1 property inspection might secure you an $88,000 insurance claim.

This past week we began installing a new GAF TPO roofing system that we performed maintenance on and performed a periodical roof inspection. We documented the photos and reports in 2015 for our clients. On July 7th 2017 hail damage occurred, but no member walked onto the roof until the following fall (Face it, how many people walk their roofs?). Insurance claim gets filed. The insurance provider denies the claim and affixed the damage to a 2013 date of loss (Passed their filing statute of limitations). Everyone’s confused.

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Phone rings!
The next week we dive into our archives to retrieve our report. We contacted the insurance company and provided our photos and reports that contradicted this “2013 date of loss” finding. Alongside our reports, the clients also had a licensed home inspector review the property. Both reports and NO MENTION OF HAIL nor visual damage noted in the roofing membranes. Upon further review and months of back/forth the insurance organizations eventually agreed to an $88,000 insurance claim settlement.

Something so simple
These inspections often are free estimates and allow you to have a 1st hand account on present issues, concerns, or longevity of the existing products. In addition, to providing you with an honest record, it does the same for your insurance provider. We understand they’ll use their own insurance “reporting” system, but we never recommend relying on the insurance providers to make that decision!


The true costs for our clients homeowners:
1 service repair call – Illinois unlimited licensed roofing contractor (Free Estimate)
1 property inspection – Illinois licensed home inspection ($350.00)

So what’s necessary? 

Perform: ANNUAL and SEMI-ANNUAL PROPERTY INSPECTIONS

A lot of times insurance companies will review your property 2 times during your relationship. The 1st inspection occurs during your initial insurance premium review. The 2nd time often during an insurance claim.  It’s common for these inspections to occur 5 to 15 years apart if damage never strikes your property.

 

What you can do?

  1. Call licensed contractor to perform a property report (Annually) -$350.00
  2. Get a home inspection (Every 5 years) – $350 to $750
  3. Become familiar with storm damage such as hail, wind, & etc. and perform the inspections in-house. Free – Cost of the ladder.
  4. Notify your insurance provider anytime you make significant upgrades to your exterior products (Roof, siding, windows, & anything else) and keep receipts of the MANUFACTURER <- In case they get damaged.
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10 tips to know: buying a distressed property

Fixer upper, Rehab Addict, and other shows continue to romanticized the restoration industry, but more importantly the rental/flip market. These shows make for great television for many reasons such as the alluring before/after process, ROI (return on investments), or being your own boss. Yet our goal is not to poach your wallets or scare you off from potential opportunities, but give you some information that these shows often don’t showcase.

  1. Know the municipality codes, permits, and rules before starting the construction (Flip or Rental).

    Costs associated with permits could go as much as $3,000. There are villages and towns that have a fixed rate (3%) implemented in the overall job cost, while others have set fees per the renovation. However, some towns could and will backcharge you for renovations completed without a proper permit/building inspection (HVAC, electrical, etc.).

    • Advice: Allow your contractor to file for the permits. It’ll much be easier and you won’t have to paper chase the contractor.
  2. Avoid pools and decks

    If possible, avoid both of these property headaches. Both items will raise your homeowner’s insurance policy due to the potential risk, while also increasing the home inspector’s No.2 pencil. We strongly advise against a pool if this is a rental property due to maintenance, upkeep, and potential lawsuits pending worst case scenarios.

    • Advice: If it’s an in-ground pool, fill it in with the demo debris with items such as: deteriorated wood, drywall, and biodegradable items will help slash disposal costs.
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  3. Have a good lawyer (Especially in Illinois)

    THIS IS A MUST, if you are be venturing into the rental sector. It’s common to experience one bad apple during your landlord career. Ask any colleague whose a landlord and we assure you they’ll praise the good tenants as if they’re the second coming. The true benefit’s of a good lawyer are: timely evictions, cut future court costs, and provide sound legal advice.

    • Advice: We advise having state specific attorneys rather than using only one attorney. Due to the intricacies of rental law among states and to provide a checks/balances for yourself (more importantly your pocketbook).
  4. 1st screen the potential contractor’s 

    We recommend choosing the contractors before starting the overall restoration. There are general contractors who will seek 6 to 19 bids to get the lowest possible bid, but we don’t recommend this at all. If you’re flipping this property than you know time is not on your side. Every month of waiting for a bid equals: 1 more month of taxes, insurance, electricity, potential exposure to theft, and vandalism.

    • Advice: Review their trade license’s, insurance (is it active), and verify it with the village. Seek references from family and friends.
  5. Always over budget and add 3 months.

