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Home Owner News Archive


How do building codes work?

Building codes set minimum public-safety standards for such things as building design, construction, use and occupancy, and maintenance. The codes are established and enforced by local politicians and government officials, who also tend to modify them constantly. The codes are usually enforced by denying permits, occupancy certificates, and by imposing ...


What is a variance?

It is a request made to your local jurisdiction to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, a variance will allow you to use your land in a way that is normally not permitted by the zoning ordinance. ...


How can I find out how my property is zoned?

Zoning ordinances and maps are a matter of public record. Visit your local zoning office, city hall, or some other local planning board and get a copy of your local ordinance. ...


What do zoning regulations do?

Zoning is the government's way of controlling the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each individual property may be put. ...


Is there such a thing as “over improving”?

Yes. The last thing you want to do when undertaking a home improvement is go overboard. This means fixing up the home to the point where it becomes worth far more than nearby neighborhood properties. ...


What kind of return can I expect from home improvements?

Some improvements offer a greater return than others do. This will vary greatly depending on the type of work you have done. Remodeling magazine publishes an annual "Cost vs. Value Report'' that can answer this question in more detail, based on the top 15 home improvements. A recent study it ...


Are there ways to save money when adding new space to my home?

The direction in which you build can make all the difference. Experts say building up is normally less expensive than building out on the ground level. Adding an expensive wing or addition requires a new foundation. It is less costly to extend plumbing and other mechanical systems upward, as opposed ...


When should I tackle the job myself or call in the pros?

A lot will depend on your time, level of expertise or willingness to handle the job, amount of help from friends or relatives, and how much you want, or need, to save by doing the job yourself. You could save up to 20 percent of the project cost through your ...


What should I consider once I decide to add on?

If you must construct new space, ask yourself the following questions: ...


What should I weigh before considering an addition to my home?

Thoroughly assess your space. You may find you have the room you need, particularly if there is unused or under utilized areas in your home. Perhaps a garage, attic, side porch, or basement can be converted to fit the use you have in mind. Or, maybe, a small area can ...


What are the main reasons why homeowners remodel?

There are many reasons. Home remodeling can improve the appearance of your home, enhance its value, add to your quality of life, and appeal to future homebuyers. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, the top four reasons homeowners remodel is to obtain more space, ...


How much, on average, can I expect to spend on maintenance?

Expect to spend one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance. ...


What about the unseen problems like toxic gases?

Problems with your chimney, mechanical devices on your heating appliance, and pressure within the home can all cause combustion spillage, the unwanted flow of combustion gases into your home. Present in these gases are toxic elements such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. ...


Is there anything I should pay special attention to regarding home maintenance?

From the very beginning, get in the habit of taking an inventory at least once every year of every nook and cranny of your home to check for potential problems. Examine the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring - basically everything. Try to fix trouble spots as soon as you uncover ...


Is it true you never really stop fixing up a home?

From the day you move in to the day you sell your home, there will always be something that will need to be repaired or remodeled. You may want to undertake some changes simply to elevate your comfort level - like installing central air conditioning - or spruce up the ...