Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Difference Between Condos, Townhomes and Patio Homes

Condos, townhomes and patio homes are a great option for someone looking for an affordable home, those looking to downsize, or an empty-nester who plans on frequent travel. Buying a smaller home requires less maintenance and expenses which can free up your time and resources. Here are the advantages and drawbacks to each type of property from our Littleton Real Estate Agent.

Condos in Littleton

Condominiums are much like apartments, where other units may be above, below, or to either side of you. A condo owner owns the walls and the space inside those walls and has no land rights nor airspace rights above the unit. Parking is typically not attached to the property but a reserved space or detached garage is assigned to the unit. In a condo there is a lack of storage space, so it is important that you make sure your furniture fits before you buy. Condo owners must abide by the HOA guidelines, which may restrict what you put in the window or hang off the balcony. Typically, you will share multiple walls with neighbors so you have to be considerate of them and hope that they show you the same respect by not playing loud music in the middle of the night. Pet owners should consider whether a condo is a suitable home for their furred and feathered friends. Read the HOA’s rules as many condos have limits on how many pets, what type and what sizes are allowed. The advantages of buying a condo in Littleton CO are that you will not have to mow a lawn or take care of exterior maintenance. In Littleton, the typical condo community offers a nice swimming pool and fitness facility. In a complex with a pool and gym, it’s like having a gym membership included. Most condo complexes have some level of security. Controlled access makes it easier to lock your condo and take off for that two-month vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Condos are also the most affordable option of homes in Littleton.

Townhomes in Littleton

In a townhome, the owner typically owns the ground beneath the home and the airspace above the home. In essence, no one has the right to build above or below your unit, unlike the rights to a condo. Although most people consider a townhouse to be two or more stories, that is not always the case. Townhomes typically share common walls to either side with other units but never above or below. You still have to worry about neighbors, but not as many as a condo. Parking may be attached to the unit or it may be assigned somewhere on the property. HOA guidelines regulate what you can and cannot do in a townhome, so you will also want to make sure there are no HOA rules that you can’t abide by. Pet owners should also make sure they allow furry friends. Townhomes in Littleton offer many of the advantages of condos for example you will typically have a small backyard. The small yard is one reason pet owners prefer a townhome over a condo. Desert landscaping or using pavers instead of grass works great for low maintenance backyards. Townhomes are generally large in size so there are more storage options. The HOA may or may not provide exterior maintenance such as roof, exterior paint, and front landscaping so read the HOA docs before buying. Like a condo, many townhome complexes in Littleton CO will a community pool and fitness facility.

Patio Homes in Littleton

Patio homes are detached, freestanding units but typically very close together. They are also referred to as garden homes, lock & leave, and detached townhomes. Parking is usually a part of the unit itself and most will include an attached garage. Most patio homes are part of a homeowner’s association so all rules and regulations must be abided by including the quantity of pets you own. Parking an RV, boat or other recreational vehicle on the premises isn’t allowed in most of the HOAs. They are also the costliest out of all the options, but also the most like a single family home. On a positive note, patio homes offer privacy and usually an adequate amount of storage space. Patio homes can range in size from just a few square feet, to sprawling floor plans. Most have a small front and backyard space just like a typical home so you won’t feel as claustrophobic as in a condo space. Usually the maintenance such as your yard and exterior cleaning are covered in the HOA dues, which makes it perfect for a those who like to go on long vacations.

The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring can be a beautiful choice for your kitchen. It can provide a classic and timeless look to any home. However, kitchens are often high traffic areas in the home that undergo the abuse of daily activities. Is it a logical choice to have hardwood in your kitchen?

Pros of installing hardwood flooring in your kitchen:

Hardwood has an authentic and cozy feel. It can also add warmth to the space. Also, they are a popular choice among homeowners and can add value to your space. According to Home Flooring Pros, “some home flooring pros believe that it will bring back 2+ times its cost when you sell.”

Hardwood floors offer a versatile aesthetic and can be paired seamlessly with almost any type of home decor that you choose. Many people choose this flooring in their kitchen often do so to maintain a consistent look throughout their entire home-or downstairs portion.

This flooring can be long lasting with the right care and maintenance. Hardwood can be easily cleaned when there are stains and spills, as opposed to carpeting. Every ten years or so, hardwood flooring should be sanded and re-finished, which can repair any scratches and make your floors look good as new.

Cons of installing hardwood flooring in your kitchen:

This option of kitchen flooring can can be a pricy investment. Hardwood flooring can cost as much as $5-$12 per square foot-or even more depending on the type of wood selected. Additionally, this flooring will occasionally need re-sanding and refinishing; which is another added cost on top of the initial installation price.

Hardwood flooring is extremely susceptible to water damage. The worst type of damage is one that onsets from a leak that penetrates in between the boards and the subfloors. Unfortunately, this can go unnoticed for a long time. Kitchen appliances, such as the dishwasher and refrigerator, may leak and cause damage to your flooring as well.