    For a peace of mind simply add 5% to the job cost and expect the project to be finished 3 months longer. We are aware that ROI (Return on Investment) is the reason for getting involved and this new venture is not for entertainment. However, projects can get dragged out due to weather constraints especially for exterior contractors, permitting, unexpected building finds, village inspections, home inspections, rental inspections, and more unnecessary politics.

    • Advice: It may be cost-effective to use a general contractor to manage the 1st restoration for yourself. They may already have pre-screened contractors whom are qualified and do quality work. We recommend shadowing and observing from them.
  6. Homeowners Tax Exemption (Rentals)

    This is the most common thing I’ve learned with 1st time landlord’s is they get bug-eyed after they see their taxes increase in the 2nd year. Often, it’s because the village discovers you do not live there.  If it’s not your “true” residential home and an investment property, you’ll more than likely lose the homeowners tax exemption. I agree, various communities taxes such as Park Forest, Illinois – $7,000 a year) are criminal,  but you should know this before investing. DO NOT TRUST ZILLOW OR TRULIA’S TAX RECORDS.

    • Advice: Understand the tax rate of the town especially if the intentions are renting the property. As previously mentioned with Park Forest, Illinois $7,000 a year in taxes = you’re splitting your ROI with the village.
  7. Know your goal (Rental or Flip)

    “Know your goal?” I want to make money! We mean are you renting or flipping the property? This can change the selection of products, colors, flooring, and exterior products you use. If you’re flipping the property you may install more trending products, but if you’re renting you’ll want to be cost conscience on the products to maximize your return. Also, if you’re renting a property you might get by without replacing items until you have too.

  8. Partner with a Lowes Pro, Home Depot, local building supply, or Menards credit card.

    If you can pay cash great, but you’re leaving a lot points/discounts on the table. The benefits of some of these programs: it’s easy to track receipts and previous purchases, which allow you to uncover your true cost on the restoration. Menard’s and Lowe’s often give a 5% discount on items purchased using their Pro-Cards, which can help you. Keep in mind all these building stores have a varying levels of product quality.

    • Advice: If you follow through on #10 by creating an LLC, than you can obtain a business credit card and avoid future personal credit issues.Project lao
  9. Don’t install appliances until you have too

    There’s no rush to install the appliances! We know you’ll probably be purchasing washer/dryers, stoves, refrigerators, and other premium items, but hold off. Theft is extremely high in renovation units and they’ll break in if $1,000 + of appliances is seen. Even if you have an insurance policy on the home, it’s generally not worth the claim. We know kitchens are exciting to see completed, but honestly if you want to fall within your budget and keep a sound mind, hit the brakes on the appliance installation.

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  10. Create a LLC. for the property

    If you know your goal is to rent the property then you should create a LLC. for the specific property. Consult with your chosen attorney. This is not uncommon, we know many investors that do this to eliminate potential financial risk from the tenants. A Limited Liability Company can protect your personal assets and avoid this side hustle from ruining your future.

We hope this help’s you a little. If you’re interested in venturing into the restoration industry please contact us at Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. or  Emerald Managment   Contact us today because there’s much more information and fact’s to be aware before purchasing property.

Is a Honda still a Honda with a Mazda motor? Roofing systems reviewed by Total Roofing

Every project is different! Whether it’s the location of the property, design of the home, color of exterior facade (brick, siding, cedar), or the homeowner’s intentions. The benefits of being in business for 30 years is knowing that ALL client’s are as unique as their projects ;).  These two reasons alone are why we offer different roofing systems instead of utilizing a single manufacturer (what happens if there’s a recall?).

The benefit’s of our multi-verse manufacturer relationships and product awareness positions us to educate/advise you to make the best decision. We understand it’s not your duty to read shingle reviews, industry trends, or be cognitive of breakthrough innovation, because that’s our job. So, we went ahead and featured our top 3 roofing systems that we suggest and are common for our clients throughout the Chicagoland area/ Northwest Indiana.

1. The most complete roofing system:

GAF Timberline Golden Pledge roofing system: $$

The benefit’s of the “golden pledge” system is its durability, entire system warranty, and being created by GAF’s who happens to be one of the largest producer of roofing product’s in North America.  GAF’s research and development have not only created an industry leading asphalt shingle (1st line of watershed defense), but innovative, top of the market accessories to compliment the system. This roofing system comes with a 50-year non-prorated product warranty, 25- year workmanship warranty, and GAF will complete a review of the installation. The best part only 2% of contractor’s in North America can offer such a warranty.

