Selling Your Home: 5 Deal Killers That Are Lurking In Older Homes

You’ve listed your home for sale, you have a Buyer and now their Inspector is performing an inspection. You think you have a pretty good home, but do you really know for sure? What is he finding? Why is it taking so long? Here are 5 deal killers to watch out for when selling your home.

Deal Killer #1: FPE Breaker Boxes. These breakers and breaker boxes are known to have performance issues. They are no longer made, however they were very popular between the 1950′s and 1980′s. Many homes still have them.

Some of the problems were that the breakers would trip but still allow electricity to pass through the breaker. Another issue was that the breaker would not trip at all causing an over current condition which could lead to fires.

Just because the home is 30 years old and you’ve had no problems, don’t expect any Professional Real Estate Inspector to look past a FPE breaker box. The time theory does not hold water with electrical components. In my market, the cost to replace the box with a new 150 amp breaker box is anywhere from $1000 to $2500 depending upon the company and the extent of the work.

Deal Killer #2: Aluminum Wiring: The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts more than copper wiring. So the components meant to be used with Copper wiring did not work well with Aluminum. The Aluminum would work its way loose over time and cause arcing, which lead to excessive heat, which leads to fires.

Even after the alloy was changed in Aluminum wiring, problems still persisted with the wiring.

Special outlets have to be used. These are marked CO/ALR. This means that the outlet is designed to work with either Copper or Aluminum.

“Pigtailing” the Aluminum wiring with Copper so that the Copper wiring can be attached to the outlets (remember, less expansion and contraction” is allowed by the National Electrical Code. No one is sure why. The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not see ‘pigtailing’ as a safe alternative.

Rewiring the home can be costly. The total price depends on to many variables to give you a price range here.

Deal Killer #3: Asbestos: Asbestos was used in many building materials and is still used in a very few even today.

Areas a Seller or Buyer will have to worry about it are in a few places. Pipe insulation on older heating pipes, vermiculite insulation, some paints and to a lesser extent, on roof and siding shakes.

Asbestos causes the most problem when it is in a loose state (friable) where particles can float around. We’re all aware of the health problems concerning Asbestos, so I’m not going to go into them here.

If you have Asbestos siding or roofing shakes/shingles, then there is a lesser worry because these are not friable unless broken.

Asbestos removal can be very, very costly and not likely a cost a new buyer will want to tackle shortly after moving into their new home.

Deal Killer #4: Composition Wood Siding: Some of this type of siding is known by it’s generic terms like Masonite and LP siding (there are other brands). This type of siding was (and some are still) involved in class action lawsuits.

This type of siding is basically constructed from pressed and glued wood particles, some as small as sawdust.

Some of the problems arise from poor installation techniques that allowed this siding to get wet. It would then start rotting and letting more water into the structure.

There have been many homeowners who joined the class action lawsuits, received money to replace the siding, but instead pocketed it and put their homes up for sale.

Composition wood siding companies only pay once for siding on a home. If a claim has been filed and paid out on a home, there’ll be no more money coming down the pipe for siding replacement on that particular home!

Deal Killer #5: Polybutylene (PB) plumbing lines: These are water supply lines that are grayish in color.

The problem was that this type of piping is known to burst, especially at the seams. Many of the class action lawsuits have been closed and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to receive any money for replacement if the home you are buying has PB plumbing.

Replacement cost can be in the thousands of dollars. Any good home inspector will call this out on their inspection report and likely recommend a licensed plumber to investigate. I don’t know of one reputable plumber who will recommend keeping the pipes in your home.

Granted, many of these Deal Killers only exist on older homes. However, especially in rural areas, we’ve seen these components show up on newer homes. How, I don’t know unless someone had a stockpile of these materials.

A pre-listing inspection by a reputable and qualified home inspector will bring these Deal Killers and other potential deal killing threats to you attention before listing your home. Playing ignorant about what is in your home (like some real estate agents recommend) will not save you from having to fork over some greenbacks before you home will sell.

How to Leverage Video to Market Your Business

It is reported that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, used by almost 47% of Australians. Given the enormous use of Search by consumers these days, these facts alone should convince you that video really should be a part of your marketing mix. If not, this article may convince you – plus it provides tips on how to really maximise video for marketing and make it work hard for you.

Don’t tell me SHOW me.

Apart from the cold hard facts, there’s the human element. Video is eye-catching, it can help you stand out from the crowd and draw in potential customers. Video can clearly define your business and in a succinct, much more interesting way then text. And importantly, video can bring faces, voices, personality and heart to your operation, while also demonstrating your authenticity. So if a picture speaks a thousand words, a video speaks a million!

