Haggling Home Improvement Costs

Roofing And Siding ContractorsCan we really haggle with the contractors that quote us prices for home improvements? You bet we can!

I recently saved a good sum on my having my gutters and siding replaced by a Louisville KY home improvement contractor who was kind enough to supply some of the information I’ve provided here.

One of the keys to getting the best price on any home improvement contract be it roofing, siding, or even something as simple as yard maintenance is to let them know that you’re getting multiple prices.

Be up front with the sales representative that’s quoting the project. Make sure that they’re aware that you are reading home improvement articles. That you’re going to be getting a minimum of 3 estimates and more than likely 4 or 5.

Nothing lowers a price like competition. What you need to do is be educated on your purchase. Roofing, Siding, and Gutters are important to your homes ability to stand up to the weather. You don’t want to skimp when it comes to these items. A small leak in a roof can end up being very costly so be sure that you’re getting your prices from reputable roofing contractors. I did pretty good when I had new gutters installed by my friend Herb from Louisville KY Roofers. And he was kind enough to share some of the ways he can be enticed to lower his prices a bit.

Be Prepared During the Estimate Phase

Get a folder that you will use to keep all of your estimates in. Always staple everything from one companies estimate together and keep all of your estimates neatly arranged. This will come in handy as a quick reference when you actually go to hire a chosen company.

Contracting Prices are Different at Different Times of the Year

Singly this is the biggest factor that will affect pricing of any home improvement. During the spring and summer months good contractors will have a waiting list that can be quite long. Anybody and everybody that’s having a project done wants to have it done this time of year. But the truth is a roof, siding, or gutters can be done during the cooler months. It may take a little longer to get done due to the weather, but contractors can be a little hard up for the work.

Remember that contractors have overhead and bills that don’t stop coming in just because it’s fall or winter. Ask your contractor if you can have a discount if you wait till the late fall or winter to have your project done. A lot of times they will discount the work considerably if they know that they can count on you to provide them man hours later in the year when they would otherwise have very little on the books.

Compare Estimates With Your Contractor

Don’t be shy. There could be a considerable amount of money at stake. Show the contractor that you like and trust the estimates that you’ve received from other companies that are bidding the same project. Listen closely and make sure that your comparisons are accurate. Sometimes a contractor can point out something on a competitors estimate that isn’t on his and vice verse. Getting the best deal can take a little digging. But a little digging can sometimes add up to thousands of dollars.

Offer to Advertise for Your Contractor

The best advertisement for any home improvement contractor is word of mouth. And seeing is believing. Offer to put one of their job signs in your yard with their name and contact phone # on it for 90 days. So you have to mow around it. Big deal! Most contractors will take off a full 10% for a job sign and a few references. What happens is people in your neighborhood will see the work being done and will know if it’s quality or not. In all likelihood some of them will call your contractor or even stop by and chat with him while he’s working. If it’s all good they will invite him over to look at their project and possibly even hire him to do a job.

So there it is. Don’t be afraid to haggle your home improvement costs. Your contractor will be glad you did!

What About Pawn Shops?

Louisville Pawn ShopsAre Pawn Shops not the ultimate buyer seller relationship all rolled into one?

I have a friend that owns J&M Pawn Shop. And I admit that I do go there from time to time to shop for jewelry. Also he knows I collect broaches and has a habit of preying on me with anything new that he gets in. And I’ll confess. I love shopping there and have also gotten some of my friends into the habit of frequenting his store for all kinds of things. The deals one can get in a pawn shop can be awesome.

Most people think of pawn shops as seedy places where people of less than stable character will take stolen goods to sell them, or visit to pawn the last vestiges of their being to get drug money. But it’s not that way at over 95% of them. They’re heavily regulated in most states and have to document the stuff they take in for legal reasons. And with the show “Pawn Stars” being such an outrageous success nowadays. The pawn business is picking right on up.

Here are some great ways to see the industry in it’s true light. Very often when somebody finds that they no longer need or want an item they’ll just throw it away, or set it out by the curb hoping somebody will pick it up. Or maybe they’ll put it on craiglist and keep updating and refreshing their ad hoping eventually somebody will see it and buy it. Items like this can be taken to a pawn shop and off loaded immediately for cash on the spot. You can even haggle a little!