What’s in system?Clock Master

  • GAF Timberline Shingles
  • GAF Weatherwatch (Ice & Water shield)
  • GAF Deck Armor (Synthetic underlayment with permeability ratings)
  • GAF Starter course, GAF Snow Country Ridge Vent, GAF Cobra intake system
  • GAF Timbertex Ridge Caps (Heavy duty ridge caps)

2017: Total Roofing GAF Timberline shingles roof’s: 45 properties with 0 complaints 

2. A windy location, farm lot roofing system

Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration roofing system: $$

We love the OC Duration shingle because of the Surenail technology (OC Patented) that’s been incorporated within the main component: the asphalt shingle. The Surenail technology strip (show in the photo) reinforces the roofing nails & strengthens the bonding agent by its fabric woven technology.  The 130 mph wind rating with a 6 nail installation is why we recommend this for farm houses, 12/12 pitches, mansard roofs, or properties that are located near wind tunnels. Similar to GAF, Owens Corning offers a full line of accessories that are quality and efficient formulating a cohesive roofing system.Surenail technology.png

What’s in a system?:

  • Owens Corning TruDuration Shingles
  • Owens Corning ProArmor Synthetic Underlayment
  • Owens Corning Weatherlock (Ice & Water shield)
  • Owens Corning ridge ventilation, starter course
  • Owens Corning ProEdge ridge caps

2017: Total Roofing Owens Corning roof’s: 90 properties with 0 complaints

3. Color’s & Transparency

TAMKO Heritage Architectural System: $

What does TAMKO mean? Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. This manufacturer is located in Joplin, Missouri. We love this manufacturers color options and product transparency with their 30 year product warranty. It’s uncommon to constantly review your roof’s color, unless you strongly dislike the existing one. The benefit of this manufacturer is the well versed color schematics and varying colors from competitors. We thoroughly enjoy this company for not following the industry trend of “lifetime warranties” and standing by their 30 year warranty mark. This shingle has  a 15-year non-prorated product warranty with depreciating after 30 years (which is still a strong warranty).

What’s in a system?

  • TAMKO Heritage architectural shinglesTAMKO pro
  • TAMKO Heritage starter course
  • TAMKO Ice & Water and underlayment
  • TAMKO ridge caps.

 

2017: Total Roofing TAMKO Heritage: 50 properties with 0 complaints

Other roofing system & product’s we install: Owens Corning Oakridge, CertainTeed Landmark Pro’s, IKO cambridge, and Atlas Pinnacle. These product’s all have a time and place. For instance, we will install a number of Atlas Pinnacle in treed lots or near lakes because of their formulated copper granules technology, which deters algae, life organism’s from growing on the shingles (That yucky green moss!)

Our final notes: Keep in mind every contractor offers a varying level of accessories (#15 lb felt – STOP IT ALREADY), but we listed the above system components you should REQUEST INFORMATION ON. Yes, a complete manufacturer systems tend to cost more than a piece by piece system, but trust the manufacturer’s suggestion. They advertise those warranties when you utilize their components, because do you think a Honda would really be a Honda with a Mazda motor?

The last bit of advice,is that these systems are only as good as their installer’s. Do NOT SPEND THE MONEY on these top products if you’re getting a below the industry standard “workmanship warranty” on the installation (Anything less than 3 years is concerning). An analogy would be like buying a Corvette Stingray and not using premium fuel or synthetic oil. That beautiful vehicle will be breaking down much sooner than your monthly payments!

I hope this article may help you or provide some insight,

Phillip Cooper

 

Homewood Deck

Do you watch HGTV? TRC does.

If there’s anything a few contractor’s enjoy, it’s catching an television show such as: This Old House, reality brothers, or Fixer Upper. Many of us may not identify as a “fixer upper” addict’s, but I’m lying if I said I dislike “Chip & Joanna” completing a 30 minute home restoration. They make for good television and the reality tv is not overly dramatized, but it’s still cheesy. Especially as a contractor, these show’s provide our spouses a glimpse of the our day-to-day work life in the contracting world and showcases that we don’t drive our truck’s all day.

I won’t bore you with our favorite television shows, but I’m advocating that you as homeowner should be watching these programs!  Don’t watch television solely to dull your senses or waste time, but at least before the next big renovation project. If you’re building a home for a family of five than the show “tiny homes” won’t exactly make much sense.

Fixer upper

There is a number of quality pro’s & con’s to these shows.

Pros of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Oversight of the industry trends: colors/designs
  • Breakthrough building product’s (Manufacturer’s will market their new product’s in these shows)
  • A visual of a construction site (Debris, equipment, & inconveniences)
  • Synergy of a project: crew, foreman, contractor, supplier, homeowner
  • Learn from other’s mistakes (Don’t like that color, now you know!)
  • Need for a quality and honest contractor.

