Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Renovation ROI

Hammer on Stack of MoneyAs homeowners, we often feel like a home improvement will give us a positive Return On Investment(ROI).  The info-graphic shown from Remodeling’s 2015 Cost Vs. Value Report shows that most home improvements will give a negative return.  Continue reading Renovation ROI

Homeowner’s Maintenance Checklist

Maintenance leaves-in-gutter
Clearing out the leaves from your gutters is an important home maintenace task.

Yearly Home Maintenance

Owning a home can be the most exciting time of your life.  Most people probably first think of the financial responsibility. Don’t let yourself forget about the time and labor that home ownership also requires. Keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep you from future headaches and wasted money.

It can be intimidating to think about these various tasks, especially if you’re a new homeowner. The good news is that you can do the majority of it on your own without much experience. Google is your best friend, and if you really get stuck, call up your local handyman to help you out.


We have compiled a list of things you should make sure to do throughout the year. However, do what works for you and your schedule, and as long as all these things get accomplished, your home will be happy for years and years to come.

Feel free to print off the checklist and make it part of your goals this year!


8 Red Flags On A Seller Disclosure


8 Red Flags On A Seller Disclosure

Buying a home is a little like falling in love. When you first start dating, you’re smitten. Which also means you’re more likely to overlook some critical flaws that might otherwise slowly crack away at your relationship down the road, potentially leading to heartbreak. Such is the case when buying a home.

1. Notes or lack of details about the roof

It’s not a hard and fast rule that you should dig deeper into what a seller or inspector means when they say “small roof leak” or “a few roof tiles missing.”  You may want to have a professional roofer come take a look before buying.

2.  Any structure-related items

So if you’re faced with exterior wall cracks, sagging rooflines, or significant cracks in the foundation, and your inspector points them out or the seller mentions them in the seller disclosure form, seek guidance from your real estate agent and seriously think of having an industry specialist take a look at the potential problem.

3.  The dreaded “no representation” or “unknown”

It’s not necessarily a sign to run away from a home, but if a seller marks an item such as the basement or windows on the seller disclosure statement as “no representation”.  Then you’ll most definitely want an inspector to look more closely at that area.

What does it mean? Sellers can opt to put “no representation” on an area of the home in their statement to avoid disclosing the conditions or characteristics of an area of the property, even if they know of issues. It’s sneaky, but it can protect the seller from potential litigation from the buyer down the road.

4.  Mentions of previous flood damage

Flood damage can wreak havoc on a home’s foundation and cause mold issues, among other things. That’s why when you see a seller disclose that the home has had flood damage, no matter how small, the advises is to be wary.  If your inspection comes back with dampness or strong odor you may want to call in a mold specialist.

5.  Any liens on the property

Issues regarding liens when a legal right to the property is held by a creditor or some other party aside from the seller should pop up during the title search. Be extra leery if a seller discloses one in their statement.

Be sure to consult your title company, real estate attorney, and the agent representing the other side to get clarity around the issue and time frames it could take to clear the title. In our experience, liens can be removed, but it typically takes twice as long as anticipated, and a buyer should be prepared for delays

6.  Any easements or land-use restrictions

If you buy a home planning to build an addition or make major renovations, you may discover after the sale closes that existing easements on the property forbid adding permanent structures in the exact spot you were hoping to make your new master suite.  Easements and land restrictions can affect the value of a property.

A buyer should get a title report giving a detailed description of the easement. In addition, a survey would be prudent to identify landmarks, how it affects the property, and if it is of no harm or affects the future marketability or value of the property.

7.  Failure to get proper permits for additions or improvements

Heed this warning, friends: Failure to get permits is a huge red flag!

Without permits, a buyer has no idea if the work was completed by inexperienced and unqualified homeowners or a true craftsman. In these scenarios, we recommend a thorough home inspection by a licensed home inspector of the work completed. In addition, a thorough review of seller’s disclosures to understand with clarity the scope of work completed.

8.  Lead paint or asbestos

Don’t automatically rule out buying a home if a seller discloses that the home has (or had) asbestos or lead-based paint.

It is better to be cautious and do your homework before correcting, removing, or remodeling these types of homes, though. Talk to your local home inspector about evaluating and testing the property.  Review your local health department requirements. Once you know the safe measurements in your area, you can do the proper testing for these items. Don’t forget to learn how to properly dispose of these items safely. By knowing the costs and health regulations, you can factor in the cost of removal or remediation and factor that into your offers.

