Why Is A Building Permit Necessary?

Why Is A Building Permit Necessary?

Weichert Realtors

Top Reasons to Abide By this Law

If you are planning on completing any type of construction or modification on your home, there’s a good chance you need a building permit.

While avoiding this process might seem easier at first, in the long run it might lead to many other serious problems.

When selling your home, you may need to disclose any previous additions or repairs to potential buyers. If you skipped the permitting process, the buyer may ask for a reduction in the sale price or have you get the work permitted and inspected before the final transaction.

  1. If the reason you are not getting a permit is to save money, the fine of three to 10 times the cost of the permit would negate any money you saved in the end.
  2. Along with being required by most municipalities, by going through inspections and the permitting process, you also help protect yourself and your family against structural failures, fire hazards, and electric shock.
  3. It can cause more work for you. You may need to undo and redo the work so the city knows it was completed properly.
  4. You will run into insurance problems. If one day you have a problem and decide to call the insurance company, they will deny the claim if the problem occurred in an illegally constructed area.

Have you received the proper building permit for your next project? If you are thinking of skipping this important process, remember to think of the consequences.

 

  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.com
  • If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

 

Homeowner Tips: Adding an Outdoor Deck

Homeowner Tips: Adding an Outdoor Deck

Weichert Realtors

Regardless of market conditions, a nice outdoor deck is a feature any homebuyer can appreciate.

According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), the size of the average deck on an upscale home has doubled to about 700 square feet in the past 10 years. Most decks (90 percent) are added as a remodeling project, particularly by families with young children. Parents like the idea that children can be outdoors, yet contained in a safe place.

The JCHS survey also determined that the cost of the average deck project was approximately $10,347. Although a large investment, the improvement tends to pay off well at resale. According to the Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine, a wood deck addition yielded an 85.4 percent return when the home was sold, one of the highest cost recovery rates. Aside from serving as an inviting haven for relaxation and entertainment, decks can improve the aesthetic appearance of the home and increase its potential resale value.

 

  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.com
  • If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

 

Tax Advantages of Homeownership

Tax Advantages of Homeownership

Weichert Realtors

Homeownership invokes more than a sense of pride and freedom.

It is also a long-term investment opportunity. It’s never a bad time to speak to your tax advisor about the tax advantages associated with homeownership. Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduce your taxable income: On your itemized income tax return, you may be able to deduct mortgage interest payments, property taxes and points paid to lower your loan’s interest rate.
  • Take advantage of special tax breaks: You might receive a tax credit or be able to take a tax deduction for certain home improvement projects if they are for medical reasons or if they fall into one of the many energy savings home improvement categories.
  • Lower tax on capital gains when you sell: When you sell your home, you will not have to pay federal income tax on capital gains of up to $500,000 for a married couple and $250,000 if you are single. This applies to the sale of a principal residence owned and occupied for at least two of the last five years.
  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.com
  • If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

Tips for Buying a Second Home

Tips for Buying a Second Home

Weichert Realtors

According to Forbes magazine, second-home buyers can find some great deals in today’s economy.

Interest rates are low, prices are affordable and there are plenty of available homes to choose from. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), many consumers are taking advantage of the current buyer’s market. Second homes are accounting for more and more of the total home sales every year.

The most commonly cited reason for purchasing a second home was to use the home for vacation or as a family retreat. The following tips from Forbes can maximize your second-home investment:

  • Consider the surroundings: Bike trails and hiking paths are a big draw for second-home buyers.
  • Look at the taxes: Income tax policies differ from state to state.
  • Take distance into account: Second-homes that are within an easy drive can save money spent on gas.
  • Look near resorts: Locales that are close to a popular resort area can have similar amenities at a lower price than homes considered part of the resort.
  • Think local: Parts of the country that are regional rather than national vacation spots can prove to be a bargain.
  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.com
  • If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

What Should I Do Before Making An Offer?

What Should I Do Before Making An Offer?

Bill Spadea
Bill Spadea

Here are some steps to consider before making an offer on a home.

So you found the perfect house. It’s closer to the center of town than you thought you would get. Great schools; green lawn … and that backyard! You don’t want to lose it, you know that it’s perfect for you and your family and you want to move in now!

