Tips on Homes

Thursday, November 29, 2018

6 Home Renovations that Return the Most at Resale

Whether you plan to stay in your house a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value to your place.
“Remodeling,” a magazine for the construction industry, in its 2018 Costs vs. Value Report, compares the average cost of 21 remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.
Here are the six interior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return.

1. Garage door replacement

  • Average cost: $3,470
  • Average resale value: $3,411
  • Cost recouped: 98.3%
A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to returning cash to your pocket, the Cost vs. Value report shows. This project involves removing an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

2. Manufactured stone veneer

  • Average cost: $8,221
  • Average resale value: $7,986
  • Cost recouped: 97.1%
Replacing vinyl siding on your house for stone veneer is a big aesthetic improvement. The vinyl siding is replaced with adhered manufactured stone veneer. This is another major curb-enhancing upgrade that will get you back over 97 percent of your costs.

3. Entry door replacement (steel)

  • Average cost: $1,471
  • Average resale value: $1,344
  • Cost recouped: 91.3%
You will recoup over 91 percent of your cost by replacing your 36-by-80-inch entry door with a 20-gauge steel door, complete with clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs and an aluminum threshold with composite stop. These doors come factory-finished with the same color on the front and back sides.

4. Deck addition (wood)

  • Average cost: $10,950
  • Average resale value: $9,065
  • Cost recouped: 82.8%
One advantage of owning a house is having yard space. Nothing enhances a yard like a wood deck. This project involves adding a 16-by-20-foot deck, including a railing system with pressure-treated wood posts, railings and balusters. This feature will hold more than 82 percent of its value come resell time.

5. Minor kitchen remodel

  • Average cost: $21,198
  • Average resale value: $17,193
  • Cost recouped: 81.1%
Before you embark on a major kitchen overhaul, consider a minor one, which will recoup about 81 percent of its cost. This upgrade is based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry. Cabinet boxes are left in place but updated with modernized Shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Replace laminate counter-tops with new laminate. Next, swap out older appliances with energy-efficient models. Update with a mid-priced sink and faucet; repaint the trim; add wall covering; and replace vinyl flooring with new vinyl.

6. Siding replacement

  • Average cost: $15,072
  • Average resale value: $11,554
  • Cost recouped: 76.7%
If you need a good reason to update old siding, consider that replacing 1,250 square feet of it will cost you about $15,072 and you’ll get back $11,554 upon resale. This upgrade includes the factory trim at the openings and corners.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


With over 25 years experience in the Real Estate and Construction industry, I see this as one of the most overlooked areas for homeowners having a construction project done on their home. This could include new construction, a complete renovation or just a home improvement.

During the construction, the time will come when the home owner will want to change something along the way. This could be what they think is a very small change to what is actually a very costly project. The change can be an added or modified part of the construction project - as in adding an island to the kitchen or not installing the hardwood floors that was stated in the original contract.

When making your change, always make sure that the change is explained to the Contractor "ONLY" and a "Change Order" listing the labor and materials needed for the change - along with the amount of time the change will take is written up. The Change Order must then be signed and dated by the Home Owner and the Contractor before the work has been started, or certain projects not to be completed. 

Never let any contractor say "We'll work it out in the end" or "It won't be that expensive" or the easy way "Giving the go ahead over the phone"! This could turn out to be a very expensive change at the completion of the project, if not done correctly.
Federico Filippi

