Before you Buy Appliances, Read This

This time of year, you can often find great deals on home appliances. Big box stores are clearing out older models to make room for next year’s newest refrigerators, ovens and washing machines. How do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel on your current appliances, rather than contact a repair man?

Below is a guide to how long home appliances should last, on average. The lifespan of contemporary models varies a little based on use, but if you have an appliance on the fritz that is nearing the end of an average lifespan, it may be a sounder investment to purchase a new one, rather than make a temporary fix. Read on for basic information on the life of your appliances.

THE BIG STUFF

Furnace ….. Should last 15-20 Years ….. Cost to Replace $3500-4000

Water Heater ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace $800-1000

Air Conditioner ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace $5000-6000

Roof ….. Should last 20-30 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $6000-8000

PLUMBING

Pipes ….. Should last 75-100 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1200-2000

Shower ….. Should last 20 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $800-1200

Toilet ….. Should last 10 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $350-550

APPLIANCES

Microwave ….. Should last 8-10 Years ….. Cost to Replace $250-350

Dishwasher ….. Should last 8-10 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $600-800

Trash Compactor ….. Should last 5-6 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $500-600

Oven ….. Should last 13-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1000-2000

Fridge ….. Should last 12-14 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1500-2000

Washer + Dryer ….. Should last 10-13 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1000-1800

OTHER

Garage Door Opener ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $300-500

Garbage Disposal ….. Should last 10-12 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $400-600

Electrical ….. Should last 10-12 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1300-$2000

Swamp Cooler ….. Should last 15-20 Years ….. $2500-3500

Whether you’re looking for a reliable repair service, the best place to score a deal on a new stainless fridge, or advice on whether to update appliances before you put your house on the market, I’m here to help. Call or drop a line to let me know how I can be of service.

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

 

 

 

 

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The Right Way to Work With Contractors

Contractors 2

If you own your home, you’ve probably considered various projects to bring it up-to-date or to upgrade your kitchen, a bathroom, your yard, flooring, etc. While this time of year is a slower season for contractors, in general, there are people who plan projects just before the holidays to wow upcoming house guests, or just to treat themselves to an extra special Christmas gift. This is also the time of year to begin planning projects for next Spring, as this is the busy season for most contractors and you’ll want your project to be on their schedule before they’re all booked up.

Whether you are a newbie to working with a contractor or have completed major renovations with the help of a contractor and/or team of professionals, there are ways to ensure the outcome is positive for both sides. Read on for tips on working with your contractor the right way.

GET RECOMMENDATIONS. Talk to friends and family, neighbors, the folks at the hardware store, building inspectors, the lumber yard, and of course the Realtor who helped you purchase your home.

WEED OUT ANY BAD SEEDS ON THE PHONE. Once you have a list of potential contractors, call each of them with the following questions:

  • Can you give me a list of previous clients?
  • Do you typically accept projects of this size?
  • How many other projects would you have going at the same time as mine?
  • How long have you worked with your subcontractors?
  • Are you available during my preferred timeline?

MEET YOUR TOP 3-4 PICKS IN PERSON. This is when your contractor will take measurements to offer an estimate, and this is your chance to ask questions and get to them a little better. Your rapport with a general contractor matters, and you should be comfortable asking any and all questions (including ‘do you have any concerns about my project’) understanding the timeline and process, and finding out if you are a good fit personally.

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Follow up with references the contractor provides you, check them out with the Better Business Bureau, and if possible — visit a current job site. These or other folks on the team will be in your home if you hire this team, and you’ll want to watch for behavior that seems courteous and careful of the workspace; this is, after all, someone’s home.

DON’T SETTLE FOR A LESS-THAN-IDEAL CANDIDATE BASED ON TIMING. If you come across an amazing contractor, chances are he or she will not be available on your timeline; contractors with stellar reputations and references probably keep a full calendar, and they aren’t waiting for the phone to ring. Once you’ve interviewed a few candidates, don’t settle for the one with the soonest available slot in an effort to hurry your project up. If your top pick has a two year waiting list, you may not be willing to wait that long, but if you settle for a contractor who is less than ideal but has the time, you may not be happy with the finished product.