First thing to do? Take a breath and understand that as emotional as you might be about a new house, it’s still a financial transaction. That means you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the down payment, monthly payments and closing costs well before you make an offer to purchase. As a prospective buyer who just fell in love with something that will likely be the most expensive thing you ever buy, you’re potentially at a disadvantage. When you’re buying a car, it’s easier to walk away because the products are for the most part interchangeable – gets you from point A to point B … at least in my opinion! Buying an appliance … piece of cake, you can always find a better deal, plenty of big box stores to choose from. But your next home; well that’s another story altogether. The place where you’ll flop on the couch after a hard day? The place you’ll start your life with your spouse, maybe raise kids … have a dog … certainly among the most important decisions you’ll be making.

It’s critical to start off on the right foot. Falling in love with a home and preparing for the financial commitment of home ownership are two different things. Since making an offer is a major pro-active step that changes your relationship with the seller, let’s start with some simple ground rules. Remember, this is not a financial worksheet, but a brief discussion of how you should be mentally prepared before you send that offer over to the seller. Here are five simple rules that may help you maximize your success buying a home:

  1. Be mentally prepared to walk away. The stronger you are as a buyer in any negotiation the better deal you’ll likely get. Many buyers approach the offer with a bit of desperation because they don’t want to lose the house. Sometimes it’s like being between a rock and a hard place … can’t afford to offer too high and out of your comfort zone and can’t go too low and risk losing the house. So when you decide on the best offer after consulting with your real estate professional, be ready for rejection and be prepared to tough it out and walk away if necessary.
  2. Offer slightly less than what you can afford. This will enable you to counter a rejection from the seller of your first offer. As long as you stick to what you can afford financially and give yourself some room to move your offer up to counter the seller counter, you’ll be in good shape.
  3. Offer what you believe is a reasonable amount for what you’d be getting. Too often prospective buyers think about the dream deal, getting exactly what you want and paying less than you ever imagined. The operative word is imagine – throwing out a low, low number that seems unreasonable to you will potentially insult the seller, and more importantly get them aggressively looking for other offers. You have to make a realistic offer. Your real estate professional knows the market best. At Weichert you’ll have a professional working with you who knows the local market and be able to help guide you through the offer process. There’s a balance between what you can afford, what you want to get and what’s reasonable given the market and neighborhood.
  4. Be knowledgeable about the neighborhood. This is one of the most important reasons to hire a professional. Even a brand new agent will have the institutional knowledge of the local office and be ready, willing and able to assist you. Knowing what similar homes were listed at and then what they sold for is critical to making a sensible offer. Don’t rely on estimates from real estate websites. You need to know the real numbers to get an idea of what makes sense in an area. Are homes selling for asking price? Are there multiple offers? If you’ve got a situation where there’s a high demand for a particular house and area, you’re offer may have to reflect that.
  5. Identify some things that are wrong with the house … things you may have to fix yourself. Many prospective home buyers have a laundry list of fixes that they expect the seller to make before closing. In addition they want the seller to accept a lower offer. Best strategy is to focus on offering a reasonable amount that you can comfortably afford and seal the deal by highlighting the things you’ll have to spend money on after you move. Why let the seller fix the crack in the driveway and charge you with a higher selling price? Think about those things as “Negotiation Helpers” in order to get acceptance of your first offer. Can you live with the crack in the driveway floor? Maybe you can remove the unsightly bush blocking the view of the window boxes. Remember, either way, you’ll be spending money when you first move in so make sure you go into the offer with that knowledge. The term ‘House Poor’ comes from folks that offer the max, get the house and can’t afford to furnish the rooms.

To sum up, be prepared to walk away; offer less than your max; be reasonable; have local knowledge and take advantage of “negotiation helpers.” And most of all hire a professional and make sure that your attitude reflects the logic and strength needed to negotiate. Watch out for the desperation that could follow your falling in love with the house. You still gotta pay for it!

Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.com

If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

Elvira Jakovac 

Realtor. 

