How Can You Buy That Diamond in the Rough Property and Make it Your Palace?

One of the best parts about New England are all the quaint and historic properties that pepper its small towns and cities alike. As you drive along any New England highway or dirt covered back road you are bound to see several beautiful cape cod style houses, old Victorians, or classic salt boxes. Who hasn’t wondered what it might be like to live in one of these gems? To imagine the wonderful mysteries that lie behind their doors. The only thing that might keep some of us from achieving this dream is that often these unique, architectural gems are in ill repair or outdated. This can make the dream of owning one of these properties a bit daunting. Perhaps, it is difficult to imagine how you can finance necessary renovations and the cost of the property without multiple loans and a lot of headaches. Well, it is possible and there is an easy way to do this—it is a rehab or 203K loan.What is a Rehab Loan?A rehab loan or 203K loan is a unique loan product that can be taken out to cover both the purchase and renovations on a primary residential property. This makes a rehab loan the perfect way to purchase a fixer upper home, those diamonds in the rough in need of some TLC. Prior to the creation of 203K loans you would have to take out one loan to purchase a home and another to cover the renovations of the property. Often, banks were unwilling to give a loan for a property that needed repairs because they considered it too high risk. However, this changed with the 203K or rehab loan because they are FHA insured, which means that they are government insured, taking some of the risk out of the home loan/home buying experience and making banks more likely to provide these loans. The government insures these loans in an effort to help rehab neighborhoods that have fallen into disrepair and to help low- and middle-income buyers to be able to purchase a home. Taking out a rehab loan has helped many people who thought they would never be able to own their own home, not only own a house, but to create a dream home!What are the different types of Rehab Loans?There are two types of rehab or 203K loans; a conventional 203K and a streamlined 203K loan. You might be wondering what is the difference between these two types of loans? It sounds like the streamlined 203K might be quicker or easier? This is not necessarily the case. Both of these loans can take an equal amount of time to procure. The streamlined 203k can be less complicated and have less paperwork. However, it is a limited repair program, which means that it will cover smaller repairs like carpet, paint, a new furnace, or new appliances. It does not cover large scale repairs and has a limited maximum amount that can be borrowed. The conventional 203K loan on the other hand in a full repair program, it will cover full gutting of a house, large jobs like roof repair or replacement, cellar replacement or repair, among many other large-scale jobs. In addition to this conventional rehab loans can also provide housing costs to the home buyer for the duration of the renovations. A conventional rehab loan also requires that you work with a 203K consultant, which can make the process much smoother. Both of these loans require that you use licensed and vetted contractors and give a limited time (usually 6 months) to complete the work on your home. Which means you will be living in your dream palace in no time! What are the Pros and Cons of a Rehab Loan?

What should you do next? So, when you find that diamond in the rough, that little bungalow by lake with the crooked shutters and the peeling paint or the old Victorian mansion with beautiful bones that you just know can be your personal paradise, you now have a financing option that can make your dream home a reality! Go out and find that hidden gem and then consult a find a 203K consultant that can walk you through the process! Next week I will let you know just what is required to be a 203K consultant!

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Carbon Monoxide: Colorless, Odorless, Tasteless and Deadly. Why You Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector in Your Home

Many people have never heard of or considered having a carbon monoxide detector installed in their home.  I was one of these people until I was in the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent and having a carbon monoxide detector in each room in my house was required.   I didn’t understand why this was necessary at the time, but I knew that I wanted to make my house as safe as it could be for my future children. So, I hired a professional to install a detector in each bedroom and main living area in my home.  Although, I knew that I could install them myself, I wanted to make sure that it was done correctly.  You might ask why is this important or even what is carbon monoxide and how does it get into my home?

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Gas stove.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is highly flammable and toxic.  It is created when carbon is not fully combusted.  Carbon monoxide can be created in many items that exist in all of our homes.   Some of these common appliances are cars, kerosene heaters, gas stoves, gas furnaces, gas powered generators, wood stoves, fireplaces, and gas-powered space heaters.  

Why is it Dangerous?

First and foremost, carbon monoxide is dangerous because it is a poison and it can be omitted by things that we use and need daily.  Also, it is especially dangerous because it can be deadly in small doses due to its unique quality of attaching to the hemoglobin in our blood and taking over the receptors that usually carry oxygen throughout our bodies.  Thus, a person can suffocate from exposure to carbon monoxide in a very short amount of time (if exposed to high levels) or from very low levels (if exposed over a a long period of time).  This mean you may not even know that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide and it could be slowly killing you.  In addition, both babies and fetuses are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.  Another great reason to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home!

How Do You Know if You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

If you have any or a combination of these symptoms you may have carbon monoxide poisoning: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Dull headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion

You might wonder what you should do if you have any of these symptoms.   The first thing to do always is to call 911.  Also, if you are in a confined space, such as a house or garage, make sure to go outside.   Get into the fresh air as quickly as possible!  This will help to reduce the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and to start your body’s process of replacing the carbon monoxide that has attached to your blood with oxygen.