REQUEST ITEMIZED BIDS FROM YOUR SHORT LIST. For a true cost comparison, ask each contractor you interview in person to provide an itemized bid. This will allow you to compare labor vs. materials. It’s a good idea, if you are considering a variety of materials or finished, to ask for a bid that includes these options. Concrete counter tops vs. marble, hardwood floors vs. luxury wood look vinyl, oak cabinets vs. cherry — a savvy contractor can give you a ballpark idea of how the project cost will vary based on material selection.

CONSIDER MORE THAN PRICE. Some of the best advice you can follow in terms of contractors — or any service provider: Throw out the lowball bid. If one bid is significantly lower than the others, there is reason for it, and probably not one that serves your interests in the long run. You don’t want a contractor who is flat broke, or may cut corners to get your job done. Either that or additional costs will pop up along the way and you’ll be unpleasantly surprised at the final cost of your project, compared to the initial bid. If a bid seems to good to be true — it probably is.

SET A PAYMENT SCHEDULE. A typical payment schedule is 10% up front, 25/25/25 during the project, and the remaining 15% when you consider every detail of the project to be in place as promised. A contractor who wants 50% up front, or whose payment schedule makes you uncomfortable in any way, is probably one to avoid.

GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Casual conversations do not make for great legal protection. If you discuss a change or addition to the project or the terms of your agreement with the contractor, get it in writing, with signatures and dates from each party involved. Don’t be afraid to ask for an addendum to the contract; a trustworthy contractor will follow through on his or her word, but if a misunderstanding or dispute should arise at any point, you don’t want to rely on either party’s recollection of a conversation — you’ll want clear terms in writing that all parties have agreed to. A solid professional will want this as well.

If you need a referral to a quality contractor (or a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, plumber, etc.), I’m happy to help! I’ve been helping Denver-area residents Buy, Sell and Invest for over 20 years, and I’d love to put my professional phonebook to work for you.

Drop me a line,

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

 

 

 

 

Your June Home Maintenance Checklist

With the first day of Summer nearly here, it’s time to get started on your June home maintenance checklist. Many of these tasks are DIY-able with a little help from the interwebs, but if you’d like a referral to a trustworthy pro, I’m happy to provide a reference.

  1. Clean the dryer vent pipe.
  2. Prune shrubs around your Central Air unit; ensure it is level.
  3. Replace AC filter. 
  4. Clean and inspect AC condensation drain line. 
  5. Spray or leave traps for Summertime pests.
  6. Test and adjust sprinkler system.
  7. Wash exterior windows. 
  8. Inspect/clean/repair window screens. 
  9. Pressure wash exterior surfaces/sidewalk/driveway.
  10. Clean and maintain the grill. 

grill

Are you considering Buying or Selling a home in the Denver area this Summer, or this year? Give me a ring – I’d love to represent you in our fast-paced marketplace.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

 

Increase the Value of Your Home on a Shoestring

You can add a wing to the manse to add value, but if you’re short on butlers (or bucks), there are minor improvements you can make to increase the value of your home. These tips are great for staging to sell, a spring home refresher, or any time minor  home improvements.

  • Purchase new shades for lamps, and do a bit of research on the right bulb for healthy + happy lighting in each particular room. Some spaces benefit from bright, cool light, some are better with warm pools of light. A lampshade switcharoo and the right bulb in lamps or overhead lighting can make a big difference.
  • Add sparkle to cabinets and cupboards with new hardware. Cabinet pulls and drawer pulls are the jewelry of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and can upgrade the look of the room for just a few bucks.
  • Paint is one of the fastest, cheapest, easiest ways to add value to your home. If you’re planning to sell in the near future, go neutral. If you’re staying put for awhile, go as bold as you want!
  • Plant a tree, shrub or flower bed. Just as good? Trim overgrown bushes or invest a little time in your lawn.
  • Purchase a new kitchen faucet. You can modernize the look of the entire room with this small change.
  • Buy a new rug for your living room, dining room or master bedroom. Make sure you purchase the right size rug for your furniture layout and the space available.
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubs. This boosts the cleanliness factor and can make the room feel newer.

