Mike Holmes: My five-item wish list for
Mike Holmes: My five-item wish list for homebuyers for the upcoming year
[FONT=Times New Roman]Mike Holmes, Special to National Pos[FONT=Times New Roman]t[/FONT]](http://news.nationalpost.com/author/specialnp)[/FONT] | December 25, 2015 | Last Updated: Dec 25 10:25 AM ET
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The year is winding down, and soon we’ll be starting a brand new rear with new goals and new expectations. When I think about 2016, there are definitely a few things I’d like to see.
1. Better building standards
We have minimum code but it’s just that: minimum. We can build better, and there are plenty of builders and contractors out there who go above and beyond minimum code because it’s important to them to make it right.
We need to stop thinking about minimum and start doing what makes sense. That means using products that will not mould; making sure we build homes with nothing but clean air inside thanks to the right systems and materials being installed; and using products that are safe, that last longer, and that help you save energy. This isn’t hard.
2. More sustainable building
Part of building better is building smarter. Our environment has limits, and if we push them, we’re only hurting ourselves.
We need to build homes and communities in a way that maximizes resources, like rainwater and sunlight, while also protecting the surrounding environment.
This is possible today, and the best part is that it’s win-win; when we build sustainably, we save energy, we save materials and we save money. It’s all about balance. It’s possible to build smart communities that use the natural terrain for proper drainage, protect against weather and maximize light; and to live in homes that work for us, work with the environment and that create healthier living spaces using minimal energy — and that look good, too.
These kinds of homes and communities exist today. We need more.
3. More homeowners going green
Going green is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. There are simple things that most homeowners can do, like switch to LED lights, install low-flow toilets and water fixtures, purchase appliances that use less energy and water, upgrade windows to minimize heat loss, and collect rainwater to water the lawn and wash the car. There are also bigger changes, like going solar, switching to geothermal heating, installing radiant in-floor heating, and/or upgrading to a metal roof.
Some things are easier than others, but no matter what you choose, you must always educate yourself; just because it says it’s green doesn’t mean it is. Homeowners need to educate themselves on what green products really are, how they perform, how long they last and whether or not they make sense for their home’s durability and its long-term value.
Just as there are good and bad contractors, there are also good and bad green products.
4. Smarter buyers
Do not fall in love with a house before getting a proper home inspection. The first thing you need to do if you’re buying a home is to hire the best home inspector you can find — before you look for a house.
When you fall in love with a house, you’re seeing the illusion. You need someone who can look beyond that and see the true value of a home — its structure, foundation, plumbing, electrical, the roof, the building envelope. Anything wrong with any of these will be a nightmare to fix.
The finishes — like cabinets, appliances, the paint on the walls, fixtures — that’s all cosmetics. You can change that.
5. Better home inspection regulations
Anyone can call themselves a home inspector. That’s why homebuyers need to do their homework and make sure they only hire a qualified professional — someone who understands how homes work, their different systems, and how they’ve changed.
Buying a home isn’t cheap; it’s a huge investment, one of the biggest most people will ever make, and they depend on the knowledge and expertise of home inspectors to help them make that decision.
There should be a system in place that regulates who is a qualified professional and who isn’t, especially when a bad decision based on poor (or just wrong) advice can cost people their entire life’s savings.
It might be a lot to ask for but we choose what we make of a brand new year: Make it right. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season, folks and remember, keep smiling!
Watch Mike in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.