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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.

Freelance Photography: How to Begin Your Career

Photography is a vast world. There are many different types of photography and many different kinds of people that enjoy it. It’s a hobby that be relatively inexpensive or one that you can invest a lot of money on. Photos are so special because they give us memories of times and places and events in our lives. We can hold onto these memories forever with a photograph.As much as people love photos, many people love taking them even more. Whether it’s a mother who takes photos at every of her children’s moments in life (first smile, first step, first spaghetti meal) or maybe it’s the father who never forgets his camera for a football or basketball game, or maybe it’s the young girl who loves nature hikes with her camera; these people are not exceptions. They all have an eye for those special moments and they all appreciate the camera’s ability to capture that moment and freeze it in time forever.- What is Freelance Photography?What if you love photography so much you wish you could do it for a living? I mean, you actually get paid for your photographs! But you work solely for yourself, selling each photo or series of photos individually. You don’t have a boss. You work sometimes on assignment and you may sell to magazines. That is freelance photography.Freelance photography may be your entire career or it may start out as something you do in your spare time but begin making money from it. It’s just like freelance writing in this sense that many people turn it into a career and enjoy the freedom of working essentially for themselves on their own time and making money doing something they love doing anyway.- How to Build a PortfolioTo start getting jobs as a freelance photographer, you need a portfolio. A portfolio will show samples of your work. Even if you have never had photographs published or publicly displayed, you can start a portfolio of your best work and then add onto it if you win photography contests or start receiving paid work.- How to Get JobsAs we mentioned, building a portfolio is the first step in submitting your work for pay but when it comes right down to it, it’s the quality of the photo that will determine if you get paid for it. Some people have more of a natural talent for taking great pictures than others but it is a skill that anyone can learn. There are schools dedicated to the art of photography and you can even get a degree in it. If you are just getting started, you can look into classes provided by your local community center or community college. Some cities have photography groups that meet to share photos and tips. There are also many groups online dedicated to photography and freelance photography.You need to view as many famous photographs as possible. Take a look at what is getting published and compare it to your own photos. This allows you to compare and learn from other’s work. It takes more than just point and shoot to get a great photo. You need to learn about focus, lighting, colors and backgrounds and much more.Once you start learning about photography and creating a portfolio, you can start submitting your photos to contests and magazines. Get a list of photography markets and start submitting to ones that accept your type of photos. Don’t expect to make it to the big times right away. Few people actually achieve this but you can start small and eventually make your way into a nice living from freelance photography.