Frequent cleaning and extra caution are required steps for any space that has hardwood flooring. Any spill or leak needs to be cleaned up immediately. If it is not taken care of, this can lead to warping. Since hardwood floors are softer than linoleum or tile, they can also be susceptible to dents if something is dropped on its surface.

Look for in a Roofing Companies

Finding a trustworthy and reliable contractor requires much more research than just a simple Google search for “Roofing Companies in Richmond, Virginia,” or even a referral from a neighbor or friend. It is important to choose a contractor that is honest and that will get the job done correctly and with professionalism. Here are some guidelines to help you choose a contractor for your home:

Licensed and Insured

In addition to being fully licensed to perform business, insurance coverage is an absolute must. Every employee and subcontractor should be insured. According to GAF, “Not having adequate insurance could potentially lead to litigation between a contractor and homeowner if a roofing employee sustains an injury at the home.” A useful tool is to check out to see if the business is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

A Reliable, Local Contractor

It may help to choose a company that is more established in your local area. For example, you wouldn’t want to get a roof replacement, then need repairs in 5-10 years, only to find out that the company you used originally has closed its doors. An established contractor can help you put your mind at ease knowing that you can give them a call for any future problems that may arise.

There’s More to Look at Than Just the Price

Cheap bids tend to be cheap for a reason. Larger companies tend to have more expensive overhead to pay for a plethora of things such as a insurance, rent, utilities, and pay for employees. A contractor that works on the side will always be cheaper. Customers that are sold solely on price may end up having to pay more in the end if the installation wasn’t done correctly.

Find Out More About The Job Specifications

When considering contractors, it is important to find out the details of how they plan on completing the work. In addition to price and payment method, it is good to know what size crew the company has to offer and how long the project is estimated to take for completion.

When choosing from the roofing companies near you, it is important to consider price, reputation, and whether they are licensed and insured. Luckily, Balducci Exteriors has over 30 years of experience in the Richmond, Virginia area with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Feel free to contact us with an questions or concerns!

Are You Planning on Installing a Woodstove

Maybe you need some heat for those dreary rainy days or those cooler winter temperatures. Or sometimes you’re going for that nice ambient fire burning in the background in your living room. There isn’t another type of heating appliance that doubles as cooking device unless you include your firepit! So if you’re thinking of installing a woodstove then read on.

According to the Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association, a quality brand name wood stove will cost about $3,000-$4,200, including the stovepipe and installation. On the bright side a woodstove will add a few thousand to your asking price if you were to sell your home.

There are many great brands out there such as the Sedore 3000 an old-fashioned wood stove that burns wood, wood pellets and even alternate fuels like corn. A woodstove that is becoming popular is the Woodstock Soapstone Ideal Steel Hybrid stove, which won the very competitive Wood Stove Decathlon in 2013. It has some interesting features including gear-shaped cooktop surfaces and ornamental side panels.

While I am sure that you’ll pick the right woodstove for your needs, before you’re ready to buy, you should determine the exact location of your new woodstove for installation purposes. The first thing that you’ll have to get installed if you don’t have one already, is a chimney to vent the smoke. Either a sound masonry chimney or a factory produced UL approved Stainless Steel Class “A” Insulated Chimney will do the job correctly.

If you have a chimney but haven’t used it in a few years or you are new to the home, you should get your chimney inspected. It’s important that your chimney is insulated and that it has the proper clearances to combustible (wood framing, siding, etc.)

A skilled and qualified professional chimney cleaner can fix most of the problems with your current chimney such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph. A UL approved stainless steel liner system can be installed which provides additional safety and improves draft and is easier to clean. The flue liner of the chimney should be the same size than the stovepipe size and it should be a cast in place type or built with materials that allow it to expand.

If you get a proper chimney inspection and your chimney is in fine working order then you’re all set to start planning the installation of your woodstove.

You can extend a 5 foot flexible stainless steel tube (the minimum length) from your stove or insert and running it up through the damper connecting it into the first flue tile.

If you have an unlined chimney, line the entire height of the chimney with stainless steel pipe the same size as the flue collar which is about 6 feet on your stove. It’s important that the area below the fireplace is sealed with a high temperature silicone in order to prevent smoke from entering the home.

The next that you’ll have to do is make a connection from a free standing stove to the metal or masonry chimney. There are two kinds of Stovepipe, Single Wall (one layer) and Close Clearance (two walls) and each has its unique characteristics and will require different installation procedures.

You’ll also have to consider floor and wall protection. Some of the approved materials are concrete slab (bare or with tile or brick installed), pre-fab UL approved stove boards and mats

and ceramic tile, marble or slate installed on top of UL Listed cement underlayment board. Next up, you’ll have to install approved non-combustible protection on the wall. The wall can be brick, stone, cement board or a UL approved stove shield, usually mounted on spacers.

Once you’ve take care of all of the preliminaries, all you have to do is pick out your woodstove and connect. And the best part of all, light your first fire on your new woodstove.

Enjoy!

Clayton Brink is the owner of American Fireplace Inc. a chimney, fireplace and dryer vent cleaning company serving customers in the Greater Houston Metro and the surrounding areas. We have served thousands of satisfied customers over the last 20 years!