Solving the “but I recently bought the house” question.

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Every contractor encounters client’s who begin the conversation with “but I recently bought this house” dilemma.  Generally this opening line occurs once the homeowner  discloses an ongoing problem such as: leaking roof, damaged drywall near windows, and etc.  Personally, I’ve already encountered this scenario 4 times and year is not over. So why is it prevalent that many homeowners seem confused about product lifespan or is homeownership not projected properly?

collapsing hosue

Understanding US Housing statistics:

The average individual in the United States purchases between 3-5 homes in their lifetime (starter home, family home, downsizing home, retirement, etc.). Generally this much exposure to properties (under the expectation – not all homes were newly built) mean’s you’ve already had an issue or will experience such an issue in your lifetime. So we provided key insight’s (common knowledge) and a few “nuggets” to prevent calling a contractor a year after the closing. So how do you protect yourself from being like one of my clients?

First thing: Understand what homeownership means:

Review the true demands of homeownership and begin reviewing the expected costs of lawn maintenance, seasonal maintenance, change your books of choice from the Dark Tower to DIY stuff. A great insight is to compare renting vs owning materials.  Keep in mind, a home is similar to car minus the rapid deprecation, but the components that make your house very much depreciate and deteriorate. These items include: AC units, Water heaters, siding, windows, carpet, light fixtures, and roofs!

rent vs buy.png

Second thing: Before buying a LEMON do these items:

  1. Understand your true price and what you can afford (Yes, you can afford the listing price, but what about the soon to be updates). It’s better to avoid being “home broke” and have the ability to save reserves for those future expenses. This doesn’t mean because the bank approved us for the larger loan we should over reach on sq. footage or the home with a pool.
  2. Complete Professional home inspection – eliminate minor headaches or possibly discover huge unknown issues.home inspection.jpg
  3. Ask the “how old” questions: (Roof, siding, windows, door, heater, ac unit, flooring, & more).  Common questions such as these will allow you to compare to the chart provided below and see where you stand.
  4. Read our cheat sheet:
    • Asphalt Roofs – 13 to 17 years in the Midwest (due to harsh elements)
    • Aluminum siding – 50 years
    • Vinyl siding – 25 to 30 years
    • Aluminum windows – 15 to 20 years
    • Vinyl windows – 20 to 40 years
    • Carpet – 3 to 5 years (once fibers are worn & frayed)
    • Exterior doors – 20 years
    • Wood flooring – up 75 years
    • Linoleum flooring – 25 years
    • Garage doors – 15 to 20 years
    • Furnaces – could be 15 to 25 years
    • Water heaters –  10 to 20 years
    • In-ground pool liner – 7 years
    • Skylights – 15- 20 years
    • Contact your local neighborhood contractor for insight. If your curious about the current pricing for a specific product contact the local guy or Total Roofing & Construction ;). A lot of contractor’s provide Free estimates and more times than known will give you advice that maybe worth more. We advise doing this long before you actually need the work completed (6 to 18 months ahead of schedule). This allows you to budget for such a project and not be burden with burning your emergency fund or adding more debt.
  5. Homeowner Insurance Policy knowledge
    • We always recommend reviewing your newly acquired homeowner policy after you make your purchase. This policy is what will protect you from serious issues and your solution to those out-of-blue emergency situations. Important items to understand is your deductible, covered perils (hail, wind, etc.), and claims process.

Third Thing: If you did your research, don’t panic.

If you have completed the recommended tips mentioned above or currently purchasing your fifth home, then don’t panic when disaster strikes. Generally whenever you have sudden damage it’s commonly storm or weather related (covered by your homeowner insurance policy) – contact a company seasoned in restoration work (TRC).

When speaking of interior damage that didn’t arise from exterior damage – water heater, sump pump, furnace, and etc. these are preventable with seasonal maintenance and a planned schedule on replacing such items. If you over spend and don’t budget for yearly renovation then yes, you may be in pickle.

