costs is well worth it.

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Saving Energy Costs Without Spending a Fortune

energy_efficiencyEveryone likes the idea of saving money so one of the most common home improvement projects that people take on has to do with improving the energy efficiency of their house. Improving the energy efficiency of your house can be done rather cheaply and can cost a small fortune depending on which route you take. My advice is to start with the cheap things because you can make a pretty big difference without spending a lot of money and from there you can decide if spending the money on energy efficient appliances and HVAC systems is worth the cost to you.

To improve your energy efficiency on the cheap or “ballin’ on a budget” as I like to call it, you have to look at the current state of your energy efficiency. What is the current state of the insulation in your attic or crawl space? For a small investment and a weekend of work you can greatly increase your energy efficiency by installing a higher “R” factor insulation in the attic and crawl space. This is one of the best returns on investment based on the cost to return ratio you get from upgrading insulation. A high percentage of homes just don’t have enough insulation to effectively hold in the warm or cold air.

Use wooden window blinds to either block out the sun to keep your house cooler in the summer or to let sunlight flood the house in the winter to help lower heating costs. This is another tip with a great return on investment because wooden window blinds are fairly inexpensive, yet so effective at blocking the sun on hot summer days and open easily to let sunlight in when your goal is to keep the house warm. A lot of people miss this one because they seem to be focused on the big expensive things when it comes to energy efficiency.

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Construction Jobs in Houston

Heat WaveIt seems that Houston wasn’t told that there is still a recession going on in America. I was living in North Carolina up until a few months ago, recently laid off from my construction job due to the lack of work when I got a call from a friend telling me to come to Houston. He told me how big developers were laying down a lot of money in Houston to build up housing and malls and parking garages and all sorts of very big development projects right now. He told me how well they were paying to get experienced construction crews to come down to Houston for 2 year contracts and then he told me how easy it was to find Cheap Apartments in Houston and I was sold on the idea.

Within a week I packed up my things, loaded up the truck and drove across the country to start my new life in Houston. I missed construction work. I would pick up odd jobs here and there for homeowners by placing ads on Craigslist and the local papers but it was barely enough to get by on so I was happy to be making the trip to Houston to start fresh. I was no stranger to working in the hot Sun but I have to admit that the heat in Houston is different. It really is a dry sort of heat so you don’t sweat as much but it also leaves you feeling dehydrated and dried out much easier. I suppose I will get used to the dry heat in time.

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Latest in HVAC Technology

solar_panels_panelled_house_roof_arrayThese days with the green movement everyone seems to be getting in to the game to market their product as an eco-friendly alternative and HVAC systems are no exception. Now you can get HVAC systems that come with the option to draw some of their power from solar panels and of course energy efficiency is a big selling point. If customers can pay less on their monthly bills by purchasing the latest system then they can sell it on the premise of saving on your monthly bills and being an eco-friendly option.

Upgrading your HVAC system is a big expense so if your system doesn’t need to be replaced but you are considering upgrading it for the savings or even because you like the idea of lowering your carbon footprint by lowering your households energy consumption, you can calculate out how long it will take to make the savings cover the cost of the upgrade. The best thing to start with is to have a certified technician look at your current system and go over your options for upgrading or replacing it. You can find any number of companies that will come and advise you of your options free of charge. I live in San Antonio and used an HVAC San Antonio company that spent a lot of time educating me of the different options.

I went with a system that could tie in to our existing alternative energy source to draw power on low power consumption days. We have a whole roof full of solar panels that provide us with 40% of our energy for the whole house. I’m not a tree hugger but this is the last house we will ever buy so we have made the investments in to alternative energy. This is a blessing and a curse. Until recently we had a hard time finding systems like an HVAC system that can tie in to our solar panels. As time goes on it gets easier to find these kinds of systems and once we saw how much we would be saving (our recovery time is only 3 years) we decided to bite the bullet and upgrade our HVAC system and we are very happy that we did.

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Home Buying: Practical Tips for Everyone

vanderbijlpark_houseHome buying can be a painful process if you’re not prepared. Before you begin your home buying adventure you should make a list of things that are must-haves, things that are nice to have, things that you could live with and things that you absolutely cannot live with. If you are buying a home with a significant other then you both need to come together to make one list that is in agreement, which means there will have to be some compromise. I have been around real estate for many years and I can tell you that compromise is the key to finding the perfect home. I don’t care if your budget is $100,000 or $1 million dollars, if you are unbending and unwilling to compromise you are going to have a rough time finding the house that you love. Everyone feels like the houses that they are looking at should offer more for the amount of money they are spending, no matter what the budget is. There is nothing wrong with that, but very few houses are going to have exactly everything you want and nothing that you don’t want in your specific price range.

The next important step is to have an agent or broker working for you. I know in this internet age you can get access to all the listings that other people can but the key to finding the right home is to have an agent looking for you. If you arm an agent with your exact criteria, they will know about listings that are about to come up, before they actually go on the market and getting in early on those kinds of houses will save you a lot of headaches and can help keep you out of a bidding war. A qualified agent will do more than just notify you of listings as they come available, they will be your backstage pass to bypassing the listings that everyone else gets to see and a good agent will know their stuff which can save you lots of time and money. This is important if you value your time and your money and your sanity. Often times it’s best to sign up for an agent early on. There are plenty of resources online that can get you in touch with an agent that can help you find Houses for sale In Vanderbijlpark for instance.

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Home Improvement

home_improv  Our homes are the center of our lives and we love doing everything we can to make it more comfortable for our stay. Although some individuals invest in a property that was built recently, a large number of people to invest in homes that have already been lived in. In the field of construction, there are many business experts to improve housing from scratch, renovation, home improvement, home offices, improved re-construction and even for small repairs. Houses with the most updates are those who often sell faster. Many older homes have dated kitchens, with black paint and trim.

When planning home improvements so that you can rent a part of your home, make sure that the space will be comfortable for any potential tenant. There are many homes out there that have a large number of improvements that are below normal due to lack of knowledge. “Age-in-place” strategy can be very effective when considering home improvements. Do not choose the cheapest contractor bid you get for home improvements otherwise you may find yourself hiring someone later to fix his mistakes. A very quick walk around your house once a month, helps you see the small home improvements that you can do easily on your own.

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Best Circular Saws to Use for Projects

The other way, while I was cutting some lumber in my tool shed, my circular saw stopped working. I tried my best to fix it, but I was unable to locate the problem, even after disassembling it considerably. I guess that it is time to buy a new one, and I am not too surprised that it broke, as I have had it for quite a long time, and I have used it heavily over the years as well. As such, I want to find the best circular saw that I can for my needs, and I guess that I am going to start looking at reviews on the internet to see what I am able to find out.

I want to get a circular saw that is pretty powerful, and can be used for cutting masonry with the proper blade attached to it. It is important to me to buy tools that are versatile, and I do plan on putting tiles into my basement at some point in the future. That is a project that I might not get around to for awhile, because it is going to be a lot of hard work. However, I do want to be able to have the tools to get it done when I finally get around to it.

I also want to get a saw that is fairly large. That is, I want one with a fairly large diameter for its cutting blade, so that it will be more versatile in terms of what it can cut through. I know that I will need to be able to cut through 4 by 4 pieces of lumber, at the least, for some of the other projects that I am going to try to get done in my back yard during this summer.

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