RSPS specialist

(571)405-8058

ElviraJakovac.com

Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

Weichert Realtors

Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) celebrates Fire Prevention Week.

The campaign focuses on keeping you, your family and your community safer from fire. According to the latest statistics, U.S. fire departments responded to 362,500 home fires in 2009, and these fires killed 2,565 people and injured 12,650. The good news is that escape planning, smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers can significantly reduce the risk to children and families.

There are a number of fire safety and prevention tips that can help protect your home and family from fires:

  • Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it. According to the NFPA, less than one-fourth of Americans have both developed and practiced a fire escape plan. A home fire can become life threatening more quickly than most people think, so knowing what to do if there is a fire will help everyone make it to safety in less time.
  • Make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of your home, installed high on a wall or on a ceiling. Most importantly, make sure the batteries are working. In more than half of the reported home fires in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, batteries were missing or disconnected.
  • Consider installing a home fire sprinkler, which can contain and even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene. Because they react so quickly in a fire, sprinklers are highly effective in reducing the risk of death or injury from a fire by dramatically reducing heat, flames and smoke, and allowing people time to evacuate the home.
  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.comAlso If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

Finishing a Basement

Finishing a Basement

Weichert Realtors

Sometimes a critical selling point for a property is in its basement. The benefits of having a finished basement are substantial. Homeowners can relish in the extra space for themselves and their families. By using the area as an extra bedroom, living or recreational space, a finished basement is such an attractive asset in adding significant value to a home.

It is always advantageous for homeowners to be able to increase their property’s worth but not all basements are created equal. If you are thinking of investing your time and money into a basement remodel, there are a number of important factors to consider.
The International Residential Code (IRC) has set out requirements that must be considered before taking any action. Floor-to-ceiling height has to be at least 7 feet (6 feet for the bathrooms), handrails must be included on the staircases and along with the windows and doors, everything has to meet proper measurements and dimensions.  The IRC has laid out these important prerequisites as to plan ahead for when people need to get in or out in case of an emergency situation. A contractor can also be hired to assist in heating, cooling and controlling moisture as to comply with the code. Waterproofing walls, adding vents or drains, and installing a sump pump can all be done to keep the foundation strong.

A homeowner has to consider the cost of a finished basement but also the cost to conform to the standards set by the International Residential Code. Meeting the building codes are crucial and if the requirements are not met, added expenses can be tacked on if you need to raise the ceiling, lower the floor, rebuild staircases, etc. A homeowner must take the cost of investment into account before taking any action. But with all things considered, a basement is an essential part to any property and finishing it stands as a worthwhile investment.

 

  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.comAlso If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

 

Most Valuable Home Improvements

Most Valuable Home Improvements

Weichert Realtors

A buyer’s first impression of a property is imperative to the sale.

Upgrading the outside of a home can make all the difference in the final selling price. The consensus among real estate professionals across the country is that homeowners have the largest return on investment with the exterior improvement of their home. Projects such as wood deck additions and siding, door, and window replacements make the top ten in Remodeling magazine’s 2014 “Cost vs. Value Report.” According to the report, interviews with Realtors conclude that the top project is a steel entry door replacement. The project recoups 96.6 percent back on resale and along with the rest of the top 10, incredibly cost-effective. Two interior home projects also made Remodeling’s top ten list. By adding a bedroom in the attic or a minor kitchen remodel, homeowners can expect to recover a large percentage upon resale.

Overall, a remodel done well can yield a solid return on investment and increase a property’s value significantly and improving the estate can lead to quick sales. Negotiations also tilt in a seller’s favor if renovations have exceptional curb-appeal and strike a good first impression with any potential buyer.  Contact your local realtor for more information.

 

  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.comAlso If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

 

Home Warranty

HMS Home Protection Plan

The HMS Home Protection Plan provides repair or replacement coverage for mechanical failures of major systems and appliances. Whether the dishwasher suddenly stops washing or the A/C stops cooling, you’ll appreciate the savings, convenience and peace of mind.