302 N Cleveland St
Oceanside, CA. 92054

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Home Paint Maintenance

Home Painting at Pierview Properties Real Estate -760-547-5773
Paint maintenance is no different than roof, landscape, pool or asphalt maintenance. A good plan requires periodic inspections, timely and proper surface preparation and repair in addition to quality paint applied at recommended intervals by a knowledgeable professional. Here are some areas that should fit in a good paint maintenance plan: 
Surface Preparation. Properly prepared surfaces will resist the wood rot common to the cool, damp climates. If the wood fence, trim or siding gives easily to finger pressure, the wood is rotten beneath the existing paint and should be replaced prior to painting. When replacing rotted trim and siding, inspect for dry-rot in the underlayment, studs or joists by probing with a screw driver. If the wood is soft, additional repairs will be necessary to stop the dry rot from spreading. DO NOT cover it up with new siding or paint. Dry rot is a wood cancer that grows best in dark, wet environments. Only use knowledgeable contractors that are experienced in dry rot repair and abatement.
Chalking. If wiping your hand across a painted surface picks up white residue, the paint is chalking and it's time to repaint. If the chalky surface isn't removed with a power washer, a special primer can be added to the paint.
Sprinkler Over-spray. Keep sprinkler heads on the landscaping and off the buildings and fencing. Over spray causes a lot of paint damage like mildew, cracking, paint peeling and rust. Sprinkler heads get misdirected for a variety of reasons. Make sure your landscaper is made aware as soon as possible to correct the situation.
Wrought-iron Fencing. Repainted every two to three years or whenever rust starts to appear. Wrought iron used as fencing around landscaping is exposed to constant watering. If it is not maintained regularly you will end up replacing entire sections of fencing. Wrought iron rails will probably last longer than fencing because it will be exposed to less water in those areas. However, you will want to paint these areas every three to five years.
Wood Fencing. The average repainting period for wood fencing is between five and seven years. As with any type of fencing, constant exposure to watering causes these areas to deteriorate more rapidly than your eaves and trim.
Wood Trim & Siding. Semi-transparent stains on wood siding will need to be re-coated every two to three years. Solid color stains will last five years, and good 100% acrylic paint in these areas will last five to seven years.
Stucco. If your stucco is not painted you will want to power wash it annually to eliminate the staining that occurs from roof runoff, mildew and pollutants. Power washing may not work for severely stained stucco and may require painting with a good 100 percent acrylic paint.
Plan Ahead. The painting season is rapidly approaching. If you are planning to paint this year, get your paint bids now and book the job. When good weather hits, good painters are hard to find, less price competitive and may not be able to fit you into the schedule.
Federico Filippi
302 N. Cleveland St.
Oceanside, CA. 92054

Laminate Flooring



As if you needed another reason to choose real wood over the faux version, it turns out that some laminate floors may cause cancer. A story that appeared on 60 Minutes a few years back, uncovered dangerous formaldehyde levels with Lumber Liquidators' Chinese-made product that can raise the cancer risk and create or exacerbate other health problems. Lumber Liquidators is a U.S.-based company and the largest and fastest-growing retailer of hardwood flooring in North America, but has manufactured much of its laminate flooring in China.
While the CDC initially reported the risk to be low and "not significant enough to be considered a danger, a revised statement this week noted that their calculations were inaccurate and the risk is significantly higher. "The statement explains that the CDC's indoor air model originally used an incorrect value for ceiling height, leading them to miscalculate health risks about 3 times lower than they should have been," said Medical Daily. 
They put "the risk of cancer (which was originally reported to be 2-9 cases per 100,000 people) ended up being closer to 6-30 cases per 100,000 people."
Last year, Lumber Liquidators suspended sales of its laminate flooring produced in China after the 60 Minutes episode aired. But estimates of the number of households that already have the flooring nationwide are as high as hundreds of thousands.
The 60 Minutes Report
60 Minutes focused its investigation on Denny Larson, executive director of a nonprofit Global Community Monitor, and environmental attorney Richard Drury. "Drury and Larson bought more than 150 boxes of laminate flooring at stores around California and sent them to three certified labs for a series of tests. The results? While laminate flooring from Home Depot and Lowes had acceptable levels of formaldehyde, as did Lumber Liquidators American-made laminates, every single sample of Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators failed to meet California formaldehyde emissions standards. Many by a large margin," they said.

