Common Warning Signs of Home Foundation Damage


imagesThe foundation of your home is imperative to the integrity of your overall structure, so if anything goes wrong with the base for your house, you want to catch it as soon as possible and nip it in the bud. We all know what can happen to our homes if we don’t have a strong foundation. Not taking notice of our home’s foundation can result in a lot of damage. The unfortunate truth, though, is that the foundation on which your house is built is hidden under several layers, including a vapor barrier, insulators, concrete slab, subflooring, padding, carpeting, and so on. In short, you’ll have a hard time doing annual inspections or getting a look at it if you think something might be wrong. So you need to be sure that there is existing damage before you start tearing up the floorboards in your basement. And it just so happens that damage to your foundation will likely result in a few telltale signs and symptoms. Here are some that could give you the clues you need to take the next step.

The most common signs of foundational issues tend to present themselves as cracks, and there are several areas around the house where you might notice cracking and separating in relation to issues with your foundation. For example, the average crack you might see creeping up a wall or across the ceiling won’t necessarily indicate that your foundation is to blame. If, on the other hand, you start to notice cracks forming around window and door frames, or the frames begin separating from the walls, there’s a good chance your foundation could be to blame. Cracks in the grout between tiles or in the mortar between bricks could also indicate foundation problems, and if the siding begins to separate from the wall of your home or you see walls starting to come apart at the seams, you have a serious problem on your hands.

By the time cracks and separation start becoming apparent, you can pretty much guarantee that the foundation is the root of the problem. But there are some less noticeable signs that could offer even earlier warning, before real damage to your home begins. For example, a foundation that is sinking or shifting may do so uniformly rather than cracking and breaking. In this case, you might find that once-even floorboards now tilt to one side, something you can determine simply enough by placing a marble on the floor and seeing if it rolls. You may also find that you suddenly have trouble opening and closing windows or that doors are sticking in their frames when you previously had no such issues. Of course, these signs are not definitive, but they may be enough to prompt you to call in a specialist to take a look and render a professional opinion.

Whether your foundation is sinking or the walls are starting to lean in or out, you want to catch the problem as early as possible so you can spare yourself the time and expense of further damage, or worse, having your house condemned as unfit for habitation. Detecting the problem at an earlier stage not only will it save you money, but it will save damage from occurring. With the services of qualified professionals from a reputable company like Dura Pier foundation repair on your side, you should be able to uncover and repair any foundation issues your house may have. But first you have to spot the warning signs. So don’t be blind to the cracks and shifting that could signal problems starting in your foundation.


5 Common Repairs to Plan for When Purchasing an Older Home


For prospective homeowners that don’t like the idea of moving into a cookie cutter tract home, even if it means getting brand new construction, older homes will likely hold a certain appeal. Not only do many older homes have the character that newer homes lack, thanks to architectural details, stylistic elements of the time, and often the inclusion of a lot of wooden surfaces, but they also tend to feature amenities like large yards and distance from neighbors (although this really depends on the area and the home in question). And there’s no denying that the builders who created structures that have been standing for decades clearly did something right. That said, older homes are, well, old, and that means that you’ll likely have to deal with some level of deterioration, unless previous homeowners have recently renovated or upgraded essential systems. Here are just a few common repairs that you should probably plan for when you purchase an older home. Continue reading “5 Common Repairs to Plan for When Purchasing an Older Home”

5 Things to Consider When Fixing Up Your Home to Sell


imagesIf you’re seriously considering putting your house up for sale, being that real estate is a pretty competitive market, we’re pretty sure that you’ve been looking around the rooms of your home and trying to figure out what needs to be fixed up. After all, when you’re ready to sell your home, there tends to be a pretty fine line between what you should repair and what you should let the new owners take care of.

So, if you’re currently in this kind of dilemma, you’re in luck. We are about to provide you with five things that every homeowner should consider doing when fixing up their home to sell below:

Conduct an energy audit. The very first thing that you should do is conduct an energy audit. That will help you to see where your insulation might have holes, if you are having air or water leaks or if your appliances are not working as well as they should. By having this kind of information beforehand, you can be pointed into the direction of what things are top priorities when it comes to fixing up your home.

