Thursday 24 January 2013

Secrets to finding a good handyman for your reno

The housing market is anticipated to experience an upturn in 2013, so it is certain that many home owners and real estate investors will start looking to renovate, add property value and put their houses on the market in the upcoming months. As there are always some jobs that simply require a professional, the following is a guide to what home owners should look for when hiring a handyman.

Before getting started, it is a necessity to decide what type of professional you are looking for. A handyman is very different from a general contractor. Neither are required to have a specific trade license, but a contractor is hired to find a variety of licensed tradespeople. If the job is larger and in need of professionals of varying skills, it is likely better to hire a contractor. For small jobs, a handyman is likely the way to go. Talk to friends, family or neighbours for recommendations, or check Home Builders Association websites for "RenoMark" contractors, who are members of the Canadian Home Builders Association and must adhere to their code of ethics and conduct. If you're hiring a contractor, it is a good idea to ask for at least three references. If the contractor is licensed, ensure it is not expired, and ask if they have insurance coverage. If the contractor is not insured, you can either request they purchase temporary insurance or go to a lawyer and draft a general release to ensure they understand they are responsible for any damage and / or accidents on your property. This releases you from any liability.

If you hire someone based on a referral, it is a good idea to ask a few questions before accepting their recommendation, including what jobs they performed, if they started and finished on time and on-budget, if there were any issues, if the referrer would use their services again and if they are receiving some sort of compensation by referring the professional. It is recommended to interview three potential candidates and ask for estimates from each. That said, it is always important to set aside a little extra to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

The contractor will provide you with a detailed contract, which should include not only a detailed description of the work that needs to be done, but also permits, supplies, commencement and completion dates, terms of payment and a payment schedule, insurance details, legal information, dispute resolution and warranty information. The contract is vitally important, as it sets the expectations for the contractor or handyman. If there is any requirement for clarity at any time, it is in writing and can be referred to.

Click here for the full article from the Globe and Mail.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Why you should re-key the locks in your new home

Receiving the keys to your new home is likely one of the most exciting parts of the home buying process. What many home buyers fail to ask themselves, however, is how many copies of these keys have been made in the past. Over the course of the previous owner's tenure, copies of keys may have been supplied to family, friends, caregivers or maintenance companies. This article from the Ottawa Citizen details not only the security benefits, but also the insurance benefits of having your home re-keyed.

Re-keying your home is an inexpensive and fast procedure that can give peace of mind, and other benefits as well. Most home insurance companies will expect that the locks in a previously-occupied home were re-keyed when the new owners took possession. If a client reports a forced entry, the insurance company will want to see evidence to be sure that neglect on behalf of the home owner was not a factor.

So how does one go about re-keying the locks in a home? Contrary to popular opinion, the locks themselves do not have to be replaced. A professional locksmith will simply disassemble the current locks and replace the pins and keys. There are two options to complete this process; removing the locks and taking them to a locksmith, or hiring a locksmith to come on-site to perform the procedure. In some newer homes, locks can be re-keyed without calling a locksmith. If the home was built within the past few years, it is recommended to ask the previous owner to find out if this is an option.

For more information and tips for first-time home buyers, contact a professional Mortgage Broker.

Click here for the full article from the Ottawa Citizen.