Survival Tips for Bidding Wars Q: We are trying to buy a house or building lot in a very hot seller’s market where desirable properties sell fast and bidding wars are common. Prices often go way above the asking price. Any strategies you can suggest to help avoid a bidding war? Our real estate agent suggested we add an “escalation clause” to our offer. Is that a good idea? — … [Read more...] about How To Buy a House In A Seller’s Market
Q: What is the cause and cure for wood rot in an exterior wall? I recently noticed that the corner of my house has rotting studs from the bottom up. The exterior sheathing is rotting as well. This area was never with siding due to being approximately 6 inches from a garage wall. What is the best way to repair the wall and to prevent future problems? The house was built eight … [Read more...] about How To Diagnose & Repair Rotted Framing?
Q: Is prefinished hardwood flooring as good as traditional hardwood? We are remodeling and wish to install hardwood strip flooring. We are considering unfinished hardwood flooring, prefinished solid hardwood, and laminated hardwood that is about 3/8-inch thick. We are leaning toward unfinished but have read that some of the prefinished products have better finishes. What’s … [Read more...] about Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs. Unfinished?
Q: How does the ZIP system compare to standard sheathing? It seems like 9 out of 10 new homes and remodels in my area (northern New England) are using green ZIP sheathing on the walls and some use the red version of the roof as well. How does this product compare to using plywood and a housewrap such as Tyvek? — Tom A: Zip System sheathing was introduced by Huber Engineered … [Read more...] about ZIP Sheathing Vs. Plywood & Housewrap?
Q: Would it be foolish to build far away? Should I wait until I can physically be there? I'll be retiring in a few years and would like to build a custom home far (2k miles) from my current location. Ideally, I'd initiate the process about a year before I retire, and the home would be completed by my retirement date. I would hire an architect for the full suite of … [Read more...] about Can I Design & Build A Home In Another State?
Q: Where do I look for hands-on estimating training? I started a carpentry business and I clearly realized that my weakest point is that I don’t know how to do takeoffs and estimate material and labor costs. This prevents me from bidding on jobs and creates work-flow issues. Thank you for your time. –H. Jackolev A: There are a number of places to learn the basics of … [Read more...] about Where To Learn Construction Estimating?
EQ: Do you consider an aerobic-treatment system a good option for a waterfront vacation home? We are looking at upgrading a 40-year-old septic system. I will do more research, but for now with the aerobic systems that need pumps and fans, I have two questions: 1) What happens during a power outage? We had a five-day outage over Christmas. 2) Are these systems … [Read more...] about Are Aerobic Treatment Systems A Good Option?
Q: Please explain the difference between General Conditions and Overhead & Profit when you want to separate them in a proposal for your client. What items fall into each category? Also, what percentage is the norm for General Conditions in a proposal? -- Tonka S. A: Let's first define terms. There are two types of overhead expenses. Some contractors mix the two together, … [Read more...] about How Much Markup For General Conditions, Overhead & Profit?