Paint your walls. Something you can do that is cost-effective and can also drastically change the appearance of your home is to paint the walls. Just make sure that you either go with a shade of white or some kind of neutral hue. Re-painting your home  yourself can be a daunting task, but hiring a company such as Sergios Painting can make re-painting much easier, you should choose a color that will help people to envision living in the house once you have moved out of it.

Have you floors professionally cleaned. If you’ve ever walked into a house that has dirty carpeting or scratches on it hardwood floors, then you already know just how unattractive that can be. Buyers don’t want to walk into a home that has filthy or unmaintained floors because it kills the interior look of the house. That’s why it really is worth the money to hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Oh, and when it comes to your hardwood floors, Stanley Steemer is one company that provides cleaning services too.

Make some eco-friendly additions. As more people are becoming environmentally aware, when it comes to house-hunting, something that a lot of them are looking for is houses that have eco-friendly additions to them. If you can afford to purchase a couple of appliances for your kitchen that have the Energy Star label on them, that is ideal. But if you’re on a bit of a tight budget, get a low-flow showerhead and automatic faucet for the bathroom(s). That can reduce your water bill by as much as 20-30 percent.

Deep clean your home. Before real estate companies like will show a house, one thing they will expect is for it to be immaculate. Not only does it make a house look more appealing to visitors but something else that it can do is remove all beginning signs of mold and mildew and also rid your home of any stale smells that might be lurking around due to dirty grouts, the unclean space under your refrigerator or boxes that are stacked up in your attic or basement. While you’re cleaning your home, if you’d prefer to not use commercial cleaning products, there are several ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry that can clean your house without all of the toxins. For a list of them, just go to your favorite search engine and put “homemade cleaning recipes” in the search field.


5 Key Questions to Ask Before Buying a Lakefront Home


indexYou have it all planned out: cozy nights by the water’s edge with that special someone in your life, curling your toes in the sand, hopping in your little boat and taking a sunset tour. Indeed, the fantasies about living by the water run the gamut, but do you really know what goes into owning a waterfront property? When it comes down to it, purchasing a lakefront property can allow you to live your lifelong dream of having a waterfront property, but before you sign on the dotted line and become a proud owner, there are a number questions you want to ask beforehand. Here are five key questions to ask before buying a lakefront home.

  1. Is the lake swimmable? When it comes down to it, you may end up purchasing a lake house and then realize that you can’t swim in the lake – either because of pollution or because it is too dangerous. Making sure the lake is swimmable is especially important if you will be brining your kids there to enjoy the lake’s serenity. So, you want to find out everything there is to know about the different properties of the lake: salinity of the water, loam density of the soil and even when the mosquitoes like to breed. In fact, before you visit to try and find a lakeshore property, you may want to have your lake requirements all mapped out.
  2. Who manages the lake? Some lakes are never managed, so they become murky, muddy and quite unsightly. However, some lakes have a special lake manager who maintains the lake and makes sure that the water has the perfect pH balance for fishing, swimming and boating. Not only do you want to make sure a lake has a manager, but you also want to find out what the monthly fees are. Not factoring in these fees could cause you to go over budget.
  3. Do you get to own your own dock? When you are purchasing a lakefront property, there is a good chance that you will want to go boating, kayaking or spend some time in a watercraft on the water. Most people want to have their own dock for privacy issues and also for leisure purposes. So, you want to make sure that the dock comes with your property. If it doesn’t, you may be dealing with the general public docking their boats in your front yard.
  4. Are there any creatures you should be afraid of? When it comes down to it, some lakes are full of predators that you should not necessarily be afraid of, but definitely weary. Some lakes and rivers have alligators, which can be a threat to house pets and children. Not only that, but you want to know what mosquito breeding season is like and if it can become unbearable.
  5. Can you boat on the lake? If one of your must haves is to be able to boat on the lake, it’s very important for you to do your research on which lakes allow you to boat. Some lakes have a “no motor” policy, which means that you can’t be in any kind of watercraft that has a motor. This can be a deal breaker for some people, so make sure you find out this information before committing to any lakefront home. The reason why you want to know about this policy is so that you can be prepared or not for loud and obnoxious boats. If you want more peace and quiet, you may want to find a lake experience that doesn’t allow motorboats.