 

Conclusion:

I can attest that all contractor’s will offer you assistance regardless if your a homeowner of 5 months to 50 years. However, we believe these steps can save you ENORMOUSLY before you’re closing on a property or when that  disaster strikes. For instances, the Hurricane Harvey is a sad and frightening situation for many reasons (safety, families affected, shelter, & etc.). However, a question we ask is did all those homeowners have flood insurance or covered peril to protect their damaged homes? A lot of us never consider scenarios such as the Hurricane Harvey, but its better to be safe than sorry.

Hurricane Harvey

If you have any questions please message me at pctotalroofinc@gmail.com

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Junk in the attic?

Have you checked your attic lately? Or maybe you finally began putting those Christmas decorations away in the attic? If not, pull down that hatch and give it a peak.

We advise each homeowner to inspect their attics at least twice a year (Winter & Summer) and not because you’re searching for old family photo’s, but because attic inspections can save you a lot of money. Not only will you save money, but it you’ll also gain a more thorough understanding of your home.

The top five things to look for:

  1. That creepy, dark space is not for STORAGE!
  • An inhabitable attic or garret is first and foremost for air flow.
  •  If you have stuff in the attic, do you need it?

Attic Clutter.jpg

2.    The recommended insulation R-VALUE for an Attic is R-49 to R-60.

  • This R-Value is the recommended northern Illinois & Indiana.
    •  R- 49 is approximately 16.5 inches of insulation!
  •  The average homeowner loses at least 10% of their energy through the attic.

Attic Insulation.png

3.  Does your roof even have ventilation?

  • Do you see any natural lighting inside your attic (soffit holes or roof vents?) because many times a home lack’s proper ventilation if any.
  •  Why? This is how your attic releases it’s steam after seeing all your old boxes.

4. Do you have mold and mildew located in your roof?

  • The photo will show you an example
  • Depending on your ventilation, and humidity a power vent may be necessary to remove excess condensation from your attic.
  • Many remedies can remediate such scenario (Please contact a profession or Team Total 😉 for proper consultation)

5. Does your attic hatch or door have insulation?

  •  This goes back to #2.
  • You can fix this in less than an hour and spend no more than $40,
  • Go to your local department store and purchase insulation board and adhere it to the top of your attic door!

stairway

We hope these tips can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you have questions please let us know and shoot us a message. Our experienced staff has seen it all when it comes to attic insulation and is well prepared for just about any situation. Thanks again!

 

 

Sharpen those no. 2 pencils, it’s tax time.

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We’re neither accountants nor tax advisors, but we have been serving the construction industry for over 30+ years. A LOT of things have changed in the tax world since 1985, but we’ve heard enough feedback from our clients over the years to share with YOU the most important tax considerations. The information may be helpful or merely a refresher for you. However, we believe the more educated you are as a homeowner the better position you’ll be in to save some money. These are the top four tax items we suggest you reviewing:

  1. Mortgage Interest.

The greatest part about a home loan is the home. Face it not many of us look forward to that monthly mortgage bill. Home lenders will alway’s state “well you can’t write off the mortgage interest” and you SHOULD. There are varying policies and requirements when it comes to a refinancing loan on a cash paid property, $1 million caps, and more tax rules, so we advise you to do your homework before writing anything off.

    2. Home Improvement Loan Interest

We understand owning a home and having a family is an expensive feat within today’s economy. Maybe your finances were affected by the housing bubble, job market, or merely bad luck, it’s ok. So a lot of people utilize a Home Improvement Loan. The great news about this loan is the loan interest is tax deductible!! There’s no upper dollar limit, but the project must increase your home’s value and prolong its life. Examples: A new roof, pool, garage, porches, insulation, HVAC, landscaping, and more. We strongly advise you to reconsider increasing the square footage of your home, unless you’re prepared for possible reassessment (higher property taxes).

 

pens and coins.jpg

Home Improvement loans can help you increase your home’s value!

 

 

    3. Property Taxes 

We’ve known about these since our day’s playing Monopoly. Your city or state property taxes can be deducted from income. Keep in mind that city or state property taxes refund reduces your federal deduction by a like amount.