Need advice on which projects to tackle before you list your home, or which projects are the best long term investment? Give me a call – I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Spring Lawn Care

Nothing says “I love my home” like a well kept lawn. 

hand lawn

Seasonal transitions mean it’s time to treat your lawn to a little something extra, and if you’d like to be the envy of your block and the pride of your HOA, now is the time to take care of business in your yard.

5 Tips on Caring for Spring Lawns: 

spring lawn

  1. Hold your horses! Don’t aerate until your lawn is mostly green; tackling this task too early can damage young grass shoots.
  2. Rake it like you mean it. Dead grass, leaves, and other detritus can put a choke-hold on your lawn, slowing new growth and preventing proper moisture absorption + evaporation. Give your yard a thorough combing, or hire a power raking pro.
  3. This is your lawn on ACID… Winter conditions can increase the pH level of your soil, making it too acidic for grass to thrive. Spend a few bucks for a soil testing kit to determine the acidity level in your yard, and if levels are high, spread a bit of lime to balance out the acid.
  4. Did you fertilize in the fall? If so, your grass is likely still happily processing the nutrients you applied at that time. If not, consider fertilizing now to prepare your lawn for the growth season.
  5. Pre-treat for weeds. This step is ideal for fall, which lets you prevent gnarly weeds before they happen. It’s not too late for a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring, but apply sparingly: you don’t want to harm tender young grass. Tackling weeds before they spread will mean fewer full grown weeds in summer.

Do you need a referral to a lawn care specialist or other home pro? I’ve been in the biz for 22+ years, and I’ve got a guy for just about every home-related task. Just ask!

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Maintain Thy House

Any time the season changes, it’s time to go through a seasonal maintenance checklist. Keeping up with regular maintenance tasks in and around your home saves money and provides peace of mind. Avoiding basic home maintenance can end up costing you big time – and come back to haunt you as “deferred maintenance issues” when it’s time to sell your home. #justdoit

The 10 Commandments of Springtime Home Maintenance

  1. Inspect thy roof. Conduct a visual inspection of the roof, using binoculars or the zoom feature on your phone to get a closer look. If you see missing shingles or anything suspicious, call in a roofing pro for an inspection.
  2. Beware regional pests. Examine the exterior of your home as well as attic and basement for pest issues. Get a jump on concerns before the weather really heats up, and call in an expert if you don’t know what kind of creepy crawly you’re dealing with or how to get rid of it.
  3. Reseal thine exterior woodwork. Wood decking, fencing, trellises, shutters, etc. will hold up longer and stay looking great with a fresh coat of stain or sealant every 12-14 months. This is also a great time to repair or replace damaged exterior woodwork.
  4. Clean thy gutters and downspouts. It’s not a fun job, but it’s a necessary one. Ignore this task at your home’s peril. Backed up gutters can cause the eaves to rot, allowing critters in and leading to further damage. Downspouts lead water away from the house; if they’re not flowing freely and in the right direction, your home’s foundation could be compromised. If you aren’t up to the task, hire someone to get the job done for you.
  5. Thou shalt inspect your driveway. Freezing moisture and temperature extremes can cause driveway damage, and damage that starts small can grow over time. If you notice widening cracks or crumbling sections of your driveway, talk to an asphalt or concrete pro about repair or replacement options.
  6. Thou shalt give thy sprinkler and irrigation system a run through. Before summer weather hits, turn your sprinkler and/or irrigation system on and check all zones. Make sure all of the sprinkler heads are in good shape, and adjust spray to hit the appropriate targets in your yard – not the house or street.
  7. Thou shalt deny mosquitoes free breeding grounds. As weather warms, standing water in your yard, in bird feeders or even pooled in natural low spots provides ideal conditions for mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can carry diseases and they’re just plain gross – don’t give them free rent in your yard! Fill in low spots in your landscaping where water collects, and consider dry landscape features or those with moving water, which discourages mosquito growth.
  8. Thou shalt inspect all windows, patio doors and screens. Before bugs are rampant, replace or repair damaged screens. Check window glass, sealant, and tracks. Now is a great time to have windows professionally cleaned as well, allowing more sunlight in and making your home sparkle from the street.
  9. Thou shalt schedule AC service. Central air conditioning can be expensive to run, and it is definitely expensive to replace. You’ll get more life out of your system if you have it inspected and maintained once a year. Don’t assume it’s in great shape just because it makes cold air. It may not be operating at peak performance, which means money down the drain and less life out of the system.
  10. Thou shalt invest in thy lawn.  Depending on the current condition and make-up of your lawn and landscaping, springtime calls for various treatments to set your lawn and plants up for success throughout the growing season of spring, the heat of summer and the cooler temps of autumn.

