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Serving South Florida

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For over 30 years

What Buyers Should Check When Buying an Older Home

What We Need From A Home During COVID-19 Pandemic

Home Buying and COVID-19
Home Buying and COVID-19
It is safe to assume that COVID-19 or other lethal viruses are going to be a part of our lives for years to come. Homes, businesses, schools, travel entertainment and more will all have to adapt for keep people safe and productive. The one area that we all can control is where we live. Our homes are increasingly becoming our refuge, work place, school, and sources of entertainment. Our needs have changed as well as the stresses in our lives and our homes should be an area that provides us with restorative releases from the stresses that living with a pandemic produces.
Our needs are tied to our emotions, which are themselves influenced by our surroundings. The pandemic we’re living through has intensified certain emotions and shaken up our priorities. Emotional needs are translating into new demands on our interiors and how good design can help address the new challenges.
Multipurpose Rooms:
Home isn’t just home anymore. With the pandemic and lock down, it has become an office, a school, a gym, a play area, a restaurant, a dormitory and a place to retreat and relax. Hybrid designs, detachable units and convertible pieces are the keys to creating a home suited to the “new normal.”
Rooms that can be closed off for offices, playrooms, and individual spaces are helping homeowners better manage playtime for the kids, conference calls for work, and peaceful alone time
Sanitation and Disinfection:
Before COVID-19 there was already a growing awareness of the importance of healthy air, but today it has really become a priority as we spend more and more time at home. Homeowners are looking for all possible means to improve indoor air quality: furniture that doesn’t emit VOCs or other pollutants, sensors that monitor air quality and air-purifying treatments.
 In order to keep homes safe and clean, entryways will become clearly defined transitional spaces where one can remove their shoes, hang their jackets and sanitize their hands before entering.
There is a new emphasis on contact-less ways of stopping germs from multiplying on certain surfaces or limiting their proliferation in the home. This includes solutions for disinfecting clothing, such as with disinfecting wardrobes; antimicrobial products and fabrics for children and bedding; soaps that change color when you’ve washed your hands long enough; and self-disinfecting features such as door handles.
There are few materials that we can use that are more sterile than others, and will be used even more in the future of design.
  • Metals such as copper, brasses, and bronzes are natural antimicrobial materials that have intrinsic properties to destroy a wide range of microorganisms. Not only are these metals hygienic, but they are great accents to warm up your home.
  • Quartz is one of the hardest non-precious stones on earth, therefore countertops made from quartz are hard, stain and scratch-resistant, and the most sanitary. Quartz is already popular, and that will only increase post COVID-19.
  • Woods like bamboo, oak and cork stop bacteria and microorganisms from growing. We love the look of warm lighter oak woods for flooring, and think this will continue to be a big trend in home design.
Restful Environments and Wellness:
Our homes have also become our refuges, a place to rest and recharge our batteries.Responding to this need are products that ensure high-quality sleep, helping us process our daily emotions and protecting our immune systems, such as sleep and breathing monitors and sound insulation. It also means keeping bedrooms areas for rest and finding other areas in the home for work and school.
Going to gyms and fitness class outside the home are no longer safe options. This search for well-being also includes physical activity at home, with a focus on equipment and furniture resilient enough to withstand daily use, including stain-resistant, waterproof, warming and anti-odor products that can be used for exercise.
Closed off Spaces:
Now that people are having to live, work and play all in the same confined space the need for sound proofing and privacy has grown. There are a large percentage of people who may never return to a full time office environment and home offices are a mandate now instead of an afterthought. There will be a rising need for functional private offices to be an integral part of the home.
the benefits of making your office space aesthetically appealing —something that often comes second to function. “Whatever your home office space is, make it beautiful. Face something beautiful,” she said. “I like to face into the room, or you could look out of a window. Have a comfortable desk chair — spend money on that; it’s where you sit every day.”
Outdoor Space:
Since the onset of the pandemic, our appreciation of the outdoors and nature seems to have greatly increased. The act of simply going for a walk or sitting in a park has been a monumental source of reprieve. However, in the midst of a lock-down scenario, these activities don’t guarantee safety and aren’t universally accessible.
As a result, the demand for home designers to provide private outdoor spaces for every type of home looks set to increase. It will be up to architects to work out how to integrate the outdoors into even the most compact of homes, experimenting with roof gardens, micro backyards, porches and balconies. People may also seek a closer connection between their living spaces and the natural world, with folding glass doors merging these two zones together.
Tech Infrastructure:
Designers anticipate not only an increased need for smart home technology, but also a need for that technology to be touch-less, in order to reduce the spread of microbes.
“Automation will no longer be an indulgence but will help keep people safe,” MacEwen says. “As the memory of the pandemic fades, I do think the ‘best practice’ for hygiene will remain and change the way we interact in the world and what we expect from our home.”
In the end, whatever becomes of the changes to home design as a result of COVID remains to be seen. The question for housing is how might we create spaces that adapt flexibly for how people want to live, and where they can see and touch hygiene in new ways and feel safe as a result.