   4. Home business

Do you run an ETSY store or EBAY shop? As long as use a portion of your home exclusively for business purposes, you may be able to recoup certain home costs. We do recommend making sure your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your house if you do have a home business (double check). A great video showcasing this was in the movie “The Accountant” here’s the scene.

 

finished-house

Brand new Royal Building Products Siding (Schererville, Indiana)

 

Make your own Jenga Set!

This video will demonstrate all you’ll need to make your own Jenga Set. This is a great DIY project that takes less than 4 hours and $20 (If you have all the tools!). A lot of us have played Jenga once or twice at some point in our life. This game is a great asset if you’re hosting adults during the summer or trying to entertain your children. We even suggest to have your children participate in painting, handling tools, or measuring the blocks. This can be a great activity to show them safety methods, proper procedure, tools, and material use. We hope the family has a great time and if you have questions contact Total Roofing and ask for Phillip!

Jenga set consists of 17 rows of 3 blocks that are 10.5 inches long!

 

 

$500 DIY “Not So Extreme” Makeover

Shortly after watching the DIY network do you immediately brainstorm the house of your dreams or do you consider sprucing up your current dwelling? What exactly happens once that television’s off? I asked myself that question first because too frequently those wishlist items get put off and added to the growing Pinterest list (limit my pins please!).

However, I’m simply tired of neglecting those items and so should you! There are TOO MANY home improvement projects that the everyday person can do that, which will give you a sense of accomplishment, increase the value of your home, and save you money! These 5 tips will all fall below $500 and transform your home.

All I ask for is $500 and two days of your time.

#1. We’re painting two of your rooms!   

Investment: $138.60

Everyone has that one room they’ve been waiting to change! We advise the ugly duckling room to go first and then the one you frequent the most (kitchen, etc.)! The paint we selected is top notch, so if you’re looking to save you can easily downgrade the paint. Plus it’s always cheaper if you already have some items below!

painting

Items needed:  Home Depot pricing

  • (2) Gallons of BEHR Marquee paint  $39.95 ea.       
  • (1) 8 Piece Tray Kit     $14.95                                             
  • (1) Plastic Tray Liner           $0.9                                      
  • (1) 2”Angle trim Brush  $11.00                                    
  • (2) Scotch Blue Tape (Trim-board & Walls)  $6.58  
  • (1) 10 x 10 Tarp  $6.00                                                         
  • Pandora Radio                                                                        = Free

                                                                                $138.60 (.1 tax included)

Time: 10 Hours (1 room = 5 hours)

Keep in mind: Color selection, neutral colors are always the best option if you’re going to resale or rent! We ask that you shun the following colors below unless you’ll live in the house forever. These colors are recommended as “no-go’s” from Realtor.com.

  • Peach Fuzz
  • Orange Popsicle
  • Poppy Red

Remaining Budget:               $361.40

#2.  Time to SEE your savings!  

Investment 143.39

We’re switching our homes bulbs to all LED bulbs! Why buy the expensive bulbs, when replacement incandescent bulbs are only a few dollars? The up-front cost may deter you, but the don’t be blinded by the cost. The ROI (return on investment) of LED bulbs is uncanny and they last 5x longer than an incandescent bulb (25,000 hours LED vs 1,200 hour Inc bulb). Why not get ahead of the curve and make the change right now! Many sources reported the common US household has between 40 to 60 bulbs that are in use in their home. LED bulbs use less than half the energy of the standard original “incandescent” bulbs uses. You will start chipping away your electric bill, but keep in mind you still need to shut them off!

Amazon has a great 16 pack on sale for $32.59 with free shipping for prime members!!  (That’s 2.24 a bulb!)

Order 4 x $32.59 = 143.39 (.1 tax included)

Time: 2 Hours

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-03-51-pmNow with your brand new 64 bulbs, you can replace those old ones! We recommend making the change ASAP to start saving on energy cost because LED use less energy and you’ll start seeing the difference in your energy bill. If you decide to phase into the change, we recommend changing bulbs in the most lit areas of your house (kitchen, dining rooms, etc.)

Remaining Budget:  $218.01

#3. No more bottled water, hello tap water!

Investment: $150

This is one of the biggest savings you’ll immediately reap. The amount of money spent on bottled water is staggering and is only increasing. This filter is installed underneath your kitchen sink and requires a few hours to install. I get it, this type of DIY thing is not elaborate or visually beautiful, but you need clean water! Having an efficient purifying system allows you to drink without tasting metals or whatever might be in your area’s water. Also, you won’t be ashamed of sharing a glass with a friend.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-54-35-pm

Water facts:

Bottled water costs 300x more than tap water in the United States

The United States accounts for 15% of the world’s water consumption

Remaining Budget: $68.01

#4.CLEAN YOUR OWN CARPETS

  Investment: $60.42

You have not lived till you cleaned a carpet or two! This is a great cost-effective way to extend the life of your carpet and give your home a fresh feel. The duration of cleaning varies on how many rooms you chose to clean. If you have pet’s such as dog’s or cat’s be prepared!

Home Depot Pricing:

  • Carpet cleaner (1 day rental)  $29.99                            = $29.99
  • 2 Bottles of Premium Carpet Shampoo 12.47 ea.      = $24.94

                                                                                                               $60.42 (.1% tax included)

Remaining Budget:  $7.59

#5 Home Maintenance for DUMMIES    

Investment: $7.23

Reading a book similar to the one suggested will provide you tremendous knowledge of home maintenance which will be a huge asset to you. The ability to solve issues and be proactive before minor issues become serious headaches will save a lot of money down the road. We suggest going to Amazon and grabbing a used book or one similar!

Remaining Budget:$0.36!

NBA free agency is similar to Roofing free agency.

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NBA, NBA, NBA is all we’re hearing this week. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, NBC, or chatting in the office. We are on the cusp of our country’s day of birth and it seems the NBA wild west of free agency has overshadowed the conversation. This led me to thinking.

NBA free agency =Roofing free agency? Similarities?

NBA free agency is exceptionally similar to the spring time for roofing companies. A lot roofing companies generally use subcontractors for their work. It’s common. Owner’s generally want to avoid liability, insurance issues, healthcare, avoid training, and etc, so if they can outsource the work they decrease responsibility and save time, not necessarily cost. Many roofing companies seek out roofing crews for Spring, Summer, and Fall work after the snow break. However, not all companies do this. For instance Total Roofing and many proven companies can claim our professional crews who’ve been with us for over 20 years and then some. However, we understand why organizations love subcontractors. There’s many benefits to using subcontractors. This is similar to signing a mega superstar rather than drafting young talent and fostering the talent.

Face it, you’re hiring an individual (at least expected) that can perform the work demands or required craftsmanship. Instantly, roofing organization forgos the need to train a young apprentice, avoid the learning curve/rookie mistakes (mistakes happen), and provide the necessary trade tools. You pay for what you get. That same goes for the NBA. Why hire the services of a 21 year old recently out of college with one year of experience, and has many questions about his game? Especially, when there’s a 28 year old with four years of playoff experience and has proven 3 point shot? You want to eliminate the question marks and be assured of your ROI. Same goes for a roofing crew.

For instance consider the Los Angeles Lakers. This organization is in a state of chaos. They have a small amount of young talent budding in their organization and an aging star who wants to win now (who doesn’t want to win though?). So, the Laker’s chase after LaMarcus Alridge. An under 30, proven NBA superstar, and is in his physical peak for NBA careers.  You acknowledge he’ll give you 20/10/2 a night (points, rebounds, blocks) because of his work log (past seasons) and your team lacks a presence like him. Factor in that the organization is in a WIN-NOW/produce mentality and Laker Nation will shell out the big bucks.

So, they most certainly shell out the big bucks for his presences.

