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Home improvement tips for buyers and sellers

(StatePoint) Buying or selling a home in today’s real estate market? Go about it properly. From home inspections to home improvement, take advice from experts.

Home Inspection

Because the industry is unregulated, be wary when hiring a home inspector. Protect yourself with these tips:

• Get referrals from family, friends, your real estate agent and contractors. Interview everyone on your list.

• Ask for qualifications and certification. Double check credentials.

• Inquire about Errors and Omissions insurance which can protect you from mistakes.

• Avoid conflicts of interest. Don’t hire someone who performs repairs or refers contractors.

• Are the inspector’s sample reports longer than a few pages? Lengths of reports vary; but most range from 20 to 50 pages.

• Ask how long your inspection will take. Most take at least three hours. Lack of thoroughness and errors can result in you losing the house.

• Does your home inspector charge for re-inspection?

• Attend the inspection. Ask questions about noted problems.

Painting

Whether you’re prepping your home for market or improving your new purchase, nothing brightens a home like a fresh coat of paint. These signs mean it’s time for a paint job:

• Chalking: A formation of fine powder on paint surfaces that can cause color fading if left unchecked.

• Scaling or cracking: Often caused by multiple layers of old paint, the only remedy is complete removal.

• Flaking: loosened peeling paint chips.

• Alligatoring: Deep fissures caused by long-term cracking. Complete removal is the only treatment.

• Lead threats: A health hazard, immediately remove lead paint.

• Discoloration

• Loose caulking: Avoid rotting and disrepair by checking window panes and doorframes.

Flooring

New flooring can give a home an instant lift affordably. Get more for your buck without compromising style and quality with these tips:

• Hardwood: A classic look that complements almost any style home, furniture or décor. Mix and match species of wood, finishes and widths for a unique look.

• Vinyl: Luxury vinyl flooring, or PVC, looks like wood but is more durable and heavier duty. Easily-maintained, PVC makes a great choice for high-traffic households.

• Decorative inlays: Metals like aluminum and stainless and galvanized steel provide striking, industrial looks, while the translucent, gem-like surface of glass tiles reflects light. Mixing these materials with tile or wood can create subtle separations of space.

• Accent rugs: Tie the entire room together or inject an unexpected burst of color into an otherwise neutral palette.

• Go Green: For eco-friendly flooring, try Shaw Industries’ cradle-to-cradle carpeting, which makes nylon carpets that can be recycled into new ones every five to seven years. Prefer wood? Opt for bamboo, cork, engineered or reclaimed wood.

Take steps to prep your old home for market or your new home for better living.

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