Tips for Buying a Fixer-Upper

Fixer-uppers have long had their fans. Some investors love the idea of making major repairs that increase a home’s value and then reselling the property for profit. Others want a low-priced starter home and don’t mind making gradual improvements over time.
Buyers must do their due diligence so that they understand their total investment in the property and the cash requirements; since most repairs cannot be financed. An Exclusive Buyer Agent’s goal is to help buyers avoid making expensive mistakes.
While repair issues, un-permitted work, or liens might not derail a sale on its own, they warrant a call to an expert who can assess the problem, offer solutions or give repair estimates.
Warning Signs Before Purchasing a Fixer-Upper:
  1. Consider the amount of time and the amount of cash you have to address obvious deficiencies with the property.
  2. Does the property smell damp? From mold to warping, moisture can cause considerable damage to homes, even making them uninhabitable. The first clue is that moisture smells. Besides damage to the house, moisture can adversely affect a homeowner or tenant’s health.
  3. Stuck windows and doors. These can also be a sign of moisture or that a house is settling due to age or structural shifting. Both are problematic.
  4. Sloping or sagging floors. Both indicate structural problems beyond just aging. Buyers should find out if framing, joists or sub-flooring need replacement.
  5. Foundation problems. One small crack can be just the beginning of many cracks and can signal that a house could eventually crumble.
  6. Inward grading, poor drainage and short downspouts. Improperly installed or clogged gutters and downspouts all may cause water to enter a house.
  7. Bad roof. An old roof may leak but it’s not always the shingles or tiles that are the culprit. Sometimes, it’s what’s underneath – sheathing, trusses, beams and rafters. The sellers should disclose when the roof was installed.
  8. Outdated wiring and fuses. Because homeowners rely on so much technology today, outdated wiring may, in worst cases, start a fire. Often, dated electric boxes make the home un-insurable.
  9. Outdated plumbing. Toilets that don’t flush properly, sinks and showers that lack adequate pressure or have leaks, and water heaters that don’t provide enough hot water signal a need for attention. Not to mention the condition of the pipes from the home to the street.
  10. Termite damage and wood rot. Buyers may spot blisters in wood flooring, hollow sections of wood, and even the bugs themselves. An exterminator can determine the extent of the damage and estimate repair costs.
  11. High energy bills. This should alert buyers to the cost of cooling the home. Due diligence can tell them whether their Ac handlers, insulation, or doors and windows are inefficient and need to be sealed, repaired or replaced.
  12. Historic home designation and zoning rules. Municipal guidelines may restrict buyers from making certain improvements to their home and property.

What Buyers Should Check When Buying an Older Home

Older homes often come with plenty of character and history and possibly even a lower price – but buying a home that has been around for a while can also mean that you will have to address age-related problems. These include:
·      Electrical issues
Older homes could have dated wiring and electrical panels that may not be able to keep up with today’s needs, so be sure to check that that the house is up to code. Also, insulation on old wiring can pose a safety hazard, Un-renovated homes may have know and tube wiring, ROMAX or other wiring that can degrade and be a source of a fie. The lack of GFI outlets also indicated that the system is not grounded.
·      Roofing
In general, roofs often need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Learn the last time the roof was replaced and how it was done. Some homeowners may just add new shingles on top of the old roof, which is not viewed by housing experts as the best way to replace an entire roof. Also, check for loose shingles, leaks, and the type of materials used on the roof. “A composite shingle roof will cost less to replace than a clay tile or metal roof,” “The pitch of the roof can also drive up costs – a roof that is particularly steep may be challenging to replace and repair.”
Energy prices were much lower years ago so little thought was given to insulation. You will more than likely want to improve the amount of quality of insulation in the home.
·      Foundations
Older homes could have foundations that are cracked, sunken, uneven or otherwise in need of repair. A structural engineer can closely inspect a foundation and alert buyers to potentially costly problems.
·      Lead paint
Older homes may have lead paint, which can lead to serious health problems. It was banned in the U.S. in 1978, but homes built before then may still have it. In fact, about 87 percent of homes built before 1940 contain lead-based paint that needs to be professionally removed.
·      Plumbing
The majority of the problems with plumbing originates with the pipes. Galvanized pipes, clay or cast iron sewer lines, polybutylene piping, pipe bellies, and drains. I strongly recommend that you have the sewer system scoped with a camera as part of your home inspection process.
·      Asbestos
Asbestos was commonly used in building materials. Many products are still in place today contain asbestos,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, according to the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services. If the house was built prior to the 1980s, it was likely built with some asbestos-containing materials. Some include:
•   Cement roofing and siding shingles
•   House Insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
•   Textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints
•   Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces
•   Older products such as stove-top pads
•   Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
•   Some vinyl floor tiles, and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
•   Hot water and steam pipes in older houses with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
•   Asbestos insulation for oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
•   Boilers
•   Soundproofing or decorative material
The presence of asbestos-containing materials in a home is not hazardous unless the material becomes damaged. Damaged, deteriorating, or friable asbestos that becomes dry and crumbles into a powder may release asbestos fibers into the air that can be inhaled and can pose a health risk for the residents. Professional testing is recommended to determine whether materials in your home contain asbestos.
A certified Exclusive Buyers Agent will have the resources to ensure complete and thorough inspections before you commit to buying an older home.