Spread the word. Strike that… Spread the video!

Like any content, video can be shared easily to help spread the word about your products and services. Create a YouTube channel and embed your YouTube videos in your website, blog and all social channels. Links between your YouTube channel and website can boost your rank in search engine results, as can the added visitor count if your video encourages viewers to visit your website.

What Kind of Content?

Different types of content work for different types of businesses, here is a list of ideas to get you started:

  1. Success stories – bring case studies to life.
  2. A brief company intro or value proposition video.
  3. Product demonstrations (even for simple products).
  4. Interviews or Q&As with your CEO, clients, industry experts etc.
  5. Record any external conference or seminar presentations you give.
  6. Product reviews and testimonials – check out Bravo to capture user generated content.
  7. “How-to” videos or short tutorials, eg. if your business sells child safety equipment, create a video on how to child proof the home featuring your products.
  8. A video tour of your premises – if this acts as a selling point or benefit for customers, then show them.
  9. Introduce users to staff that have consumer contact, such as customer service – it’s nice to put a face to a voice.
  10. Record internal training presentations – this content could be valuable for both consumers AND staff. Important company announcements – don’t just post an update or press release.

What about production?

Your videos don’t have to be big Hollywood productions to be engaging and effective. In fact, you should focus more effort on video planning & marketing, than video production. You don’t need to use expensive camera equipment or even record in HD when for the web. It’s possible your web cam or smartphone will do the job just fine. And in terms of editing, YouTube offers its own free video editor, Windows Movie Maker is bundled with Windows, and iMovie with Macs.

Here are seven tips for creating your own videos:

  1. Short is sweet – and definitely no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Focus on first 10 seconds – engage viewers from the very start.
  3. Work to a topic guideline, not a script.
  4. Maintain a fairly fast pace to keep the content punchy and interesting to watch.
  5. Lighting is important. (Avoid windows behind you).
  6. Camera shy? Try Animoto or screen capture such as Ezvid.
  7. Include a call to action.

Share, post, blog, tweet, update…

Once you’ve created your video content promote it everywhere! Upload to video sharing sites – YouTube (see below), Blip.tv, Vimeo, Viddler, Metacafe – post on Facebook, tweet on you know where, share on LinkedIn. You can even (and should) embed videos in your email marketing. And encourage your staff to promote via their network and social channels. To reiterate, you should focus more effort on video marketing rather than video production.

Leverage YouTube – it’s free!

Nowadays YouTube is much more than an entertainment channel to watch funny cat videos or hear Harry announcing that Charlie bit his finger. It’s a powerful (and cost effective) communication tool so be sure to create a YouTube channel for your business. And like all your web content, your YouTube videos must be optimised.

  1. Give your video a title that includes your strongest keyword (relevant to the content).
  2. Complete the description with a short synopsis of what the video entails, including keywords and a link.
  3. Use tags that are true to the content of your video and include your business name too.
  4. Because consumers won’t necessarily be watching your video on your channel, embed your logo via YouTube’s Channel Settings (InVideo Programming).
  5. And maximise links to your website from your YouTube channel.

In summary if you run a business or manage the marketing for one, there’s a lot of compelling evidence suggesting that online video marketing should be a part of your marketing activity.

For more advice, or assistance with your marketing get in touch via our website or call 03 9504 6216.

Starting A Window Washing Business Is Easy If You Eliminate Distractions

Today I wanted to discuss something that is sure to cause some disagreement perhaps. But what’s life without a little controversy, right? :o )

I’m going to challenge the myth out there that basically goes like this:

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”

To explain this statement in case someone has not heard this, it basically means to spread yourself out thereby spreading the risk, so if one revenue stream dries up, you have others to fall back on. Sounds good in theory.

In my window washing business, I bought into this “multiple eggs” philosophy for many, many years. I was always doing at least a half dozen different businesses or money making ventures at once. A little network marketing, a few insurance sales, some credit card selling, a bit of travel fundraising, let’s throw in some paralegal work, etc. etc. It doesn’t work! Sure a little income comes in here and a little income comes in there, but the operative word is “little”. Can you imagine the results if 100% of the time spent was in ONE business-my window cleaning business?

So I’m here to say “hogwash” on having a bunch of different eggs.

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Put ALL Your Eggs in One Basket

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This is contrary to what many, many people believe these days but if you’ll allow me to expand on it, I think you’ll understand the point I’m trying to make here.

