Exterior Projects

Why doesn’t Remember Me?

I know this is a small gripe, but I receive a weekly email from Home Depot when their local ad comes out. I am forced to enter my zip code each and every time. I know this sounds like a small, silly gripe, but I am a programmer and I understand how easy it is to ‘remember’ a user. Home Depot, won’t you please employ some programming to handle this.

Silly, I know, but they are stealing an extra 5 seconds from me each week (the time to mouse over to the flash form and enter my zip code). Let’s assume this goes to 100,000 people who all need to enter their zip code. Average entry of 6 seconds (I am giving myself credit for typing fast and counting mine as 5). If you count the productivity loss of the 100,000 users who had to enter their zip code, you are losing 166 man hours per week or 8,666 man hours per year.

Crazy, I know, but as a programmer, these are the little things that add up to make a difference. Come on fix this.

Exterior Projects

Banks Giving up on Property

Put yourself in the situation of a bank / lender. You have a piece of property in the City of Buffalo. It was purchased in 1991 for $39,900. You have a mortgage note of $57,378 on it and have foreclosed. The property has a present value of $12,000. If this wasn’t backed by HUD, making the lender whole, would you want to take this in?

The ratio of the property value to the mortgage obtained on the property is not unique to this home. I picked this at random and it was the first property that I selected to run the numbers. The numbers are very typical of inner city properties. This one is a bit unique since the home was purchased more than 15 years ago. You will find many more instances where the property was purchased within the past 5-7 years.

In this case, the note is $57,378. “How did it get that high?”, you might ask. Lenders were all too willing to lend when money was easy. The banks and mortgage companies were marketing heavily and appraisal companies would generally comply with the “value” a property needed to reach in order to justify the loan. How much business do you think a lender would send your way if you appraisals didn’t justify their valuations? If valuations weren’t justified, money wasn’t lent. If money wasn’t lent, fees weren’t earned. Get it?

The New York Times just did a story regarding situations where the banks are giving up on properties. It is a tough market and economy.

Exterior Projects

Foreclosure listings in NY

One of the most common questions I am asked when discussing our local real estate market has to do with where you find foreclosure listings. There are a number of places to locate. Certain brokers specialize in foreclosures or REO properties (REO = Real Estate Owned). This refers to property owned by banks.

The first place that you can look for foreclosures is at This site handles the HUD listings in a few states. I would strongly recommend that you be a window shopper if you are not experienced. HUD listings tend to be the worst of the worst on the market and you do not have an opportunity to negotiate with the seller.

If you want to get into the renovation game, step in slowly. Buying the property properly will allow you to do a project properly. As many say, your money is made when you buy the property, not when you repair it. Have firm numbers going in and keep a realistic budget and/or time frame.

Exterior Projects Interior Projects

Instructions on Hanging a Door

I was recently contacted by a representative of the Masonite corporation about publishing some content that they are providing. It is something that most people who do basic renovation will eventually need to know. The following documents are instructions to hang/install interior doors, exterior entry doors, and patio doors.

The instructions are pretty straightforward and are illustrated. I hope that this helps.

Hanging an interior door

Hanging an exterior door

Installing a patio door

Good luck.

Before and After Photos Exterior Projects

Office Building Renovation

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