From Frugal Budget to Extravagant Bath Is Easier Than 1, 2, 3

Are you still waiting on that personal spa space that you’ve been dreaming of? Perhaps now is as good of a time as any. Remodeling bathrooms are in the top three best returns on your investment for home resale value according the National Association of Realtors. Additionally, the Cost vs. Value Report states that remodeling bathrooms can bring a 73% return on your investment. If you are still concerned about the cost, consider these budget oriented tips for getting you the most bang for your buck.

1. Paint! Painting your dated space can be the quickest and most dramatic project for your new bathroom space. Most painting jobs can be completed by the homeowner even if you have never done it before and can be completed in one day. If you have more wall space in your bath and are afraid of expensive tile designs, try decorative paint techniques like stripes or glazing. Techniques like these can be done by the do-it-yourselfer as well, but can require a little more diligence.

2. Let there be Light! The outdated lighting in most bathrooms not only produces poor lighting but can also produce poor mood and tremendously devalue an otherwise decent space. Soften your lighting and bring in the opulence. Nicer fixtures often only cost a few dollars more than the basic plain ones. The impact of grandeur that the perfect fixture can produce for your space can be well worth the extra dollars spent and can personalize your retreat room even more.

3. Throw out that old Mirror! Many budget bathroom remodels are a complete success and do well for changing their previously dated look, except for one thing. So many remodels are completed around an old standard frameless mirror. This can be the easiest fix and what better to show off your new stiped paint and crystal chandelier than looking at them again in the perfectly accessorized mirror. Choose a common theme for your style and look around. Mirrors range in price greatly, but a find can be had for far less than you might think if you compare. For a greater budget conscious find, don’t forget to look at second hand shops. Mirrors are cleanable and frames can be painted or stained if they aren’t perfect. If formality is needed in your space, try a Venetian mirror for a sophisticated impact.

These steps can evoke some theatrics to your existing stale bathroom and are simple tricks that decorators use to wow in show houses all the time. Accessories also make a big impact. Don’t forget about the little details in creating bathroom remodeling success like the perfect spa towels folded just like the pictures, some consistently colored soap dispensers, and a serene crystal vase with a simple white flower.

If you are thinking of a bigger overhaul and still worried about budget, consider a refinance. With refinance rates often well under 5% from companies like Prospect Mortgage, it may actually save you money to refinance your existing loan, take out some equity, and get the ultimate spa bath that you have been dreaming about for a long time. Broadening your budget offers a different 1,2,3, but can be just as simple of a process. Start with the basics, identify your theme, and get started now.

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Cheap Appraisers – Are They Worth The Risk?

If you haven’t worked with an appraiser before, you may not realize that all appraisers are NOT the same and can be as different as night and day depending on their experience, education, and familiarity with your market area.

Anyone who’s had an appraiser horror story (there are plenty of them) because they hired the cheapest appraiser will tell you it’s simply not worth the risk. So don’t wait for your own horror story to be a learning experience and wake-up call when hiring an appraiser for your needs.

It can be easy to get tempted by those low fee appraisers. It seems like just a formality anyway. However, when it comes to hiring a professional appraiser for such an important job remember that you often get what you pay for!

It’s not worth trying to save $50 on the cost of an appraisal when there’s a good chance you may not receive the quality report you deserve if your main hiring decision was simply to go with the cheapest appraiser. So when it comes to working within your budget, don’t select an appraiser simply to save a couple bucks because it could cost you dearly in the long run.

There are ways to help ensure you’re hiring a quality appraiser. First, you should always ask for referrals from people you know and trust or from established real estate professionals within your market area. You can also look online for appraisers that come up repeatedly and start your research from there.

In addition, you should always pre-screen an appraiser. You don’t have to come across as bossy, intimidating, or controlling however; keep in mind you shouldn’t be bullied by anyone in the business either. Any appraiser who’s not willing to answer a few questions for you up front or claims their reputation should speak for itself is probably not someone you want to work with.

Questions you should be asking:

Aside from full name and telephone number, you should also ask for and write down an appraiser’s license or certification number. First, this lets the appraiser know you’re serious. Second, if they don’t know or won’t share this information this is a red flag you should be aware of. If this is the case you may want to save yourself time and tell them you’ll need that information before you can speak with them any further.

Find out the location of the appraiser’s “home base” or office. It’s generally a good idea to work with an appraiser who’s completed a significant amount of work in your area so don’t be afraid to ask how many appraisals they’ve completed in your area over the past few years. It’s extremely important for the appraiser to be familiar with your area in order to produce an accurate and reliable appraisal report. In addition, keep in mind that when appraisers are slow they may be willing to reduce their fees and drive great distances into market areas their unfamiliar with, so beware!