Now flip back to roofing. Roofing companies are as only good as the services they provide and if you have a lackluster crew, you’ll have a poor final product. Instead of the summer meetings, we have our spring meetings. Generally a foreman or leader of a crew comes in to inquire about work.  Well, why did they leave? Ask questions, questions, question, and more questions to the roofers and to your staff. NBA teams complete analytics on their opponents, themselves, market, and almost as much research than NASA. So you’ll have to do the same as roofing company. Ask your company, how long do I want to be competitive? What type of service am I providing? However, if a roofing company was in the same position as the Los Angeles Lakers, we would all recommend the same. Sign young talent, train them, and build a culture. For the longevity of the business that makes the most sense. Unless your organization has the stance of maximizing that particular year then go for the big fish.

Questions for those subcontractors (Basketball free agency questions.)

Why are you no longer with ABCDE roofing company? (mgt woes, bad ethics? Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors?)

What type of products are experienced in? ( Left handed, right handed, shooting off the dribble, what was your role?)

Do you have an address list of jobs you’ve completed in the past? (College resume/statistics, championships)

References? (Coaches, GM’s)

Expectation for salary? (Five year max deal, Player option)

After every signing everyone believes they made the best relationship. Face it, with the resources you had and the research you completed the decision made sense. The same goes for roofing. We use the best information we have and the factor in the direction our management is trying to go. However, with roofing companies we can proudly say we aren’t giving out 5 year $140 million dollars for the services of one person. Our industry is slightly different in regards to the salary cap. Would we love to have a set salary cap and the ability to compensate our hard working installers with millions of dollars, of course! Our team signings won’t receive the NBA type of publicity until we have a roofing television channel, partnership with Dunkin Donuts, and roofers starring in the next “Entourage” movie. So stay tune for the Spring of 2016′.

If a roofer was stranded on an island…

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The five most important items for a roofer.

  1. ENERGY DRINK/COFFEE/CAFFEINE
    1. Dunkin Donuts phrase  “we run on dunkin” is right on the money! Now we’re not pushing one type of coffee over the other (Don’t get offended Starbuckers), but it’s well known DD already has the “average joe” coffee market share.  We don’t know many roofers grabbing a triple whip americano with extra soy and a hint of cinnamon. However, as much as we love coffee it takes second to
      Unleash your beast!

      Total Roofing loves Monster

      Monster, Red Bull, & other drink that uses terms such as Voltage, Shock, Heartattack, Gorrilla Blood, or Warhead. This extra boost gets the day running for ALL. There’s no better way to start that 6 am shift then with a high-cranking energy drink!

2. QUALITY TOOLS  As skilled as most craftsman and roofers can be, you still need the appropiate tools. Tools such as magnetic sweepers (clean up those roofing nails that surely will puncture your tire), roofing hackets, blades (a dull blade helps no one), and more. These items depreciate quicker than your car, but are as important. For the journeyman or everyday roofer invest in quality tools. This will be the best investment you can make. They’ll make your job easier andHow can you roof 10 square in a day without an air compressor or hammer? Preparation allows you to be prepared to be your best. When you have the tools to succeed, you will.

Our Suggested Roofer Tool Brands:

Dewalt      Hitachi      Stanley    Bosch    Milwaukee

3. A RADIO A roofer can expect 8 to 10 hours of physical work throughout the day. However, what about his mind? One may assume his mind should be focused on the task at hand, which it surely is, yet what about the in-between? Material clean-up, job set-up, lunch, moving material, and switching blades allow individuals time to tune out. The radio has been intergal to the everyday blue-collar construction worker since it’s inception. Seriously, there’s a station for everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, and even religion! Do you enjoy sports? ESPN 1000 talk radio. Are you a political man? Rush Limbaugh (So crazy, you listen). How about everyday pop culture? Eric & Kathy on 101.9. This instrument is vital to the job of a roof and crew morale.