Plan to Be Protected
You’ve thought about blinds versus drapes; you’ve planned where the sofa will go; but have you thought about your appliances and systems failing? Responsible homeowners often choose to have a home protection plan, because homeowners insurance does not cover failures of appliances and systems.
Plan for Savings
Typically, you’ll pay one low deductible for covered components that need repair or replacement, saving you thousands of dollars.
Plan for Convenience
Call 866-439-7768, twenty-four/seven, and we’ll match you with a pre-screened licensed professional, so you won’t need to waste time searching through the Yellow Pages and hoping for the best.
Plan for Peace of Mind
The HMS Home Protection Plan provides assurance that you won’t have to worry when an appliance or system breaks down, and that you will be provided with a repair professional you can trust.
Plan to Take Advantage
The HMS Claim-No-Claim Home Protection Plan pays up to $100 towards a HVAC maintenance visit if nothing breaks.*
The Confidence You Need to Buy and Sell
Sellers, you have the ability to…
  • Leverage your Home Protection Plan to make your home stand out from other listings. Eight out of ten buyers prefer to buy a warranted home. (Source: Gallop Poll)
  • Attract more first-time home buyers. Provide peace of mind for buyers who might be intimidated by having to repair systems or appliances.
  • Avoid closing delays and save money. Seller coverage not only protects you against costly repairs, it also can minimize the chance that a failure could delay closing.
Buyers, you have the right to…
  • Save money. Pay a standard deductible per service call, per trade, on covered components.**
  • Get more coverage. Optional coverages are available for additional protection.
  • Never get locked out. You are covered for up to $50 per year for locksmith services.
  • Save with the Appliance Buyline®. Even if items in your home are running great, you may decide to remodel or upgrade. You can take advantage of this buying power and get up to 30% off brand name appliances.
*See Preventative Maintenance Benefit Section of the home protection plan
**See terms, conditions and limitations in your home protection plan
***Optional coverage requires an additional fee
The home protection plan you can count on
  • Industry-leading 180-day workmanship guarantee
  • 24/7 customer care
  • Covers appliances of any age
  • No home square footage restrictions
  • 13 SEER/R-410A operational compatibility
  • Locksmith reimbursement
  • Appliance discount program
We’ve got you covered
  • Unknown pre-existing conditions
  • Failures due to lack of maintenance
  • Sediment (water heater)
  • Jetted bathtub
  • Premier upgrade option***
HMS Home Protection Plan
For more information, or to order, click here or call 866-439-7768
  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.comAlso If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira JakovacFirst in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA

Valuable information for buyers and sellers

 Valuable information for buyers and sellers.

 

This weekend marks the start of Daylight Saving Time when we “spring forward” and set our clocks ahead. The result is a later sunset and more time to enjoy the daylight hours during the warmer months of the year. While many of the clocks we rely on – our phones, computers and cable boxes – will adjust automatically, don’t forget to change any analog clocks one hour ahead before going to sleep Saturday night.

In addition, Daylight Saving Time should serve as a twice-yearly reminder to complete some important household tasks. The one we all have probably heard before is ensuring your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and have fresh batteries.

It’s also a good idea to use Daylight Saving as a reminder to do these other things:

  • Flip your mattress to make sure it wears evenly, and wash your pillows to rid them of oils from your face, dead skin and dust mites that accumulate over time.
  • In the kitchen, run your oven’s self-cleaning function and clean your refrigerator’s coils to keep it running efficiently.
  • Take stock of your medicine cabinet and pantry, throwing out anything that is expired. Replenish basic supplies and make sure your emergency kit is stocked with flashlight batteries and first-aid supplies.
  • Inspect the filters in your heating and air-conditioning units, the water filter in your fridge and the HEPA filter in your vacuum. While you’re at it, vacuum out your dryer’s vent and ducts to help prevent fire.
  • daylight-saving-spring-forward
  • Buying or Renting  ? Call Me at 571-405-8058 or email at ejakovac@gmail.comAlso If you are planning to place your home on the market, call me  for no obligation consultation  at 571.405.8058 / Elvira Jakovac

    First in Customer Service…

    Elvira Jakovac 

    Realtor. 

    RSPS specialist

    (571)405-8058

    ElviraJakovac.com

    Weichert Realtors / Old Town Alexandria VA