So to back up for a second, the first thing we need to do is determine whether the window washing business is a profitable business.

Is it?

Well…let’s look at the facts.

The window washing business will never go away and dry up. Through recessions, boom years, slow home building years, etc. etc, it’ll always be an in-demand business filled with customers who refuse to clean their own glass and won’t hesitate to hire professionals to do it for them. This business year in and year out will continuously be a profit generating machine.

Yes, the window washing business is a very profitable business.

So knowing this, why would we want to dilute our efforts in making this business the strongest it can be?

I talked to one of my students a couple days ago who routinely brings in $400 to $600 per day six days a week and is begging for the phone to STOP ringing. In it less than a year. This is executive type money. I know people who don’t make $600 in a WEEK. He focused and worked on this one revenue stream. Fast forward a few short months and bingo!

So again, is the window cleaning business profitable? Without a doubt.

Let’s look at an opposite situation.

A few months ago, someone bought my window washing program just to stick his feet in the window cleaning business and try it out. I had an opportunity to check out his website. He was selling a bunch of stuff and doing some network marketing all from this one site. And he decided to bring in window washing as another revenue stream. When we spoke, he told me his time was limited. Of course it is. It’s obviously going to be limited with him trying to get multiple businesses up and running.

How successful can this individual really be since he can’t devote quality time to promoting his window washing business? He certainly won’t be seeing the results he could be seeing by eliminating the other two businesses and focusing only on windows.

Something has to give. We only have so much time during the course of each day, right?

I understand of course that some folks get started part-time in the window washing business. They usually work a main job and get window washing going at the same time on a part-time basis. Great. But they are usually able to devote “quality” time promoting their window washing business once they’re off the clock from their other job.

For folks doing multiple businesses and working multiple eggs though, it’s hard to spend “quality” promotional effort on just one thing. Because where does one business end and the other begin? It doesn’t. Everything kind of blends together with the owner/operator trying to juggle all of it at once. It’s real tough to do and usually results in an across the board decrease of your total income.

We need to focus on one thing, build it, and then expand from within. I wish I would have followed this advice. Most of my students don’t know this, but even in the middle of my window washing business which was absolutely booming, I decided to invest in an unrelated business. It was a colossal failure.

I bought an asset protection business. A bunch of time, money, and resources was devoted to it. And guess what? The time and money spent in asset protection was taken directly from my window washing business. So what happened? Both businesses suffered. Eventually I saw the writing on the wall and kicked asset protection to the curb and refocused 100% on my window washing business. It was soon back to where it was before my asset protection purchase. Almost immediately the calls increased and so did the profits.

A more recent story involves The Customer Factor which is my window cleaning software. There are sooooo many distractions online. You can spend 4 hours online before you know it and then wonder where the time went. These distractions got in the way of me building new features into The Customer Factor regularly. So what happened? Well, although new members signed up, they didn’t sign up with the same frequency that they did during the first year of the program’s existence.

But as soon as I recommitted to investing into and growing The Customer Factor, a funny thing happened. My signups went through the roof. So although I’m in front of my computer 7 days a week 12 to 14 hours a day, what I do now is check email and work on The Customer Factor along with spending some time posting window washing articles. Total focus with no more distractions.

Back to the window washing business…So we’ve determined the biz is profitable, right? You have the tools to make it grow. So Grow it! Focus on it! Then once you have the calls continuously coming in, and customers are lining up for your window cleaning service, then perhaps it’s time to look at offering a related biz like pressure washing or blind cleaning. Expand from within. You’ve already got the customer base so provide ‘em another service.

But window cleaning and asset protection? Nah…not a good combo. :o ) I was a biz opp addict who always needed to build additional revenue streams. No regrets because it’s all a learning experience, but sometimes I think about how much faster I would have seen success if I just spent 100% of my time, money, and effort on one thing instead of splitting time, money, and effort in half or into thirds or even into fourths with unrelated businesses.

So if you are trying to create multiple revenue streams, I encourage you look at it objectively and ask yourself if it’s going well. Think how much farther ahead you would be if you focused only on your window washing business. Spend your valuable time and resources on this business. Yes, you may only see one revenue stream, but it’ll be one outstanding and profitable stream. :o )

Again, windows aren’t going anywhere. And they keep on building more. And they keep on getting dirty. So the only way this revenue stream would ever dry up or diminish is if you spread yourself out therefore spending too little time working in and growing your window washing business.