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Buying a Home? Watch Out For These Estate Agent Tricks

This is the second in a series of three articles warning home buyers and sellers about the main tricks estate agents use to get hold of your money. These articles are aimed at helping you avoid being fleeced by your estate agent.

Selling to buyers

Although we all know that agents are acting for sellers, many are experts in befriending buyers and getting them to feel that they are on our side, working to help us get the best property at the best price. If you’re buying a property you should be on your guard against several sales traps including the block, stock-shifting, pumping up the price, the spider’s web and the sealed-bid scam.

1. The Block

Of all estate agents’ tricks, the block is probably the one people least expect. Most of us assume agents want to sell properties to us and so it doesn’t occur to us that they may be interested in preventing us from buying. There are several reasons an agent might try to block us from buying a property. The most obvious is that they’ve planned a slash-and-grab for themselves or one of their contacts and so don’t want us to disrupt their plans by buying at a higher price than they’re offering. Another reason may be that the agent has a buyer who is also taking out a mortgage through that agent or an associate mortgage agent. The agent can earn almost as much commission from flogging the mortgage as from selling the property and so may be less interested helping a buyer with cash or who has organised their own mortgage. In both these cases, an agent may withhold our offers from a seller or, if they do pass on our offers, they may discourage the seller from accepting them by suggesting that we may not be in a good position to buy. An investigation by one journalist found that of six offers made to estate agents, only two were passed on to sellers.

2. The stock-shift

Buyers may be looking for their ideal home, but agents can only sell the properties they have on their books. Moreover, they have to shift their stock if they are to meet their sales targets. Unless an agent is lucky enough to have properties that perfectly match buyers’ requirements, the only way they can get their monthly bonus is by convincing buyers to take whatever they’ve got to sell. So the art of a successful agent is to influence buyers to compromise and take what is available rather than hold out for their dream property.

There are various ways of getting buyers to compromise. The easiest is to use fear to push you into making an offer. An agent may tell you that they have the perfect property, that this has just come on the market, but that you’ll have to move quickly before someone else snaps it up. Or if a buyer is hesitating, the agent will use the phantom buyer trick and claim that several other buyers are also interested. To add a little colour the agent may also say that one of the phantom buyers is a cash buyer and therefore in a much better position than you. Or an agent may arrange for several buyers to view a property at the same time. This is intended to make buyers believe that there is competition for the property and can lead to buyers being infected by auction-fever – always a great way to spur them into action and push the price up. Typically an agent will say that prices in the area are going up so if you don’t buy quickly, you’ll end up paying a lot more in a few months time. And there’s the sandwich – here the agent shows a buyer three properties with the first and the third being either unsuitable or out of their range and the middle one being closer to what they want. This helps create the impression in the buyer’s mind that there are few properties fitting their requirements and makes them more open to being fobbed off with something which is reasonably close to what they were looking for.

3. The price pump

Research has repeatedly shown that around 70% of buyers spend on average about 20% more for their homes than they had originally intended. So, whatever a buyer may say to an agent about their price limit, the agent already knows from experience that the large majority of buyers can be squeezed well above this if shown a property they like. The simplest way for the agent to push the price up is to claim that they already have several offers on a property, so if you’re interested, you’re going to have to put in a fairly juicy bid. Or else an agent may use the build-up – show you four or five properties, starting with the cheapest and moving on to the most expensive. Most buyers, when seeing a property they really like, will stretch their financial limit rather than letting the property go to someone else. Another tactic is to show you a home that is way above your financial limit. In comparison, any subsequent properties will seem reasonably priced. Or the agent could use the sneer – take you to an expensive property and then suggest that it’s a pity that you can’t stretch your budget to buy such a perfect home. This is particularly easy if the agent can use buyer’s partner or family to pile on the emotional pressure.

4. The spider’s web

In addition to sellers and property developers, agents have a wide web of people who can help them increase their earnings. For example, if an agent convinces a buyer to use a particular mortgage advisor or supposedly independent financial advisor, on an average loan the advisor will pocket about £2,000 and the agent £1,000 to £1,500. Even if a buyer has finance available, an agent might tell buyers that ‘it’s company policy’ to ensure that all buyers get the best loan deals available and so, whether you want it or not, the agent makes an appointment for you to meet a mortgage salesman with business connections to the agency.

Similarly, an agent will usually get generous kickbacks if they pass buyers onto lawyers and surveyors that they regularly work with. An added advantage of using lawyers and surveyors known to the agent is that they will tend to overlook problems with properties to enable sales to go through. In any town or even areas of a city, most agents, lawyers and surveyors will have worked together in the past and none will want to upset any of the others. So even when a buyer believes their lawyer and surveyor are representing their interests, it’s likely that the lawyer and surveyor will be more sensitive about ensuring continuing a good relationship with the estate agent rather than worrying about the interests of a buyer that they will probably never deal with again. When I began to question both my lawyer and surveyor about things they had apparently ‘overlooked’, the lawyer paid me £6,000 and the surveyor £2,500 – this may have been because they were terribly nice people and particularly liked me; or it may have been because they realised their cosy little arrangement with the estate agent had been rumbled and so were keen to avoid any possibly embarrassing explanations. Any buyer who gets caught in the spider’s web of the agent’s business associates may find it a very expensive experience.

5. Sealed-bid scams

If there are several buyers chasing a property, the seller and agent may ask all the potential purchasers to submit their ‘best and final’ offer in an envelope by a certain date and time with the understanding that the highest bid will be accepted. This is a wonderful way of getting the price up as buyers’ competitive natures can cloud their common sense. But the sealed bid process is open to abuse. For a start, the seller doesn’t have to accept the highest offer – a slightly lower cash offer may be preferable to a higher offer from someone who needs time to arrange finance. Also, once the bids are opened, the agent can easily go back to the bidder with the deepest pockets and suggest that if they increase their offer by a certain amount, then the property is theirs. If they think a potential buyer has access to more money, the agent can also lie about the level of the highest bid or invent a phantom bid in order to push the price higher. Or, if they want to do a slash-and-grab to get the property for themselves, a developer, a family member or friend, then an agent may withhold some bids.

Have You Got What It Takes to Sell Your Own Home?

These days, plenty of people do business in the real estate area. One business is selling and buying properties. People generally sell their house with the help of a realtor simply because they want their house to be sold quickly. Maybe you want to sell your property on your own just to save money.

Selling your house on your own is not a difficult job to accomplish if you use a good method and understand the steps to sell your home quickly. But, selling your house on your own demands a lot of your energy. Due to the fact you have to do market research on value plus more work to clean up your property before the selling process.

Selling your house on your own is as simple as 1,2,3. Before you begin to sell, you need to establish in your head that you can sell your house by yourself. If you have already made up your mind, the following steps will be much easier. Very first thing that you should do is clean up your home to make it look spacious. Every buyer usually looks for a thoroughly clean, neat, and roomy house. You need to make your house look wonderful and appealing. You can begin by identifying your properties flaws and fix them. Trim the lawn, get rid of any clutter, examine your house thoroughly. Make little enhancements that may seem unimportant to you for example planting flowers, repairing damaged tiles, cutting trees, and be sure that your house smells good.

After you get your home prepared, you also need to set an acceptable selling price for your house. You do not want to set the purchase price too small or over calculate it. You can find details about home prices that are comparable to your house, in newspaper advertisements, or you should ask for an experts advices to help price your house.

The final thing to do would be to advertise your house. Selling your house on your own is definitely exciting work to do but could also make you discouraged if your house is not sold in the time frame that you expected. If your marketing plan is good, you could have your house sold in weeks. You can start by making a good advertisement in your newspapers or a magazine that has a specific area for selling and buying real estate. If you look at it you have everything you need to sell your home.

House Plans in 3D – A Market Strategy For Home Builders and Residential Developers

With the economy still forecast to be gloomy and an uncertain road ahead, many residential developments and their builders have put the brakes on new construction projects. For builders and developers in the speculative home building market the strategies for earning a living from what they do best and remaining solvent while doing so are limited and challenging.

Many have resorted to building smaller homes using value engineered construction plans, emphasizing quality not quantity. Much more effort has gone into making a home energy-efficient and utilizing the latest green technologies available today. Also, more affordable homes are being built using less expensive, more standardized materials.

Builders have sharpened their pencils to shrink profit margins, incorporated more productive methods to reduce operating costs and upgraded to the latest technologies to streamline project efficiency. Some have even regrouped, combining resources and developing partnerships with others in their field.

But cost saving tactics can only go so far, especially with bank financing for builders and developers remaining problematic. Creative, private financing has been the alternative for some, however, that is not without its own drawbacks. High interest rates and larger upfront contributing costs required of builders and developers can significantly eat into profit margins.

Many home building companies realizing that future success will depend not only on fresh business practices and sleeker operational models that continually produce less expensive, noticeably better homes are now innovating; stressing more creative approaches to buyer’s needs. The option of marketing their speculative homes via 3D virtual house plans is fast becoming the preferred innovative sales tool.

Today’s buyers want things their way. And they expect a say in what they get. For example, many are more interested in practical and reasonably attractive function than simply fancy form. Small efficient floor plans with flexible space are more relevant than grandiose entrances with huge staircases. Instead of guessing what to build and hoping they will come, listen to prospective homeowners, and give them a chance to personalize each project.

That is why many open-minded builders, thinking outside the box, have been pre-selling semi-customized versions of model homes, through computer modeling of 3D house plans. By providing several base floor plans with full computer generated 3D color views of both the interior and exterior of the proposed new home plan, builders and developers are able to market their projects with the least amount of upfront costs and preparations.

This relatively inexpensive, cost-effective market strategy is a win-win situation worth considering. Builders don’t have to spend a dime in advance on home construction materials or labor costs without knowing the end results. Their sales team and physical presence can be significantly reduced – think virtual office. Actual site visits to model homes would not be encumbered by bad weather or scheduling hassles. Virtual tours would be available on the company website featuring all 3D imagery of the home plans and accompanied by detailed lot information, pricing options and customizations or upgrades.

For a buyer, who can now “shop” from the convenience of his or her home, an initial “walk-through” doesn’t waste either party’s time. With virtual 3D modeling of floor plans future homeowners can see what the proposed residence will look like and get a good impression of spatial relationships within the layout. They can view color options and material choices with respect to exterior siding, trim details and interior finishes.

Buyers still crave customized spaces that look and feel more like unique personal expressions. Starting from the pre-designed computer generated floor plans; buyers would be able to interact with pre-packaged upgrades, color and material choices and other customizable options. All material and finish details such as lighting, fixtures, hardware, appliances, flooring, paint color and exterior siding can then easily be selected and pre-priced. Contracts could be finalized with the least amount of effort.

The marketing strategy of pre-selling new home construction with 3D house plans is an effective method not only for large developments but is especially beneficial for small builders with very little capital and no sales team. A number of our small builder clients with one or two building lots in their inventory have chosen to pre-sell with 3D house plans rather than start risky construction projects on speculation. The money invested in architectural design work pales in comparison to the financing of building construction. And the peace of mind gained from knowing that the project is paid for works wonders on reducing job stress.

Marketing speculative home construction through pre-designed customizable house plans and computer generated 3D modeling is fast becoming the new norm. We have seen this trend both locally and nationwide where future homeowners have a say in the design and construction of their new home and builders have found a new niche for maintaining a profitable business.

Is a Home Security System Watching Your House or a Burglar?

Is a home security system watching your house or a burglar? That is a question that today is serious, because there are more residential break-ins than ever before and it is not just houses in densely populated areas, it is also happening in the suburbs. Places where families never thought they would need to lock their doors, places where they didn’t close the windows are now targets. One of the big reasons that the house in the suburbs is a target is the burglar believes these families do not take home security seriously.

Burglars look for the easiest home to break into, which means they are looking for a residence that does not have a sign in the yard that they have a home alarm or decals in the windows. They are looking for windows that are open in the warm weather, doors left open when an errand is run, when the grass is being mowed or the family is gathered in the backyard cooking out. It does not take long for this criminal to get into the house and take what they want, but they usually will watch the residence to see the movements of the family. This way they can take all the time they want going through the house that is not secured.

The residence that does have a home security system, does display the sign and window decals and does take residential break-ins serious can avoid having a stranger in their home, stealing their possessions. Burglars as a rule will avoid anything that could lead to them being caught and that is just what happens with a home alarm monitoring. They do not want to be arrested and that means they search for the right house to steal from that does not have an alarm system.

The home alarm system today is easy to use for everyone in the family with keychain remotes, which means the alarm, can be armed from outside of the house and it can also be disarmed. That will make it easy to remember and does not mean rushing into the house to the wall pad to disarm the alarm system. It is also easy enough for children to use, since summer weather will mean they are in and out of the house more often. Burglars watch for this kind of movement for their chance to get into the house. It does not take them long and to neighbors they can look like someone doing repairs, a friend or a relative, because this person that will steal from a residence does not have an appearance that would alert anyone. They will alert the home security system and they will trigger the alarm if they attempt to break-in when it is armed. Keep the burglar from watching your house, by having a home security system and advertising it to them with the window decals and sign in the yard, because once there is a residential break-in the family does not feel safe at home.

Willow House Review – Is Willow House A Legitimate Home Based Business?

In this Willow House review, I will be taking a closer look at this company to provide you with the information that you will need to make your home based business decision. Who is this company? What is it exactly that they offer? Is Willow House the best business choice for me and my family? These are the questions that I intend to help answer for you in my Willow House review.

Willow House is a company that offers products related to home decoration, entertaining guests, and organizational solutions, allowing you to come home to an appealing, fresh, and organized home after your long day. They also offer seasonal products to give your home that holiday look and appeal. They feature a full product catalog with a multitude of stylish products that will give your home the makeover that you desire.

Willow House offers their products through a large network of Design Consultants, representing the multi-level marketing (MLM) business opportunity that they are becoming well-known for. Design Consultants are given the ability to set their own schedule, build their business on a part-time or full-time basis, and ultimately decide for themselves how much money they desire to bring home.

The cost to become a Design Consultant will be a cost of $199. For this price, you will receive 18 products with a retail value of more than $550. Willow House will buy your first tank of gas each month, giving you savings of $50.

When I conduct my research for my company reviews, I strive to provide as much information as possible pertaining to a company’s compensation plan. Willow House, however, does not offer this information to the public. You will need to contact a Design Consultant directly to learn more about how their compensation plan will benefit you.

Willow House is a multi-level marketing business that utilizes traditional methods involved in network marketing. Meaning, you will be encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbors, and close associates to build your business. Your mission will be to contact your warm market to encourage them to host a party of their own, and invite their family and friends to attend.

Hostesses are incentivized to open their home for these parties, as they will receive free products and deep discounts that are based upon the amount of sales that you achieve in their home. At this party, you as the Design Consultant will showcase the products, and accept orders. You will schedule your next home party with any willing future hostesses, and recruit new Consultants to join your business. The training that you will receive from Willow House will be limited to these practices.

In my opinion, Willow House is a legitimate company that offers a wide selection of products in a fun party atmosphere. However, when making your business decision, it will be important to take into consideration the challenges of encouraging your loved ones to host parties, purchase products, and join your Willow House business.

For someone who has the expertise to market this business outside of their small network of family and friends, they can do really well. With that being said, Willow House is a solid opportunity to partner with if you have a strong desire to build this business, and have a passion for the products that they offer their customers.

As always, I wish you the best of luck in your search for a home based business for you and your family.

Want To Downsize Your Home? Invest In A DIY Flat Pack House

Have all your kids gone away to college? Are you sick of hearing about the global housing crisis? You may be looking to downsize your home to save costs if the answer is yes to those questions. One of the cheapest and fastest ways to go about it is by building your own home. Do It Yourself Flat Pack homes are good options because: 1) you can build them quickly 2) there are many models out there that are high quality and energy efficient, and 3) you can build them in a fraction of the time you would build a traditional home.

As a matter of fact, if you live in the UK, there’s an engineer living there that is designing a home where the biggest part of it can assembled in about four hours. According to Dr. Mike Page, the engineer who designed it, it is as easy to put together as an IKEA bookcase. There isn’t even as much assembly as you’d see in a regular flat pack kit because when customers order these prefabricated home kits, they get the finished product. All that will need to be done will be to add the flat pack furniture, dust your hands off, and you’re done. Voila! Livable Home!

The QB2 Cube House

You can buy the flat pack house between the ranges of £10,500 to £47,000. The QB2 cube house, as it is called, is about 10 ft. tall and 13 ft. wide and allows two people to sleep in comfort. Also importantly, the building doesn’t require any action by the planning commission because it’s only 10 ft. tall. You can see how the designing genius of Dr. Page comes into play when you look at the space saving measures that are incorporated in the building that makes it much roomier than homes of the same size.

Amazingly, the QB2 cube is able to provide a fully functional and comfortable floor plan in its compact design. This is accomplished by combining features in the home such as using a sturdy bookcase as a foundation for a mini-spiral set of stairs. If you bought the QB2, the following components would fit in your home:

  • A bedroom with a large double bed.
  • A large galley bathroom with sink, toilet and full-sized shower.
  • A dining room table that converts into a sofa that.
  • A large and perfectly functional stove and refrigerator.
  • Appliances to include a TV and washing machine.
  • A Mechanical heat recovery HVAC system and low energy lights.

