Homeowner tips and advice is the next thing you turn to when you either think about home construction or renovation, look for ways to improve your lawn or crave for tips to prevent pest infestations.
"Owning a home I love" is part of American dream. In the period from 2006 to 2016, 7.5 million new households were formed in the United States. According to 2017 State of the American Dream report, 70% of US citizens see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. 79% of them think renovations are essential. For over 90%, homeownership alone is not enough; it has to be the right home. So, people search for homeowner advice and invest $300 billion into home improvement every year.
Home Construction Tips
When we think about home renovation, we imagine a dream house which will give us comfort, stability, sense of security, etc. Such improvements encompass building projects, renovation of lawns, gardens and outdoor structures. So, people need new homeowner tips.
The most expensive is home construction. It includes the following categories of construction costs:
- Land Cost: cost of owning a land parcel for House construction.
- Design Costs: architectural, structural and MEP design of the building.
- Liasoning Costs: fees for government approvals like government land survey, plan approval, etc.
- Material Procurement Costs: purchase of materials like cement, steel, sand, aggregate, bricks, blocks, tiles and other finishing materials.
- Labor Costs: the manpower costs for construction of RCC structure, brick work, plastering, other finishing works and external development (like compound wall, landscaping).
The main snag in the process of construction is the difficulty to predict the final costs and results. According to Regional Construction Market Trends, the construction cost is a challenge, hence some of the new homeowner tips:
- Think of building space: it may compromise the design process due to the existing building's structure or envelope.
- Interview contractors and hire experienced ones: it influences the quality of works and minimizes the change orders. Workers are often pulled from different sector's projects which raises labor costs. The developers are seeking low cost project delivery models, like design-build, and cheap construction management which allows owners to share risk of releasing the project for an early construction start, as revised, even though not all design aspects are complete.
As a result, the customers (homeowners) are unsatisfied with works done in the house and need additional homeowner advice. In RNM Construction Of Indiana review, a person shares his/her experience with home construction. The reviewer wrote,
"They damaged the flashing on my house, and put new vents on that where in worse shape then the old ones. They fixed the vents only because I had pictures of them being damaged in the box before installation".
It is highly recommended to do a research about construction companies on websites like this https://www.pissedconsumer.com/.
- Go shopping: it may help you keep a handle on construction materials costs – cement, bricks and blocks, plastering, doors and windows, flooring, grill and railings, electrical material, light fitting, paints, plumbing fixtures and sanitary.
- Avoid change orders: it influences the cost of construction and can sometimes deter the quality of the structure.
- Ensure proper cash flow: it influences work completion. Contractors charge for re-mobilizations if there are delays because of improper cash flows.
- Insure your property: homeowner's insurance usually covers four types of incidents on the property – interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal assets/belongings and injury while on the property.
Home Repair Tips
According to HomeServe USA, more than half of homeowners experienced an emergency home repair in the past year. Most common problems with their homes include: broken and damaged things, replacements, adjustments, etc. Repairs can be simple when the owner can fix everything by himself.
Home repair and maintenance costs add up quickly as difficult repairs require a handyman. First, he/she has to identify the problem, then find the materials, suppliers, tools necessary to resolve the problem, etc. However, it is a challenge to find a competent handyman.
In this review about Paul Davis Restoration, a person complained about unskilled and dishonest workers. He/she started working with a company in June.
"They had siding removed and down spouts were taken off labor Day weekend. My house sat like that until end of Oct," - the reviewer wrote. He/she sustained water damage.
Another reviewer hired the company to replace a couple of panels on a garage door. He/she wrote a complaint about American Certified Services,
"The panels came in they replace them but the garage door would not come up and they could not get it up. They left never to return after two days pasted".
The person called the office manager to get a refund for the cost of handymen work. The company promised to send the best man to do maintenance but nobody came.
To avoid such issues, follow these tips for new homeowners:
- Gather information about the company beforehand (reviews, contacts).
- Check for licensing information.
- Buy a repair plan. You never know when a plumbing, electrical, heating or cooling emergency might happen. Such plan can help protect you from expensive repairs that are typically not covered by your homeowner's insurance, local utility company or city/town.