The average formaldehyde level found in Lumber Liquidators' Chinese-made products were more than six to seven times above the state standard for formaldehyde, and we found some that were close to 20 times above the level that's allowed to be sold," they said. In addition to the cancer risk, the CDC put out a new release noting that toxic levels of formaldehyde can also increase the risk of asthma symptoms and other respiratory problems including eye, nose, and throat irritation.
So what should you do if you have these floors installed in your home?
1. Get your floors tested
Benchmark International was one of the two primary laboratories used by 60 Minutes in their recent report, said The Schmidt Firm. "Due to an overwhelming amount of public and professional inquiries, they ask that all professional requests for testing and other services are sent to them by email:
2. Follow the CDC recommendations for lowering your risk of exposure to formaldehyde
  • Keep your house filled with fresh air
  • Avoid smoking indoors (or at all)
  • Keep the home's temperature "at a comfortably low level to avoid too much heat or mold."
3. Consult an Attorney
If anyone in your family has been feeling sick and you suspect your floors are the cause, consult an attorney.
4. Rip 'em out
Which is what many people profiled on 60 minutes have done. But don't expect to have them replaced by the company. There has yet to be a resolution involving replacement from Lumber Liquidators.
Written by Jaymi Naciri on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 1:51 pm 

Serving Oceanside Communities Since 1979
302 N. Cleveland St.
Oceanside, CA. 92054

In order to protect yourself from having a Mechanics Lien attached to your property, have the contractor provide you with a signed lien release form from all subcontractors, labors, and suppliers.

A Mechanics Lien is a "hold against your property”, filed by an unpaid contractor, subcontractor, laborer, or material supplier, and is recorded with the county recorder's office. If unpaid, it allows a foreclosure action, forcing the sale of the property in lieu of compensation.
Any reliable General Contractor will not have in issue with producing these forms.

Federico Filippi

302 N Cleveland St
Oceanside, CA. 92054
Majority Of Home Owners Planning to Renovate

Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they're planning a home renovation of some type within the next six months based on a survey completed by of more than 1,500 home owners.
They're planning to spend more money on their renovations than last year, the survey found.

The most common budget range for home improvements was between $2,001 and $5,000. Eighteen percent who plan to renovate before the end of year are budgeting $10,000 to $20,000 on their renovation.

The most popular areas of the home to renovate are: the kitchen (61%), bathrooms (59%), backyards or patios (33%), and the exterior of the home (32%).
Federico Filippi

302 N Cleveland St
Oceanside, CA. 92054

Buying lights, tile, faucets and even appliances online can make sense, but know what you're getting and don't let delivery costs eat up the savings.
The Pros: You can save hundreds of dollars on an item by searching online for the best price using the model number. Make the Right Decision. Make sure to include shipping costs.
The Cons: If you haven't seen the item in person, it may look different than its online photo. And if it's not what you want or is damaged, returns can be a hassle.The issue with buying items online for home renovation, is you may not receive what you see online. Sizes and colors sometimes differ.
Keep in mind: If you want to buy online, do it far in advance. It could arrive damaged or delayed. Delaying your remodel to save $100 is typically not a savings. Also make sure you know the store's return policy and customer service availability before buying.
Federico Filippi

pierview properties real estate 760-547-5773
302 N Cleveland St
Oceanside, CA. 92054
Make sure you get an itemized bid before you hire a contractor

Excepting an Overall Bid from a contractor instead of an “Itemized Bid”, could be setting yourself up for a large expense at the end of the project. Some contractors will say there are many unknowns. If this is so, have the contractor show you or point out where this may occur. If they can’t show you, then move on and get another bid.
If the project is major, hire a Construction Attorney and have them look at the contract and the entire project. It could save you thousands of dollars in the end. Don’t wait until you have a problem - in the middle of the project. In California keep in mind that ANY Repairs/Construction over $500.00 - A Licensed Contractor MUST be hired to do the work. To Protect Your Interests - the Contractor must also be Bonded.

Demolition and hauling trash
Framing and finish carpentry
Electrical work
Tiling or other floor covering installations
Lighting fixtures
Drywall and painting

Federico Filippi/Webmaster

302 N. Cleveland St.
Oceanside, CA. 92054

 Before You Start That Remodel
get tips on homes -

Get Recommendations
760-547-5773 PIERVIEW PROPERTIES Real  Estate
Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a local building inspector, who'll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, or take a trip to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time. 