If it has any value as a collectible the pawn shop owner generally knows somebody he can call the minute you go out the door to tell them he’s gotten it in, just the way my friend Jeff does with me and jewelry. Jeff tells me that people collect the strangest things. He claims to know a guy that collects the “As Seen On TV” products. Is that strange or what?

So it doesn’t matter if you want to buy or sell. If it’s a used item a pawn shop will be interested. They always ask “do you want to sell it or pawn it”. This is because if you’re pawning it they want you to return to get it! That’s right, they usually have limited space in their store rooms where they’ve taken things in on pawn that the persons never came back for and they don’t have shelf space to put it out front for sales. Most all pawn shop owners invariably have to have off site storage facilities for these items.

Never pay what they ask. Always haggle with them. Remember they have a storage and shelf space problem and it doesn’t matter what it is they will be motivated to sell. If you’re in Louisville and go by J&M tell Jeff the owner that Linda Cash sent you and that you’re going to haggle him in the best way possible.

The stresses of home buying

Buying a HomeAuthor: Linda Cash

It seems like everyone dreams about owning a home someday. However, many people don’t appreciate all of the stress that is involved in owning your own place, and consistently making the mortgage payments. Costly home maintenance, long-term financial obligations, and even a declining neighborhood can contribute to the stress of home ownership and turn that dream of having your piece of the American Pie into a nightmare.

When you signed that home mortgage loan, you became your own landlord, and therefore have to rely on yourself if anything goes wrong with the house. People don’t understand that when you own a home, you become the plumber, painter, and if you’re adventurous enough, the roofer. If you want to score bonus points with your friends that are becoming first time homebuyers, the best gift you can give them is a gift card to a hardware shop. You might help reduce the pressure on yourself by having good homeowners insurance that will cover even the minor things in your house that break. In addition it’s always best to consult with a qualified broker before buying a home. And keep in mind it’s their job to make a profit off you so shop the any rates you’re quoted, and don’t just go with the broker that the real estate recommends. They probably eat lunch together regularly and are a team. The more you pay for the home overall the more they make. They’re not your friends, so keep that in mind. And haggle every point.

Perhaps one of the continuous pressures of owning a home is stressing about how to cover the home mortgage loan every month. Even with a steady income, making a mortgage payment can be very nerve-wracking. For most people this represents a substantial amount of their paycheck and the thought of it can be daunting. Even if you have been making your mortgage regularly, the unexpected can happen and leave you without a means to cover this expense. The loss of the home through foreclosure is devastating to most people, representing thousands and thousands of dollars in a lost investment. However if this happens, the homeowner has to make a choice to continue with the constant worry of struggling to meet the mortgage or give up the house. In the end, it might be easier for the homeowner facing foreclosure to choose to start over somewhere else. Is it possible after foreclosure to ever be able to buy a home again?

According to our source John Moel of Louisville Mortgage Lenders it is, but one would need to consult with a qualified broker or lender to be able to deduce the correct way to move forward. And yes there are brokers that handle people with questionable financial situations.

Know your neighbors before you move

One of the biggest downfalls of home ownership is living next to people who are more like the Manson Family than the Brady Bunch. Noisy, dirty, inconsiderate neighbors can make the house you once loved to come home to a place of apprehension and tension. Moving to a new rental is considerably easier and cheaper than selling and buying a new home. It is partially true when they say, “you can’t choose your neighbors”. It seems obvious to find out who your neighbors are before you buy a house. However, so few people spend any real time in their prospective neighborhood before they actually move there. Living next to thoughtless neighbors can make home ownership very stressful and there is so little you can do about it. You may have to decide if it is something you can live with or not. If you feel that the neighborhood has become unsafe for you or your children, it may be time to put the house up for sale and move on.

Before signing on the dotted line google the street address where the current home is listed. See if there are any articles about a close by neighbor from hell. Go around and introduce yourself in the hood and ask about the environment. And last but not least spend a few evening sitting in the driveway of the new home or close by and watch how the day unfolds. What’s one day’s time when you may live there for 20 years?

When you sign up for a home mortgage loan, you are accepting the liability of making a mortgage payment, every month, for the next thirty years (give or take a decade). Some first time homebuyers can feel like this alone is an overwhelming responsibility and do not fully realize everything that is entailed in home ownership. While certainly having a place of your own can be a virtual dream come true, just be sure you know what to expect and be properly equipped to handle the stress that comes with it.

And last but not least shop the loan. Even if you have bad credit shop the loan. Shop it to death and haggle everything about it.