Waterproof Solutions- Stephen Burton

Waterproof Solutions- Stephen Burton

The Waterproofing and Foundation Repair Industry is filled with franchises with big advertising budgets. With potentially limited knowledge, products, and solutions; Are they the best for the consumer? Stephen Burton from Waterproof Solutions is here to shed some light on the industry.

Continue reading Waterproof Solutions- Stephen Burton

How To Determine If You Should File a Claim

Elaine Mahr Expert Contributor show card for a insurance claim

How To Determine If You Should File a Claim

When unexpected events happen to your home, car, or other investments it can be a difficult decision to determine whether a claim should be filed or not. When trying to decide to file a claim, your agent is on your side to help make the best decision for you and your family.


Calling in a claim – call agent first vs 800 #.   (order takers document in system)

If you call your agent, does it get recorded in the system? No, unless it gets called in to the 800#.

  • Agent is your advocate
  • Protect your loss history
    • 3 year history
    • Type of claim and when was last claim
    • Look at claims at the location and the insured


How to determine if you should file a claim:

  1. Determine if it is a maintenance issue or due to a peril   (perils covered…)           
    • Maintenance if it could have been prevented by having proper maintenance to home.                                                                                                                                                           
  2. Is it a Comprehensive claim or is it Chargeable?  (understand water claims)
    • Comprehensive – Weather/Act of God
      • Home – Hail, Wind
      • Auto – Fire, Theft, Wind, Hail, Hitting an animal (Deer)
      • Is it better to hit the animal on the road or swerve to avoid them and possibly wreck?                                                                                                                                        
  3. How many claims do you already have?  ( companies non renewing after 2 claims – high risk pool)
  4. What is your deductible – flat or %?   EQ always %
  5. Get a pre inspection esp. on roofs. Stay away from storm chaser, door knockers.  (contractor will typically come back when insurance adjuster comes out.)
    • May disappear
    • No Warranty
    • Trusted Roofing Company:

Anderson Building Company

Address: 135 Chester Ave, St. Louis, MO 63122

Phone: (314) 821-0504

Elaine Mahr Audio:

Call for a free Insurance Analysis:

Elaine Mahr

Insurance Agent





Property Rehab 101


Property Rehab

When buying property for rehablilitation, it is really important to do your house clean-up and repairs in proper order.

You don’t want to get ahead of yourself or waste time and money having to do things twice.

Approach the rehab process systematically and do not frustrated if everything does not go according to your plans.

Once you have purchased your home be sure to file an “Notice of Intent to Sell “.

Preparing to Rehab the Property

Property Rehab 101: Audio Part 1

Property Rehab 101: Audio Part 2

Continue reading Property Rehab 101

Homeowner Money Saving Tips

caulking-gunHomeowner Money Saving Tips

So you just bought a home, first of all congratulations!  Maybe you have lived in your home for awhile now, congratulations.  Whatever the case is owning a home is a milestone in life for most people.

If you are settled in and now want to focus on saving money then check out these money saving tips:



Continue reading Homeowner Money Saving Tips


kayser law firm

Short Sales are the “New Normal” for homeowners with mortgages.  Without a negotiator you could be losing out on someone in your corner.  Elizabeth Kayser and Ryan Hyde of Kayser Law Firm joins Doug and Tammie in the Cornerstone Studio to explain and dispel any myths of  what a Short Sale is.

Simply put, short sales begin when a homeowner cannot sell their house for enough to cover the mortgage. “Prior to the crash, the banks simply pulled the foreclosure trigger,” says Elizabeth Kayser of Kayser Law Firm. Because foreclosures lose Continue reading SHORT SALES WITH KAYSER LAW FIRM

Lessons in Selling a Rental Property

Rental-property-for-saleOne thing Tammie and Doug stand for is evaluating different lessons in life. They grow by learning from their defeats and celebrating victories. This week they are celebrating a victory that definitely didn’t start out that way. Tammie acquired a property in 2002 which started out as a good deal but over time turned in to a renter’s rollercoaster. Listen in to find out how together they overcame that hurdle and were able to sell their property!

Continue reading Lessons in Selling a Rental Property

4 Proactive Tips to Take Before Listing Your Home

Selling-Your-HomeHomeowners tend to believe their home is worth more than it’s actual value. Overpricing a home can sabotage your opportunity to get the most money for your property. If you’re ready to sell take these four proactive tips so that you can be in the position to ensure the highest selling price in your neighborhood.

Continue reading 4 Proactive Tips to Take Before Listing Your Home