Top Tips for Updating your Conservatory


Conservatories are a lovely feature of a home, and it’s easy to see why they’re increasing in popularity. However, many people do still regard them as quite an old fashioned feature, when this is just not the case anymore.

If your conservatory is looking a little dated and you’d like to give it a revamp, we’ve got a list of some of the best ideas to help you do so. Or, if you’re thinking of investing in a conservatory, we think we’ve got some tips for inspirational Conservatories when it comes to the interior design of your new room.

Go for a different theme

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We’ve all seen the wicker furniture, faded carpet and beige walls combo conservatories, yet this is so dated that it’s time we said goodbye to it for good.

Choose a different theme altogether when it comes to decorating your conservatory. Aim to keep some of the overall flow of the rest of your home’s decor when it comes to the conservatory’s design, but with a few extra details to distinguish it and make it special.

Great themes we love that tend to be everywhere right now include monochrome with winks of colour bursts, French class designs with a heavy use of greys and dark woods and your timeless shabby chic vintage look.

Make a statement with bold furniture

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Ditch the faded wicker for good and go for something truly unique and special. No one said conservatory furniture had to be boring, and recent trends are proving that daily. Go for statement chairs, colour pop tables and even hammocks to add a truly interesting and dynamic appeal to even the most traditional styles of conservatories.

Give the windows a new lease of life



Conservatories with a heavy use of glass for the windows and even walls are fantastic, especially in the summer when it comes to enjoying your garden from the comfort of indoors. However, to keep uncomfortable strong sun rays at bay, you will no doubt rely on good conservatory blinds or curtains.

Replacing this element with new ones can give a new burst of life to the whole room as it is such a main feature. Why not replace your plain, faded curtains with bold blinds to add some interest and make the whole room feel more cosy and sophisticated?

Update the floors

Again, the flooring is a main interior design aspect of any room’s interior and the conservatory is no different. Why not go for something completely different to what you’ve had before? Replace old carpet with fresh, new wooden flooring for a timeless look that will suit any decor scheme.

If real, solid wood flooring is a little over your budget, laminate floors are a great alternative to real wood as they can be a fraction of the price, and if you choose a reputable company, they can often look just as good! They’re also a lot easier to maintain than carpets and will be good for keeping things cool in the summer.


3 Signs Home Sellers are Too Emotionally Attached

Selling one’s home is usually pretty emotional, especially if a family has been there for years – decades even – and created tons of memories. Every house comes full of stories about the people who lived there, and these can actually be used to help sell the home on when the times comes. But there is another kind of seller out there who is a little too attached, and he or she will be absolutely toxic to you, the buyer. They’ll prevaricate, waste time and end up causing you equal grief. Here are three huge red flags.



The Seller is Hyper-sensitive to Changes

You turn to your spouse and suggest off-hand that you would want to paint the white living room walls taupe. The seller overhears and immediately comes over to inform you that you are wrong, insisting that it’s just perfect, because that’s how it’s always been. If a seller just can’t bear to hear of any changes you’d make, then it’s obvious they want to keep it the way it is – that is, with them in it.

The Price is Way Too High

You looked at two other houses in the neighborhood, and while this one is nice, it’s also $40,000 more for reasons you can’t quite fathom. Homeowners who price their houses way too high are either so in love with their property that they think it’s worth every penny of that inflated price, are sub-consciously trying to drive buyers away or, worse, both.

The Seller Cries

It’s an emotional time, everyone involved knows that, but tears during an open house are a good indication that no one is going to see their offer accepted. The onus is on the seller to view their home as a product, but no buyer is going to help that.

If any of these red flags appear you need to be on your guard. Proceed with caution and try not to fall madly in love with the property until you can ascertain that the seller is actually serious.