With a seasonal checklist in hand, you can knock out quarterly home maintenance over the course of a week, or in a single afternoon. Tackling these chores helps keep your single largest tangible investment – your home – in excellent shape and can help you avoid the complicated problems and higher costs that sometimes accompany deferred maintenance.

Do you need a referral to a qualified service pro, or advice on which issues to tackle before putting your home on the market? Give me a call or drop a line, I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

How Long Does That Last?

How Long Does That Last: Home Edition

Most home buyers purchase a property intending to live there for awhile. Ideally, the accessories that keep life in our homes running smoothly will last, too. But nothing lasts forever, and the major systems and appliances we use every day (and sometimes take for granted) – will eventually wear out.

Read on for a guide to how long you can expect most of the systems in your home to last, and what you can expect to pay for replacement.

Microwave. This small appliance sees a lot of use in most homes, and not surprisingly it’s one of the first to go. A quality microwave will last 9 years on average, and a professional model will run in the $300 neighborhood, depending on functions, features, mounting and whether your kitchen features a built-in microwave/ventilation system.

Dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand is so 1965! Chances are good you could work a kitchen sponge and a bottle of dish soap every day if you had to, but busy lives demand conveniences like dishwashers. You can expect yours to last about 9 years and cost $568 on average to replace.

Electrical. Internal wiring, lighting, outlets – these things are easy to ignore, but over the course of 10 years on average, the electrical system in your home will begin to show its age. Average upgrade/replacement cost around that time is between $1300-1400.

Garage Door Opener. Your garage door itself may require minor repairs from time to time, but the garage door opener should last 10-15 years. At that point, replacement costs $319 on average.

Toilet. Your loo should provide excellent service for about 10 years, at which point you’ll shell out $350 bucks or so for a new model.

Water Heater. A traditional tank system water heater will wear out after 10-15 years. A new one will set you back close to $900. Tankless water heaters cost $1500 + on average and last about 20 years, but with 30% of a home’s energy bills spent warming the water in your traditional tank system, the initial investment may pay off over time.

Garbage Disposal. With normal use, your garbage disposal will last about 12 years. A replacement costs $400. These tips will help you keep your disposal ship shape for as long as possible.

repair

Oven. The heart of your kitchen, you can expect your oven to bake your cookies, cakes, lasagnas and meat loaf to perfection for 13-15 years. Average replacement cost is $1000, but if you have caviar and champagne tastes, you can certainly spend more.

Washer & Dryer. A new set will last 10-13 years. Replacement for a pair, top or front load washer, averages $1000.

Fridge. There are several simple ways to extend the life of your refrigerator. Without extenuating measures, the average fridge will last 13 years. Replacement cost is $1500.

Air Conditioner. 10-15 years is a typical lifespan for an air conditioning unit; replacing this system will cost between $5,000-5,500. If your central air goes out and your are short of funds, consider these alternatives.

Furnace. Surprisingly, the average furnace lasts longer and costs significantly less to replace than the air conditioning system. Modern furnaces live 15-20 years and replacing this system will cost an average of $3880.

Roof. The average roof will last 20-30 years, a figure largely impacted by the region in which you live, which determines factors like weather and pests. Replacement costs hover around an average of $6,600 and change nationally. If you live in an area known for termites or challenging weather, periodic inspections by a qualified roofing pro can help you head off costlier issues at the pass.

Pipes. The record for system in your home most likely to outlive all the rest is, of course, pipes. With an impressive lifespan of 75-100 years, the pipes in the floor, ceilings and walls of your home will likely last a very long time – especially if your home was constructed in the last 10-20 years. Replacement cost averages $1,193 nationally.

Whether you are wondering which items to service or repair in advance of selling your home, considering investing in upgrades or you need a qualified professional in your neck of the woods, drop me a line. I’m here to advise in any way I can, and with many years in Denver real estate, chances are I know someone in the right line of work to assist on your next home project.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate