Selling or buying a South Florida Home? Protect Your Investment with a Plan for Chinese Drywall RenovationsÂ
From Heron Bay to Parkland Golf and Country Club to Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, homebuyers and investors face the daunting emotional and financial task of purchases and potential renovations related to defective Chinese drywall.
Â Regardless of whether youâ€™re buying a home as a residence or an investment, how you approach the situation can guide the outcome.
Â As a second-generation South Florida builder specializing since 2008 in Chinese drywall remediation and repairs, our advice is to know the facts:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How do I know if we have defective Chinese drywall? The tell-tale signs of the impacts of defective Chinese drywall include the smell of rotten eggs, blackened copper air conditioner tubes or electrical wires, pitted chrome faucets and jewelry, and even the blackening of mirrors. Prolonged exposure to the off-letting of gasses causes some people to suffer eye irritation, headaches, nosebleeds, coughing, respiratory ailments, sinus infections, and difficulty breathing. If youâ€™re experiencing any of these symptoms, see a doctor. Then call a contractor or drywall inspector.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Go beyond what you can see or smell. Itâ€™s not enough for a contractor to say he or sheâ€™s removed all defective drywall. Perform visual and mechanical inspections for additional affected drywall â€“ and even mold contamination. Insist the contractor or an inspector use a hand-held x-ray or Fluorescent gun to read for abnormally high strontium levels in the drywall (this is the sign of defective product). Also, have an inspection for mold, because the corrosive effect of drywall can lead to leaks in the plumbing.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Check permits and dates. If youâ€™re buying a home in South Florida, your home inspection should include screening for Chinese drywall. Watch the dates and contact the appropriate Building Department for permits pulled during the time frame of 2004 to 2009. When purchasing a home built prior to the dates generally associated with defective drywall installations, ask the seller about room additions, renovations and repairs. Contaminated drywall may have been used in the work.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How much will remediation cost? Costs can vary widely, based on where the home is located to how much drywall is affected. Expect to spend $35 to $45 per square foot for remediation efforts for interior work and then another $2 for repairs to landscaping and driveways from the impact of Dumpsters and Pods. The quality of finishes used throughout the home, as well as whether the homeowner intends to reuse those finishes, cabinets or the air conditioner, also affects costs.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Know the competition. Whether youâ€™re buying as a residence or as an investment may determine how much you should be willing to pay. If youâ€™re buying with the idea of flipping the property, given the numbers above, renovation costs could eat into any profits. If flipping, the purchase price must be much lower than the original price â€“ or even asking prices or area comps. If you have to spend $200,000 renovating a 4,500-square-foot home, your profit will be eaten by renovation costs. Also, scan the neighborhood for lots under construction. Your purchase price should be at least 20% lower than new stock â€“ just to protect your investment or profit margin AFTER remediation.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Be prudent. Make sure the numbers add up in your favor. If remediation will eat your investment profits or competition from new-builds will put you upside down in your residence once remediation is complete, then be prepared to walk. If the current real estate market has taught us anything, itâ€™s that the market has plenty of inventory of available homes. You can afford to be selective.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Seek expert guidance. Donâ€™t go it alone. Most homeowners will only face a defective Chinese drywall remediation project once in their lives. Yet, general contractors versed in this process bring expertise from having performed dozens of remediation projects. For example, Kogen Construction has submitted dozens of estimates on various model homes in Heron Bay, Parkland Golf and Country Club, Cobblestone Creek in Boynton Beach, and The Oaks of Boca Raton. Our experience can help homeowners better weather the financial and emotional storm surrounding such a project.
Â About the Author: Julie Miller is President of Kogen Constuction Inc. (www.KogenConstruction.com). The South Florida-based licensed general contractor is FAU and BESI certified contractor and delivers expert, turn-key removal and remediation of defective Chinese drywall. Free consultations and estimates are available by appointment. Contact Miller at Kogenconstruction@gmail.com or on the ownerâ€™s cell at 561-577-2619.