- Keep receipts for home improvements.
A good tip for new homeowners in case of bad services is to file a complaint. You can report it online to the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). The complaint will be forwarded to the company within two days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days. If a response is not received, a second request is made. You will be notified of the business's response when BBB receives it. Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.
Landscaping and Gardening Tips
Main landscaping and gardening aim is to provide pleasure to people. Landscaping includes such space elements as trees, lawns and shrubbery, pathways, furniture, planting beds, water features and fences.
Gardening includes design, planning and maintenance. People can organize the space by themselves. However, non-professionals may have lack of knowledge in gardening. In Gardeners Collection review, a person asks for new homeowner tips concerning planting. He/she ordered the flowering cherry bushes and received 5 sticks. Only one began to grow. The client contacted customer service and was sent 4 more, but they all also died. The person tried to find appropriate species and get information how to grow them. The company did not help.
It is hard to select the right type of tree for your yard. In order to do this, follow this homeowner advice about tree planting:
- Consider growing space both above and below ground.
- Contact Miss Utility (ww.missutility.net) to have your underground utility lines marked. Plant at least three feet from buried utilities.
- Plant at least 10 feet from a building, small trees, main overhead utility wires on street or alley.
- Avoid planting directly underneath smaller overhead wires that connect to your home or building.
- Prioritize your tree planting with the sun's direction to maximize shade by planting on the southwestern and western sides of your home.
- Contact a professional. Landscape architects have a degree in landscape architecture. They pass a national examination to obtain a license. Their task is to sketch a design for a garden and suggest a plant list. However, gardens require tending and specialized care throughout the year. Professional gardeners have a degree in horticulture or botany and may have completed a master gardener program.
However, some gardening companies provide poor services like, for example, in this review. A person noticed that two shrubs started to die and the grass below them died out. He/she emailed the company on their website and received no response from Trugreen customer service. The person wrote,
"About two weeks later I responded to a customer service survey and relayed that I was not satisfied. A couple of days later I received a call apologizing and they said someone would come out. Approximately one week later a man came out. After examining the shrub and grass, he advised me they would replant the grass but had to talk with his manager about the shrubs and have his manager get back to me."
As a result, nobody came. The person decided to find another company.
It is very important to choose a professional gardener. In order to do this, follow these tips for new homeowners:
- Determine whether you need a consultant (get professional advice on the health and safety of a tree, on the potential impact on any proposed or existing buildings, etc.) or contractor (to carry out tree pruning, bracing, planting and felling operations, to identify and control tree pests and diseases). To get more information about planting and gardening, visit the Association of Professional Landscape Designers website https://www.apld.org/ .
- Read reviews about gardening companies on websites like https://www.pissedconsumer.com/. Ask for references.
- Check the Certification of Pesticide Applicators of professionals who will be using pesticides (weedkillers, insecticides or fungicides) in your garden.
Homeowners also come across pest issues. According to a national survey by HomeTeam Pest Defense, 84% of America's homeowners experienced a pest problem (ants – 49%, spiders – 43%, flies – 37%, mosquitoes – 34%, mice – 30% and wasps – 29%).
Most people (51%) prefer professional pest control service, as it can guarantee better result. However, the situation with pests may become worse or not change at all, as in case of this reviewer, where the person eventually cancelled Romney Pest Control service. He/she wrote,
"One month later there were still spiders, ants, water bugs and other pests in and around my house".
Here are some tips for new homeowners to prevent pest infestations:
- Seal cracks and small openings around doors, windows, garage doors and utility entry points.
- Get rid of standing water around the home.
- Cut back tree branches and bushes, keeping them away from the side of the house and roof.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
- Fix dripping taps and leaking pipes to remove the water and humidity that some pests need in order to survive.
- Empty garbage cans and recycle bins regularly.
- Store food in sealed containers on countertops, cupboards or in refrigerator.
It is critical to find as much information and new homeowner tips as possible to create the home you love before settling in the right house. Achieving this aim is a real challenge nowadays.
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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal, medical, accounting, investment, or any other professional advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.