By Mitch Kuffa
Hello BLUE WATER HEALTHY LIVING fans! Well, guess what? It’s your lucky day. We have just agreed to provide articles for BWHL’s online magazine/newspaper about your home and its potential concerns and problems.
As many of you might know, I had the privilege to write the same type of article for the Times Herald Newspaper in Port Huron, for almost 22 years, as “the home pro” or “ask Mitch”. It was fun and extremely gratifying, but times goes on and those days have recently come to an end. But as fate would have it we recently had the opportunity to meet the Blue Water Healthy Living crew.
Our articles will address construction concerns, how to hire a competent contractor, new products available, preventive maintenance techniques, health and safety issues, weird encounters we have experienced inspecting homes, environmental concerns, code violations, etc., etc., We also will answer your questions. All you need to do is email or call us.
So…..that’s it. We love performing this service and we hope you will enjoy the whole concept with us.
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Now, this being the case, here is our very first article for Blue Water Healthy Living and you,.
The Winter Doldrums
Well, the holiday season is officially over. We have entered the Winter doldrums. So what do we do for the next few months (besides watching TV, eat, walk around the house looking out the window and counting the days until Spring)?
If by chance, you are planning some type of new exterior construction project (such as fencing, wood deck, painting the exterior, putting on an addition, etc.), now is the perfect time to get organized. This will add some excitement to these cold days, will allow you to be the first in line when the weather breaks (saving more of the summer for fun things) and save you money in the end. Take a moment and think about how these items relate to your Spring or Summer project.
If your planning on a bigger project (such as an addition to the house, remodeling the kitchen, finishing off the basement, etc.), you may need the services of a architect or designer. A functional working drawing takes a while to perfect. There are numerous meetings and different generations of drawings before you reach the final set. You could be working on this conceptual phase now. It usually takes 30-60 days to get a set of drawings completed. If you wait until Spring or Summer to hire an architect or designer, your project may not begin until the Fall.
Many projects need permits and some different types of permits may need an attached drawing. Most municipality building departments are very busy in the Spring. What this means to you is that if you need to have a permit pulled (with an approved plant) it would be more efficient and easier to request this before the big Spring rush. Check with your building department to see how long after they issue the permit you are required to start the work.
If your Spring/Summer project dictates that you personally (as opposed to a contractor) may be buying some of the materials, now would be the time to shop for those items. Many suppliers are slow at this time, are more negotiable and are running sales. Look around and see what is available. Now is the time to get more personalized service and if you have a facility to store items, do it now while the price is right.
If you are going to work with a contractor start interviewing them now. You will definitely get a quicker response at this time of the year. You can even sign a contract now and be the first on the list for exterior Spring work to begin. If you sign a contract now be careful however not to upfront any unreasonable amount of money in the form of a deposit or in “good faith”. Just keep in mind that most contractors work year around, but again they are usually slower this time of the year.
If your Summer construction project is going to warrant a bank loan, this is again something you can do research on now. This step is not affected by bad weather so get it out of the way. Shop around, find the lender you want to work with and get a “preliminary approval” budget. You may find that the project you are planning does not make sense if the funding or terms are not available or logical.
And you thought that you had nothing to do right now and are just going to lay around and get over indulgent. Now such luck! This is the year we are going to get organized! So lets start getting ready for the Spring/Summer construction period now. In approximately 10 weeks the ground will begin to thaw, you can start digging around outside and let’s be the first one out of the gate.
Mitchell J. Kuffa Jr. has been in the construction industry since 1967. In that time, he was worked as a construction superintendent, general superintendent and construction manager for several large developers in the state of Michigan.
He has been a licensed Michigan residential builder since 1977, was an incorporated general contractor for 11 years and has built and/or run the construction of approx. 3,500 residential houses, apartments, commercial structures and/or light industrial buildings.
In 1981 he started the first private home inspection agency in Michigan and to date has personally performed approx. 16,000 inspections for a fee.
Since 1981, Mr. Kuffa, inspects properties and acts as a construction consultant for the Michigan Department of Mental Health (group homes), UAW Legal Services, numerous lenders, several non-profit organizations and for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Kuffa is a federal housing fee inspector and FHA 203K mortgage loan consultant, works with several attorney’s as an “expert witness”, has been appointed by the Michigan circuit court system to act as a Receiver in several cases concerning construction litigation and teaches a series of construction classes (for misc. school districts, community colleges. Michigan state housing authority, etc.).
Mr. Kuffa has been a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors, in good standing, since 1983.
To learn more about INSPECTIONS by Mitch Kuffa, click here.