What Should You Do To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

  1. Maintenance/ Inspection-  Have your heating system, household appliances, water heaters, chimneys and fireplaces inspected yearly by a qualified professional technician.
  2. Cars/ Trucks- DON’T leave your car/truck/SUV running in your garage with the door closed, especially if your garage is attached to your home!  Make sure to have your vehicle’s exhaust system checked yearly to insure it is not leaking excessive amounts of carbon monoxide
  3. Grills/ Generators- Only used fuel powered grills and generators OUTDOORS!
  4. Space Heaters- space heaters should only be used when people are awake.  The carbon monoxide that can be emitted from a fuel powered (kerosene or gas) space heater can kill a person in their sleep.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors- Install carbon monoxide detectors or have them installed by a professional technician, throughout your home

Where Should You Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors?                   

Carbon Monoxide Detector

First, it is always best to have a qualified professional install carbon monoxide detector in your home.  But, if you decide to do it yourself, there are some guidelines you should follow.   One guideline is that if your house has more than one story you should have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor.  Also, a detector should be installed outside of each bedroom in the home and in the laundry room (If you have a gas dryer or washer).  In addition, you should install a detector above the door that connects your garage to your house.  Lastly, all detectors should be installed at 5 feet in order to detect carbon monoxide in the air.  

If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors in your home, have them installed! Call a professional today!

Keep your family safe from this invisible monster!

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Icicles Can be a Sign of Danger! Ice Damming can Lead to Serious Damage!

As a child growing up in New Hampshire one of my favorite parts of winter was the beautiful icicles that would form on the gutters of my house. I was convinced that Jack Frost had left them just for me. Not only did I love the way they sparkled in the sun, but I would wait with great anticipation for them to fall off the roof so that I could have an icy treat. Little did I know then that they could be a sign of trouble to come. Not only could the larger ones fall and hurt someone, but they could be a precursor to ice damming on the roof. As a child you don’t think of all the dangers and damage that could be caused by those lovely prisms of ice, but as an adult and a home owner they are something to be feared.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a crest of ice that forms on the edges and corners of roofs and stops snow from being able to melt and drain off. This then causes the water to be dammed up behind the ridge of ice and can cause water to leak into your home and damage the roof, dislodging roof shingles, damaging plaster on ceilings and walls, causing sagging gutters, peeling paint, soaking the insulation and affecting other areas of your home. Water leaks can happen quickly, be very destructive and ultimately very costly.

What Causes Ice Damming on Roofs?

1. Excessive warm air in the attic

2. Snow on the roof

3. Temperatures on the high areas of the roof above freezing

4. Temperatures on low areas of the roof at freezing or below

5. Skylights and recessed lighting

6. Heating ducts located in the attic

7. Complex roof designs

How Do You Know that You Have Ice Damming on Your Roof?

Remember those beautiful icicles innocently sparkling in the sun, not the small ones, but the ones that are large at the top and connected to others can be the first sign on possible ice damming on your roof. Especially if the icicles are forming on the edge of your roof or on your gutters, you should be weary. Some other signs can be ice or water that is coming down the outside walls of your home or behind gutters and coming through the soffit. In addition, if you see water coming down through your doorways or windows you can be almost certain that an ice dam has formed on your roof. Lastly, if you have had ice dams before you should be especially cautious and follow all the preventive measures necessary to keep this from happening again.

How Do You Prevent Ice Damming on Your Roof?

· Rake and shovel snow and ice off your roof immediately

· Hire a professional to clean off your roof

· Make sure your gutters are properly cleaned before the winter begins

· Make sure your attic is properly ventilated

· Make sure your attic floor is insulated to keep heat from rising in your house

· Have an air barrier or water repellent roof membrane installed in your home

· Make sure there are no other heat sources that could be dangerous such as:

o Uninsulated recessed lighting

o Uninsulated house fan openings

o Uninsulated attic opening/ hatch

o Uninsulated heating duct

o Poorly operating water heaters or furnaces

What to Do If You Have Ice Damming on Your Roof?

1. Fill an old pair of pantyhose with calcium chloride (ice melter) and lay the leg of the pantyhose across the ice dam to slowly melt the ice

2. Tap the ice dam with a mallet to slowly remove chunks of ice (DO NOT use an ice pick)

3. Clean the gutters and remove icicles from the edge of your roof

4. Melt through the ice with ice melter (calcium chloride), but not rock salt as it causes more damage to your roof

5. If possible, call an expert in roof maintenance to remove the ice dam (experts know how to do this without causing additional damage)

Enjoy the winter months, marvel at the icicles and frosty art left on your windows by Jack Frost, but also be aware of the dangers that could lurk underneath all of the icy beauty. The best way to deal with ice dams is to prevent them from ever happening. Use the advice above and your winter will be care free!

Creosote and Carbon Monoxide the Silent Killers: Chimney Safety Tips that Could Save Your Life!

December 21, 2018

As we head into another bitterly cold New England winter, I’ll bet that one of your main concerns is keeping your home and family warm!   As the snow piles up and the temperature drops, no doubt there are a lot of maintenance items on your mind, from tuning up your heating system to installing storm windows, in all this bustle don’t forget one of the most important parts of your heating system- your chimney.  Although chimneys and their maintenance are often overlooked this is not wise, as chimney fires account for over 25,000 fires a year, yet are 100% preventable!                                    

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