Con’s of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Unrealistic timeframes – (Extreme makeover home edition)
  • Perception of cost – (Labor rates vary across the nation)
  • Not all contractor’s are qualified to be on television, let alone feature their work (Do your research)
  • Best choice building product’s for you (Often location is addressed, but not all building products are suited for the midwest or east coast).
  • Alway’s a surprise moment (There are times, the homeowner does not like the final color)

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I’m sure we’re all grown enough to understand that television is not reality, but it’s a fantastic tool.  These programs provide you with an ability to do homework before the big test (paying a contractor with your $$$) and you’ll learn industry jargon, products you might want, and an understanding the style of home you’re seeking.

What do I do if I don’t get cable or HGTV?

My family is in the same boat! We decided to cut the cord and opted for Netflix and a local antenna. Though I don’t know a way to stream HGTV, I do know YouTube has played or showcased old episodes of “home restoration” shows. In addition, local providers do have a few “do-it-yourself” and home improvement channels throughout the week (mostly featured on Sat/Sunday) that are similar. I’m honest in stating that the local renditions are MUCH different from the commercialized and scripted version of HGTV’s.

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Quality Contractor > Quality Product

Selecting the right contractor is far greater than the selecting the right roofing system or any service oriented systems (HVAC, flooring, etc.). Face it, installing a roofing system requires over 1,500 nails and 10 different accessories (Ice and water shield, ridge cap, chimney flashing, caulking/sealant, ventilation, underlayment, starter strip, drip edge, exhaust vents, soil stacks, and more!) all be intertwined, forming an efficient roofing system. And you and I can both agree, if those high-end architectural shingles were not installed correctly, we guarantee you’ll be seeking another contractor with the hopes they can preserve those $2,000 high-end shingles.

Informational

Unfortunately this is an ordinary circumstance

This situation is far more frequent than you would think. I would say 20% of all homeowner’s will bring up their previous contractor’s mishaps or inability to deliver on their promises, which led them contacting us.  So, our first recommendation to you homeowners, please perform your due diligence in thoroughly researching these professionals. The great thing about today’s economy is the internet.

Why is this important? This is important because the average roofing system last’s 17-20 years in the midwest. So, if you hire a qualified contractor to install “lifetime shingles” or the equivalent shingles you should be worry free. Even though the materials have active manufacturer warranties, we still recommend performing annual inspections or “roofing oil changes” to help preserve the existing material. We believe due to the unknown nature of the weather and normal aging this help’s prevent pre-emptive deterioration.

However, if you’re in the boat with “Jack the roofer and his friend’s” or “the Texas straight talker” did your roof in a recent storm, then 20 years might be cut in half. In addition, a lot manufacturer’s won’t warranty the first roof because of the negligent install or the original contractor is out of business (over 70% of roofing contractor’s are out of business in 3 years).

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So what does the industry do to help you?

  1. The leading roofing manufacturer’s provide accreditation and “pro-level” certification’s to approved contractor’s that abide by their (manufacturer’s) install methods and have adequate up-to date liability/license insurance. Almost all manufacturers offer contractor plus programs: Owens Corning, GAF, TAMKO, IKO, CertainTeed, and Atlas (TRC are certified if you’re curious 🙂
    • What’s does this mean for you? The manufacturer is pre-screening your local contractor’s and will list them on their website for you consumers. Additionally, some have their own review page such as GAF MasterElite contractor’s will have a GAF manufacturer representative follow-up with the homeowner and complete a 40-point roof inspection.
  2. Accountability: another great reference sheet is to call the local building supply houses & distributor’s that the contractor uses.
    • What does this mean for you? Request from the potential contractor a supply houses list. A supply house often is honest to inform of known shady practices or if the contractor has any outstanding balances. We do recommend being cautious of the suppliers trying to flip “their” contractor’s your way, but this reference could protect you from a future lien situation.
  3. Know your states rights. A lot of states offer you “homeowner’s right to cancel a contract” up to 3 business day’s. The length and circumstance varies among each state, but this does give you leeway to jump ship.
    • What does this mean for you? This provides you an opportunity to jump from a home remodeling contract within 3 days of signing it. However, you must notify them promptly and most ethical contractor’s will void a contract (even past the 3 days).

We hope this article will help in your roofing system endeavor! A lot of these basic principles are common throughout all service industries, but could possibly save you a lot $$$$$$ and headaches. Remember whether it’s plumbing, windows, or carpet most manufacturer’s offer accreditation programs to help separate the cream of the crop installer’s for you. We understand it’s easy to get sold by charm, but as the great GE CEO Jack Welch alway’s said “Trust Your Gut.”