4. Plans for the weekend Roofing is not easy. It’s phsyically draining and tough work. 50 hours of honest work makes you want to imagine a beach with a corona with dolphins in the background.  Yeah seeing a project go from the before to after is great and motivating. However, I can assure you throughout the week of working, talking, and listening to the radio, plans for the weekend are being discussed. Sure, the idea “Why would a roofer on a stranded island talk about the upcoming weekend?” You don’t know roofers. We enjoy our weekends and there as necessary as water.

5. A nice lunch cooler. Sure a Big Mac and fry sounds delicious after 5 hours of lifting, pushing, sweating, and installing those shingles. However, I can assure you not every roofer is eating out and living off fast food during the week. We’ve all had some form of finance education whether in school or the hard knocks of life. The average fast food meal runs about $8 a day and let’s say you work 5 days a week. Within a 5 week month you spent $200. I’m no mathmatican, but the cost for sandwich meat, loaf of bread (easily two weeks worth), cheese, and snacks will run you $100 or less! In the midwests seven month roofing calender year that’s a savings of $700. Here’s a few things that cost $700

55″ LED SMART Television                    Two Round Trip Tickets Southwest Airlines

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John's Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

The sexiest home purchase you could make.

We understand roofs are not exactly bringing sexy back. Seriously, we’ve been in the industry for 30 years and still waiting for a comment such as “the new roof led to my wife.” We understand those comments are reserved for cars, bars, & churches. However, what do both bars & churches have? Roofs!

A roof is a necessity that protects your home and family from the weather. Also, it increases the overall curb appeal of your home, increases the value, and an opportunity to talk with your neighbor (Thank us later). Plus, if you live in the midwest you understand the importance of a quality roof. Office Space

So, why does everyone cut corners in the researching process? It’s common for homeowners to only look at price today. Prices are important, but do we believe that the price directly correlates with the quality and service our project demands?  All items should be considered in the roof search: certifications, product, service process, and price. Each item deserves your time. However, today I want to highlight PRODUCT. There’s absolutely no reason to install a three tab shingle on your home. NO REASON AT ALL. The only time we’ll suggest it is if you’re working on your kids treehouse, but I’d question your dedication to the treehouse. The average difference in cost between architectural & three tab shingles is usually $800 to $1200. So here’s an example to put it in perspective.

Common conversation between car salesman & potential client.  Interested in any upgrades? New stereo, heated & automatic seats, & backdoor camera. All these upgrades can be yours for an additional $17 dollars a month. Potential customer “what’s sixteen more dollars a month?” Customer later purchases upgraded vehicle and throughout the next 5 years of the loan pays $1,000 for the upgrades.

Car with a lot additions

Fact’s to keep in mind:

  • Car is a mode of transportation
  • Average new car is owned for 10 years
  • Average cost of used car (1-3 year old) $15,000
  • Average cost of new car $32,000

Common conversation between roofing salesman & potential client

Interested in architectural shingles? Aesthetically sharp, 130 mph protected, better hail resistance, & weighs fifty percent more than the economical choice. You can have all these product attributes for an additional $17 dollars a month. Potential customer “umm, not sure about that” and I’ll have to discuss it with the spouse.

Fact’s to keep in mind

  • Roof protects everything inside of your home.
  • Average roof last’s between 20 to 40 years
  • A home is the largest financial investment of most adults
  • Average cost of a roof repair often no warranty & only on roof under ten years $1,500
  • Average cost of a new roof $9,000

A lot of homeowners have installed architectural shingles and insurance companies suggest it. We understand architectural shingles have only been around for 40 years whereas three-tab a hundred years, but it’s time to change. The product is thicker, weighs more, and the sealant technology allows it to withstand twice the wind of three-tab. All major manufacturers GAF, Owens Corning, CertainTeed, & TAMKO stock architectural shingles.

The next time you need a new roof PLEASE demand architectural shingles and if you believe it’s not in the budget look at the car in the driveway. Do you have heated seats, advanced CD player, or back up cameras?

Architectural shingle benefits:

Homewood Deck

Three-tab shingle benefits:

  • Classic appearance.
  • Upfront cost is cheaper than architectural
  • Most economical shingle in the market
  • 25-year warranty