Monday, 27 May 2013

Valuing a House through Fixtures and Fittings

A property with no fixtures and fittings is simply a shell. Fixtures and fittings are the things that make a property habitable. They are the finishing touches that help viewers visualise occupying the space.

To be clear, fixtures are those things in homes that are inbuilt in the construction process. They include light fixtures, sinks, taps, bathtubs, toilets, sockets, switches and inbuilt cupboards and cabinets. They may even include some types of flooring. Fittings are those things that are not inbuilt, but form a part of the home. They can be viewed in a similar light as furnishings. They are moveable, freestanding items such as cookers, fridges, lampshades, paintings that are hung up and free standing art, as well as curtains, rails and rods.

The importance of fixtures and fittings arises especially when it comes to purchasing property. Fixtures will often come with the property but because there is no particular law regarding fittings, one may not always find them on the day that they move into their new property. Another importance of fixtures and fittings is in their effects on the price of the property purchased. Fixtures and fittings increase the value of property. The fewer there are, the lower the value of the property.

In order to ensure that you are getting true value for your money, it is important to meet with the vendor of a property before negotiations begin to make a list of all the fixtures and fittings within the property. Once this is done, it is important to check off those that will remain and take note of those that will not. This information, as stated earlier, will come in handy when it comes to the price settlement. You, as a buyer, can deduce whether the cost you are purchasing the property at is the real cost or if the price has been inflated under the cover of fixtures and fittings, which will not be there when the moving day arrives.

In order to protect yourself from losing out during the purchase of a property, the onus is up to you the buyer to ensure that you have inspected the premises and obtained a list of fixtures and fittings from the vendor. Ensure that both parties agree on which ones will remain by checking them off a list and then sign a purchase agreement that reflects all the terms that have been agreed upon.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

All about Floors

The floor is a very key component of a construction. Many would say the ceiling or the walls would perhaps be the most crucial because they support the structure of the building or the house. However, floors receive the most wear and tear. They are more frequently in need of repair than walls or ceilings.

It is important to understand the type of floor you have in order to appropriate the necessary maintenance and repairs, so that it can serve you longer. Many types of flooring are durable and have a beautiful finish. You do not have to have the same type of flooring throughout the whole house. Different floor types are suited to different areas. For example, tiles are for wet areas as opposed to wooden finishes.

1.      Hardwood floors have a beautiful finish and are long-lasting. However, time causes the wood to expand causing swelling, or the wood could shrink causing gaps between the boards. Hardwood floors can be refinished and this is an added advantage during repairs and maintenance.

Hardwood floors are maintained by regular waxing and polishing. This keeps them waterproof and keeps the wood from absorbing or losing moisture, which is what causes them to shrink and swell.

2.      Marble flooring is durable and versatile. It is also easy to clean and maintain. Marble tiles come in different sizes, colours, and can have patterns and motifs engraved or embossed on them to create decorative finishes. They are easily replaced and a chipped tile does not necessarily mean that the whole floor has to be retiled.

Marble tiles can be maintained with water and soft soap. Keeping them dry also prevents accidents due to slipping on wet floors.

3.      Laminate flooring is easy to install and maintain. It also comes in a variety of shades and finishes. It is good for high traffic areas. However it cannot be refinished, meaning that repairs and maintenance will often entail an entire process of resurfacing.

Laminate flooring can also be maintained with soft soap and water. Keeping the surface completely dry keeps water from seeping under the surface and causing the flooring to become loose.

4.      Bamboo floors are the latest in green solutions. They are lightweight and durable and come in a variety of shades. Bamboo floors will darken with sun exposure but should never be left wet.

The maintenance of bamboo floors is similar to that of hardwood floors. They benefit from regular waxing. Should they get too dark, you can sand and reapply the wax on them.

5.      Ceramic tiles, like marble tiles, are also durable and versatile. They are easy to clean and maintain as well as replace. However, cracks are more difficult to mask and low quality tiles are likely to chip.

Like marble tiles, they are good for wet areas and can often withstand prolonged periods in water. When cracked or chipped, they should be replaced immediately and not just for the aesthetics. The disrepair could affect other tiles around causing them to be disconnected from the bonding.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Post Construction Inspection

The importance of post construction inspection cannot be overstated. Although it is the responsibility of the contractor through the building inspector to ensure that everything in the building works and has been constructed up to the building code standards, there is a degree of responsibility on the part of the person wishing to occupy the space to ensure that they do not get the short end of the stick after the construction is done.

A good way of doing the necessary inspection is by personally visiting the premises that you intend to occupy. It is also advisable to take someone else along with you to provide an extra set of eyes, ears, and mind for insight. Even if one is not a contractor, engineer, or building inspector, it is possible to do a thorough inspection. The value here is that your inspection is from the perspective of a user. As a result, your view would not be technical, but rather, functional.

In order to conduct a meaningful inspection that does not just entail admiring the interior design and finishing, allocate a reasonable amount of time for the visit. Show houses or show rooms are just that. They are for show. They give an idea of what the final product is expected to look like. They are not the final product. You should visit the real building.

Make a list of the expectations you may have of the space, its fixtures, and fittings. Once you are clear on what your expectations are, organise to visit the premises. Usually, someone will be there to walk you through the house, highlighting things such as the space and the materials used in certain fixtures, fittings, and finishes. When this is done, they normally walk away perhaps to another room to let you ponder and weigh your options.

This is where that list you made comes into play. Go to each and every room and test the sturdiness of handles, knobs, hinges, hooks, rods, latches, taps, and the plumbing as well as the water supply. Make notes where applicable and share these with your guide in order to have them addressed. Handles, knobs, and hinges should be firmly fitted and smooth in their motion. Hooks and rods should be firmly fitted and not loose or easy to pull out. A simple firm yank at them can easily determine this. Latches should also be firmly fitted and smooth in their motion.

The only way to inspect taps and plumbing is by running the taps for a few minutes. Debris and dust collect in the inside of taps and plumbing during construction. Running taps for a minute or two helps to clear the debris and determine if there is any blockage or leakage in the plumbing. The same process applies for the toilet- flushing once or twice allows you to gauge the efficacy of the cistern.

A well inspected building sets the tone for negotiation. It serves an individual well to carry out one of their own and have any emerging issues addressed before occupying it.

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