Design Options For The QB2

The shell of the QB2 can be erected in about four hours, but it takes a little longer to add other parts of the home such as the kitchen. There is an option to build the cube home yourself for about £9,495, or let Bolton Buildings build it for you for £10,305.00. This basic model includes ceiling and floor joists, foundation and wall studs.

An additional option costs about £27,208 and will provide insulated walls, roof covering and floors and ceilings. It also has walls with birch lining within them.

Home Decorating Tips For Your DIY

You will need to approach home decorating for this small home a little differently than a regular-sized home because if you don’t, things can look crammed. For instance, some smart use of space would be to delineate rooms by hanging a nice set of curtains on electrical piping curtain rods for an inexpensive and appealing touch to your small home.

Homebuyers looking to downsize their home would do well to check their local companies that provide small DIY flat pack homes like the QB2 cube home. Once the home is assembled, and you begin living in it, you will be amazed at how they take advantage of engineered designs to provide a trendy and modern home that is an enjoyment to live in.

Everything You Need To Know About Home Equity Loans

We all know what loans are and how banks function with respect to granting a loan. A home equity loan is different, as your house is mortgaged to the bank. This loan is basically a kind of loan which allows you to borrow money using your house as collateral. It is a lump amount that you pay off within a certain time period, including fixed interest rates and monthly payments. This loan is a type of second mortgage, your first mortgage being the one you use to acquire your house. Let’s take a look at the benefits of these loans and the risks involved.

Benefits of Home Equity Loans

1. They ideally have a low interest rate or APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

2. They are easier to qualify for, in case you are financially unstable

3. Interest rates on home equity loans could be tax-deductible

4. They allow you to borrow a comparatively large amount of money

You can avail these benefits on these loans as they are ‘safe’ loans for banks to grant their customers, considering the loan is secured by your house as collateral. In case you fail to repay the amount, the bank can lay a claim on your house, sell it, and recover the money.

Home Equity Loan Uses

You can use this loan for various purposes. It would be ideal to use it for a purpose with larger benefits as you have used your house as collateral. Common home equity loan uses include:

1. Renovate or remodel your existing house

2. Accumulate fund to invest in another house or land

3. Pay for high school/university/other educational purposes

4. Combine high-interest debts

How To Find The Best Home Equity Loan Options

It is always suggested that you look around before you fix on any particular home equity loan option. What you can do is:

1. Check up with regard to such loans with banks, brokers, credit unions

2. Make sure your financial records and bank statements are up to date (also, make sure they indicate you are financially stable)

3. Compare the pros and cons of home equity loans from various sources

The Risks Involved

The most obvious risk in relation to these loans would be the possibility of you losing your house, in case of which you fail to pay the amount to the bank. Also, there are quite a number of scams by which house owners are tricked out of their property or robbed of money. To avoid either of the two, you should do a thorough background check on the bank you are dealing with and make sure everything is legit.

Benefits of Home Additions to Modify Living Space

It’s not unusual for a family to outgrow a living space. You may think that moving is your only option, but home additions can also resolve space issues. Explore the benefits of this solution to ensure that your family has enough room in your current house.

Adding Value

It’s typical for home additions to increase your house’s overall value. To ensure that the remodeling work you undertake has a positive impact on your house value, contact a real estate professional for assistance with the details of the renovation. With a professional’s input, you can make design and renovation decisions that will raise the overall value.

Spending Less for More

The expense of finding a larger house and moving can be significant. In the long run, it’s likely that expanding your existing living space will cost less than it would to move to a new house. In many cases, you can increase your overall quality of living with a renovation project for less money than you would spend to find a larger residence.

Designing the Space Yourself

You probably know exactly what you need and want in your improvement project. While you could search to find this in a new house, renovating your existing space can enable you to design the space you want to make it fit your needs exactly. Go ahead and add the storage or the skylights you have been craving. Home additions give you creative freedom to design exactly the room or rooms you want for your house.

Adding Luxury

Perhaps you’re looking to increase the luxury space in your surroundings. A renovation project can be the perfect way to make this happen. Remodel the space to create a luxury bathroom with all the expensive amenities that you’ve been dreaming about, such as whirlpool baths and designer features. A walk-in closet and his-and-her dressing rooms might be just the luxury that you’d like to add to your master bedroom. Perhaps a theater for the family is what everyone has been yearning to have. Renovating to add luxury can be an exciting project.