Ask how long they’ve been appraising and if they’ve ever been sanctioned. Five to10 years’ experience is ideal and you should avoid hiring appraisers who’ve been sanctioned or caught cutting corners in the past.

Find out what level licensing they have. An appraiser’s license can vary from Trainee to Certified General. Never hire a trainee unless a fully certified mentor is involved in both the appraisal process and final analysis. In California, appraisers with “AL” designations mean they can perform appraisals on properties worth up to $1M while appraisers with “AR” designations have more training and education and can perform appraisals on properties up to and above $1M, and appraisers with “AG” designations allow them to perform appraisals on commercial in addition to $1M plus properties.

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Skilled Concrete Contractors Plus the Right Ready Mix Means the Perfect Job

Concrete serves a lot of purposes. Without concrete, cities would basically not exist. Streets, office buildings, and residential homes all require concrete to be built. Of course, someone has to build all those structures. This is where the contractors come into play. In order to do so, the contractors, must purchase the right ready mix concrete is a must. They are also going to need a reliable seller of ready mix concrete. Without high quality concrete, no job is going to get done.

Now, work can be performed with lower quality concrete but this would be a very self-defeating way to go about the process. The problems that arise might be legion. For one, the concrete could take a very long time to dry. As a result, concrete contractors end up being far less productive they otherwise would be. Problems might arise with the person or entity that has requested the project be completed. Time is of the essence to those funding the project. In some cases, a low quality concrete could require more and more ready mix to make the most sufficient concrete and water mix. The wrong mix means problems with time and money may arise.

Worst of all, there could be significant safety problems that emerge. Weak quality concrete ready mix can lead to structural problems. These problems may be obvious immediately or they can take time to develop. The latter might even be deemed the worse of the two since it can set the stage for an unexpected catastrophe at an unforeseen date.

Neither concrete contractors nor their clients wish to experience any calamities, be they major or minor ones. To avoid such occurrences, it is necessary to procure any and all concrete mixes from reputable and reliable providers. Quality concrete mix is well worth the investment.

A well-established supplier of concrete mix can provide the full amount required for any and every job. This includes both the very small ones such as basic sidewalk repair work and major jobs such as the construction of an entire office building. The requested ready mix will be delivered on time and in the needed volume. What the concrete contractors ask for, they will receive.

Skilled and experience concrete contractors know where they can find quality ready mix. Those requiring a project be completed should look for quality in both the concrete mix and the concrete contractors. Doing so ensure the project is done perfectly.

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7 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent for New Home Construction

1. It’s FREE. A licensed real estate agent generally collects 3% from each side (buyers side/ sellers side) of the sale of a home. You are paying the same commission without hiring an agent; so why not go in with that extra protection knowing they have your best interest in mind.

2. Knowledge. A realtor who knows the area you are buying in can educate you on the options you have for existing sales and new construction. They can also address certain qualities of each of the new home builders (which are the most energy efficient, who charged for every single upgrade you view in the model.). Some are priced a whopping $100k over the base price of the model.

3. Negotiations. Many builders will try to control each part of your selection from lot location to upgrades, but an experienced neighborhood realtor will be able to explain when something is normal and customary or if this is an expensive upgrade. Most unsuspecting buyers think it is part of the process. It’s important to remember almost everything can be negotiated.

4. It will save you more than headaches. Preparation is key to minimizing frustration. With a licensed real estate agent by your side you’ll save time, money, and your sanity.

5. It keeps the builder ethical. I recently had this happen with a new home builder I visited with a client. The builder misrepresented the listing on MLS with a generic inventory home description. I take my client in to see the home with a pool and yes, you guessed it… There was no pool! When I brought this to the agents attention he just shrugged and said, “Well, we have a community pool”. How could you believe anything else this guy has to say.

6. Your questions will be answered. Your realtor can highlight some of your original concerns and questions that you are likely to forget while discussing the details of the home. When you sell real estate full time these things become second nature. Your realtor will be able to answer most questions for you, and will make sure to get the builders answers for specifics. Leaving you with peace of mind.

7. It will educate you on your options. Elevations, curb appeal options, pest control built in options, HVAC options and/or requirements based on your state may not be things you are aware of, but a licensed real estate agent will be able to educate you on any options you have to make the sale of your home worth more.

Remember, there is good and bad in every area. I’ve built connections with some of the best new home builder agents in my area, and I have learned from each sale. Be prepared; you don’t want to be one of those buyers with a horror story to tell about your bad experience with a builder. Just hire a professional and do it right the first time.

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