Phone Interviews
760-547-5773 PIERVIEW PROPERTIES Real  Estate
Once you've assembled a list, make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:
• Do they take on projects of your size?
• Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
• Can they give you a list of previous clients?
• How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
• How long have they worked with their subcontractors
         Most Important: Are they Currently Licensed and Bonded

Meet With the Contractor - Face to Face 
760-547-5773 PIERVIEW PROPERTIES Real  Estate
Based on your phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. It's crucial that you communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours and days at a time. Don't let personality fool you, and keep in mind that the individual that's coming to your home wants the job! Just because he drives up in a new truck or Mercedes, doesn't mean he will be the best one. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure that you are choosing one that doesn't have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors. You can also check online to make sure they are currently licensed and bonded.

homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773
You now have it down to the top four contractors. Now that you've narrowed your list, call up a few of their former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But don't just rely on that phone call. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner's property? If gates are used, are they locked? 

Blueprints and Bids
homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773
Any conscientious general contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints, but also a true sense of what the homeowner wants out of a project and what they plan to spend. When you are  comparing bids, ask the contractors to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses.  
If they choose and pick what to show you - RUN!

Payment Schedules - Very Important!
homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773
Payment schedules are a must on any project, and can give you an idea of the contractor's financial status and work ethic. In California the law states that the contractor can only receive 10% to start the project. If they want more, they may have financial problems. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 % at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been complete. Even if the project is not that large, be careful how much you give up front.
You will also need to know who will be in charge if the Contractor is not there. Some contractors will be there for the start - and slowly slide away to start other jobs.

Can We Afford That?

homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773
This could be the downfall of your project, and could become an open ATM to some. After you have signed the contract and the project has been started, you decide you want more cabinets in the kitchen. To save yourself possibly hundreds of dollars or maybe more, make sure you go over this with the contractor and then have the contractor write and date the change order up including materials, labor and the time it will add to the project. DO NOT do this over the phone, or have a subcontractor OK the change. Make sure the change order has the Contractors company name, signature and License Number on the order.

Don't Let Price Be Your Guide 
homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773
The low-ball bid, is not always the best bid. This contractor is probably cutting corners or worse, desperate for work which is not in your best interest. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it's better to spend more and get someone you're comfortable with. Remember this individual will be your New roommate for the next few weeks or months.

If It's Not In Writing-Pass!
homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773The Contract needs to be very specific detailing each and every step of the project to include: Payment schedule - Proof of liability insurance and worker's compensation - Start date and projected completion date - Specific materials and products to be used, and also require that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn't pay his bills) from ALL subcontractors and suppliers. 
Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? "While you're at it....
Federico Filippi

homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773

Serving Oceanside Communities Since 1979
BRE #00712580
302 N. Cleveland St.
Oceanside, CA.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association breaks down Kitchen Remodeling Costs like this: 

Design fees: 4%
Installation: 17%
Appliances and ventilation: 14%
Cabinetry and hardware: 29%
Counter-tops: 10%
Lighting: 5%
Flooring: 7%
Doors and windows: 4%
Walls and ceilings: 5%
Faucets and plumbing: 4%
Other: 1%

ALWAYS be sure that your General Contractor is Currently Licensed and Bonded!
Federico Filippi/Webmaster 

302 N Cleveland St
Oceanside, CA. 92054

Friday, January 12, 2018

Over the years I've been asked this question many times: "How much money (Deposit) can a General Contractor ask for at the start of a Home Renovation - Better known as a "Home Improvement Job"? and here is the correct answer. The California Contractors Code states that only $1,000 or 10% of the contract - WHICHEVER IS THE LESSER AMOUNT - Can Legally Be Collected. From that point on the amounts will come as the project is completed. It is in the best interest of the home owner to pay in increments of at least 3 to 4 payments based on how the project is coming along, with the final payment paid - when all inspections have been completed and a final walk through with the contractor and the home owner! ALWAYS check the Contractors Licensing Board for their current license status and make sure they are Bonded!
Federico Filippi

302 N. Cleveland St.
Oceanside, CA.
BRE #00712580
"Serving Oceanside Communities Since 1979"