Avoiding the Hassle of Moving

The actual process of packing, moving, and unpacking appeals to few people. To avoid this upheaval and expense, choose to renovate instead. While you may have a short period with contractors in and around your home, the overall hassle of remodeling pales in comparison to moving your entire family to a new residence.

New Uses

If you have new needs in your family, home additions can appease them. Moving relatives into your residence could require additional living areas. Working from home might make a home office necessary. You might even consider adding to your living area and then renting it out for additional income.

Whatever your motivations or needs, home additions can be an effective way to make big changes in your residence. Once you consider and realize the benefits, you may decide that this course of action makes more sense than uprooting your family to find a different house.

Checklist to Judge the Right Condition of a House Using Home Inspection

If as a house purchaser you want to get assured that price quoted is right & defects do not surface after the house is purchased leading to extra expenditure then a home inspection is necessary. Additionally, it opens up an opportunity for you as well as your property agent to bargain with the seller on reducing the price in case there are defects in the house.

What is Buyer’s Role?

The main thing for you as a buyer to do at the time of the home inspection is to get all the information about the house so that you are aware of the problems which exist. You should not hesitate to ask questions even if they sound very simple or insignificant.

Home Inspection – What it consists of?

The main aim of a home inspection is to find our problems that are present in the house. Problems can exist in:

  1. Roof, where there could be asphalt shingles which are deteriorating, the ridges may be sagging, slits which are wider than normal, roof vents which are quite visible and roof deck in de-laminated condition.
  2. Chimneys, with missing mortar, masonry caps which have been cracked or chimneys which are leaning.
  3. Gutter/Downspouts, where slope of gutter is not directed to downspouts and downspouts that are far away from the foundation.
  4. Wall coverings, with flaking bricks, sidings which are rotting, exterior walls which have started leaning and missing mortar.
  5. Foundation, where masonry is damaged and soft mortar has started appearing.
  6. Basement & walls/floors, with water pipes which are corroded, walls with loose plaster, basement having water penetration and drywall seams.
  7. Electrical fittings, where heating/cooling system is very old and electrical outlets are ungrounded.

Other Problems

Some of the other problems which are traced during inspection consist of things like checking whether electrical wiring has been done as per government regulations, condition of power connections, fire safety norms have been followed or not, if radon test has been done, whether wooden beams have been damaged due to termite problem, is there a mold problem and several similar conditions.

Conclusion

Thus as we can see the main goal of any home inspection is to figure out if the house you are going to purchase is in good condition or not so that you do not have to face problems after purchasing it. The seller may not always tell you about the problems house has or he may not be aware of it and a home inspector will be the right person to judge the condition house is in.

Professional House Painters Can Add Value to Your Home

A bad paint job on a beautiful home can actually decrease the value of your home. But, when the same paint is applied by professional house painters, your home can take on a whole new persona – and increase it tenfold in value.

Professional painters will spend the time needed to prepare your home – either inside or out – before the paint is applied, and many house painting companies offer added services such as carpentry, caulking, drywall repair and staining.

If decorating isn’t your forte’ and you’re not sure which colors to choose for your home, many professional painting companies offer design consulting. This one service can save you tons of money and time. It ensures that you don’t have to repeat the job because you can’t stand the color of paint you chose.

Adding value to your home means that you must have high quality paint and that it must be applied by painters who offer high quality services. If you’re on a restricted budget, most painting contractors will work closely with you to give you the quality you desire at a price you can afford.

So, don’t let finances hold you back from acquiring professional painters to paint your home. It’s better to go slowly and have the job done properly rather than quickly slap a coat of paint on and have it peel and deteriorate later.

Before you choose a company to paint your home, find out all you can about them. An online search can reveal many companies near your home and most times you can see at a glance what types of services they offer.

The next step will be the interview process. Any good paint contractor should be able and ready to answer all your questions and to also provide references. You should have your questions ready and they should include:

• Does the house painting company offer a free estimate?

• What types of services do they offer (for example, patching holes, power washing and carpentry work)?

• What type of paint do they use? If you live in an area of extreme weather conditions, this is especially important.

• Do they remove all trim and exterior items such as gutters before painting?

• How soon can they begin the job and when would they finish?

You get the idea. Write down a list of questions and make sure you get answers before choosing a company to paint your home.

Painting your home is always a good investment and will definitely increase the value of your home if done right. Always choose professional house painters to ensure that you get the ones who will give you the most value for your home and money.