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Irena Popilevsky's Blog

By Irena Popilevsky | Broker in Staten Island, NY
  • Invest In Home Remodeling Projects

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Staten Island, Remodel & Renovate in Staten Island  |  August 26, 2010 3:29 PM  |  776 views  |  1 comment



    Many homeowners when thinking about selling think about spending some money on projects around the house. When deciding on a remodeling project you want to spend your money wisely. If you can only tackle one project consider

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  • 7 Red Flags for Home Buyers

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Staten Island  |  December 10, 2009 6:45 AM  |  613 views  |  1 comment
    In most states, home sellers must disclose any defect they know about that could affect how desirable — and marketable — their home is before they sign a purchase contract. But you may have fallen in love with a house, and spent hours preparing a purchase contract. You should always make your purchase contract contingent on a professional home inspection ($300 to $450). Home inspectors could miss hidden problems, however, such as a basement that floods during a downpour.

    This list of red flags, recommended by Kathleen Kuhn, president of HouseMaster, a nationally franchised home-inspection company, and Bill Richardson, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, can help you identify potentially pricey problems.

    POOR WATER PRESSURE-Among tests you can do: Run water in a bathroom sink and check for weak flow. Flush the toilet while the water is running. Does the faucet flow drop off during the flush? In the bathroom located farthest from the water heater, turn on the hot water. Is there an unduly long delay before the water turns hot?

    CEILING STAINS-Something’s leaking. If the stain appears beneath a bathroom, odds are the shower is leaking. It may merely need recaulking or regrouting, but it could also require ripping out tile and replacing the shower pan, a much more costly process (about $1,500). Most roof leaks result from neglected flashing that seals “valleys” in the roof or around a chimney or vents (cost to repair: $200 to $500). But roof leaks may also mean it’s time to replace shingles — at $100 to $350 per 100 square feet for asphalt shingles and $210 to $1,000 for wood shingles.

    OVERLOADED ELECTRICAL OUTLETS- Today’s electrical demands may exceed the capacity of homes built as little as a decade ago, says Kuhn. You’ll spend $75 to $250 to have an electrician add a 120-volt outlet to an existing circuit. Or, if the electrical system is very outdated, it may require a new electric panel. A new, 100-amp panel will cost $1,500 to $2,500.

    TROUBLESOME DOORS- Are the doors hard to close? Do they swing open by themselves or fail to open fully? If you have one bad door, it may simply have been installed incorrectly. But more than one may indicate a serious structural issue, such as a foundation that has settled or framing that is deteriorating. Fixing this problem can require structural and geotechnical engineering reports and thousands of dollars in repairs.

    EXTERIOR FEATURES THAT SLOP TOWARD THE HOME- A porch, patio, driveway or grading that slopes toward the home all but guarantees water in the basement. And that may lead to structural decay, mold and insect infestation. In the basement, a musty smell may indicate previous flooding or ongoing moisture problems. Check the walls for stains, dark or light, which are tell-tale signs that water has penetrated the walls.

    Solving the problem may be as simple and cheap as adding gutter extensions or regrading soil away from the home, or it could require thousands of dollars to excavate and build drains. Some homes may require exterior drains (one at the bottom of a sloped driveway, for example) as well as buried drains.

    ODOR- Cigarette smoke and pet odors can be hard to get rid of. And if a home smells too clean  heavy with the scent of cleaning products (especially bleach) or plug-in deodorizers — the seller may be trying to cover up an odor, such as mold or urine. If so, you need to inquire further, says Richardson, of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

    SYNTHETIC STUCCO SIDING- This must be installed precisely or else moisture will be trapped behind it, resulting in mold and decay. In the worst case, the siding will have to be replaced. For a medium-sized house (1,250 square feet of exterior surface area), replacing vinyl siding can cost $2,500 to $8,750, while wood or fiber cement siding can cost $5,600 to $10,000 or more. Especially in humid climates, you may want to pay for a special inspection. HouseMaster charges $600 and up, depending on how much of the material has been used and the size of the house.

    If you find out before you close your purchase that the seller deliberately misrepresented or failed to fully disclose the home’s condition, you may have the right to rescind the contract under state law. If it’s a done deal, you’ll probably have to sue the seller to recoup your damages. In some states you can also seek repayment of your legal costs. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in real estate fraud. If you have reason to believe that the seller’s agent was negligent, you can take it up with the local Board of Realtors (www.nar.com, click on “local and state associations”) and the state’s licensing agency (to find yours, visit the Web site of the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials).

  • Troubleshoot your toilet without a plumber

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Staten Island  |  December 9, 2009 6:57 PM  |  597 views  |  1 comment

    You're spending a lot more time in the bathroom than you'd like because your toilet never seems to completely flush on the first try.

    The quick fix
    A poorly flushing standard toilet can be caused by a number of different problems. Lift the tank cover, and first check the chain that runs from the flapper cap to the flush handle; if it is too long, the handle won't lift the flapper cap sufficiently. Shorten the chain length by hooking into another link of the chain. Next, look at the water level in the tank; the amount of water affects how strong the flush will be. If the tank is not filling all the way (there should be a fill line on the inside of the tank), carefully bend the bulb of the float valve up a bit and see if the tank will fill. If it does not, use a small mirror to check the toilet bowl rim holes through which the water enters the bowl. If they are blocked, clean them with a small nail and an acid-based porcelain cleaner. If none of the above does the trick, you may have a misadjusted or faulty fill valve that needs replacement.
    Hope this helps.
    On Your Team. Irena Popilevsky
    www.irenapopilevsky.com

  • Dollar-for-Dollar

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Staten Island  |  August 28, 2009 3:24 PM  |  582 views  |  1 comment

    Are you thinking of remodeling your home? Consider the return on your investment before remodeling. Not all remodeling projects yield the same return in increasing your home’s value.

    Updating your kitchen and baths is your best remodeling investment, returning a nearly dollar-for-dollar increase in home resale value. An updated kitchen and bathrooms make your home that much more attractive to potential buyers when you do decide to sell.

    By contrast, converting a basement into a family room or adding outdoor recreation facilities, such as a swimming pool or sport court, yield the lowest return on your investment.

    Sometimes the cumulative effect of several smaller projects can yield a higher resale value than one or two larger ones. Smaller projects tend to be more cosmetic--new paint, doors, or windows. Larger projects that upgrade or add living space may cost more, but almost always add less resale value for the dollars spent.

    Whatever you do, be careful of over-improving for your neighborhood. Remodeling that significantly improves your property over neighboring homes won't return as much when it comes time to sell.

    If you have any questions or you'd like additional information, please don't hesitate to call or email me.
    www.irenapopilevsky.com
    (917) 579-4455

 
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