Karen T Cynowa-Helen Adams Realty

Frankie Buzzo- The Perfect Touch Painting & Power Washing, LLC


I hope you find these tips helpful. As your trusted Advisor and Realtor® there is much more involved in any transaction. These tips are to help you make the right choices in the beginning to avoid costly errors later.   Please call me anytime. Karen T Cynowa

1. I may be selling within the year and going to be doing some remodeling; do I need a General Contractor?


Please note that this information can change at any given time. This information was in place at the time of publication. Always check with your local municipality before venturing into any project.

As a Realtor® we are asked for advice in many areas concerning your home. I have compiled some very important resources to assist you. These came from questions we get asked or from issues that have arisen in transactions. Note I am not a builder.

Too many times we come across these issues when doing our listing presentation. We ask what remodeling have you done since you bought the home. If the projects aren’t compliant, it can cause havoc for all involved and cause an unwelcomed delay.

This is information is per  10 Tips when hiring a licensed contractor.

Here are some of the top questions asked about General Contractors:

  • Can I build my own house without a license? If the land is in your name and the home is solely to be occupied by you and your family for 12 months after completion, you may build your own home without a license. Refer to GS 87-1.  

  • How do I know if my contractor is licensed, when do I need one? To work as a general contractor on projects costing more than $30,000 in North Carolina, you must get a license from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. Electrical, plumbing, heating and fire sprinkler contractors must be licensed.

2. Permits, do I really need one? STOP, and read immediately.


Many times, the homeowner’s is unaware of when to pull a permit and not. When I ask the question, “Did you pull a permit”, often the answer is no, I didn’t want my taxes increased.  When representing either side as a Buyer’s or Seller’s agent, we highly encourage either party to get proof of all permits pertaining to an addition or remodeling to the home. This is where your Realtor® becomes one of your trusted advisors.  Our biggest concern is the safety of our clients on the buy side. We want to make sure the work was done properly and up to code. When a permit is issued, an inspector gives it the seal of approval. The other reason why you would want this information is so the house is appraised properly.  Many times, the tax records aren’t correct. When the seller gets ready to list, it’s not the time to try to get a past project permitted or when you have an offer on the table. The time it takes to get this all-in order could lose you the deal or cause an unwanted delay in getting to your next destination.  

When is, a permit required? (per code enforcement guide below)  Appropriate permits are required for any building construction, alteration, or repair involving new or changed uses of property (other than ordinary repairs). EXCEPTION: Permits shall not be required for any work costing $5,000 or less, unless the work involves:

• The addition, repair, or replacement of load bearing structures;

• The addition or change in the design of a plumbing system;

• The addition, replacement or change in the design of a heating or air conditioning       system;  

• The addition, replacement or change in the design of an electrical system;  

• The use of materials not permitted by the code;  

Can I do my own electrical, mechanical and plumbing work as a home owner? Yes, if this is your primary residence that you own, and only after passing an assessment exam with the county for each trade you wish to undertake.  

This is the Code Enforcement Residential permit quick guide for your reference and further details.  


3. It’s only paint, just buy the cheapest one. NOT-What is the real difference in paints?


I am thrilled to know so many professionals, Frankie Buzzo of “The Perfect Touch Painting & Power Washing, LLC” is highly sought our and on the top of the list. I saw Frankie in action on my own home. I was going to attempt the project on my own, what a mistake that would have been. His crew of 7 people came to my assistance.  It’s imperative to me, to have the expertise of a company that is knowledgeable and fully insured. This is what sold me on Perfect Touch. You have heard the saying you don’t know what you don’t know.  

Everyone knows a painter, but there is a lot more involved in painting now a day. I never realized how much was involved in the prep of the walls ahead of time. They educated me on the importance of the drywall preparation and choosing the right paint.  

Keep in mind that there is no true economy in buying cheap paint. Paints have come a long way and the ingredients are very specific to your needs. There is a plethora of finishes from flat to low Lustre, Pearl, Medium Lustre, Eg-Shel, Semi-Gloss and Velvet, sounds like delicious cupcakes to me. Perfect Touch did an extensive consultation of my needs by each room. The choices, no matter what vendor you buy from have different selections for a reason. If your family has health issues, the low to zero VOC’s would be something to discuss.

In your bathrooms, Sherwin- William® Paint Shield® is the first-ever EPA-registered interior latex paint with the power to kill certain bacteria on painted surfaces within two hours of exposure and it has the appearance and quality you expect from Sherwin-Williams paint. There are multiple paints with usages for Residential, New Construction, Multi-Family, Healthcare, Retail the list goes on.

Call Frankie he will be happy to discuss how he can help, 980 522-8119.


4. Impact of remodeling projects outdoors.


Before you know it, we will be approaching Spring. This is the time of year to be doing your planning on the outside of your home, getting quotes and looking at what features are right for your family and more importantly looking at the return on investment.

We all want an impactful first impression of our home. The curb appeal is imperative if you are listing your home. Power washing and paint touch is imperative. In addition, this is some very helpful information and worth repeating. The article was published by the NAR, last year titled, “Outdoor Remodeling Projects See High Happiness and Financial Returns, Say Realtors®”, The report, analyzes the reasons why homeowners complete outdoor remodeling projects and the value - both financially and emotionally - the gains the finished projects bring to the homeowner, taking care of your home’s lawn will bring the most bang for the buck. Looking at the outdoor projects that produce the largest financial windfalls at resale, Realtors® ranked seeding lawn the highest, recovering 417 percent of the project cost at resale. Seed lawn is followed by implementing a standard lawn care program (303 percent of cost recovered) and updating landscaping with sod lawn (143 percent recovered) as the most cost-effective projects.

This was a phenomenal report put out by our National Association of Realtors that was worth re-sharing. The Top 10 Outdoor Features to consider.

5. Property surveys and how they play a key role.

To survey or not to survey your residential property during due diligence? Let me start by saying I am not an attorney and this advice comes from my experience.

All too often I am asked by my client’s is a survey needed. My advice will always be yes. Let me start by explaining what a survey does. A survey is performed before a purchase to determine the extent of the property boundaries, if there are any encroachments, potential title issues and erroneous deed descriptions. What you see isn’t always what you get. Never reuse a survey, they are copyrighted to start and you would be violating that without consent. What was surveyed then could be completely different now.

I just recently sold a home and the property had a fence in the back yard. What the survey discovered, was the two homeowners put up a different section of the fence and the current homeowner that was selling attached and added on to their fences. What seemed to be an encroachment truly wasn’t because that section of the fence was not owned by the seller my client was purchasing from. The second issue was the current seller placed the left side of the fence, leaving several feet away from the other neighbor’s property line. Why is this an issue? Well, as the attorneys will tell you it’s all about the liability. If they leave the fence as stands the neighbors will be using their yard for enjoyment. If Uncle Buck has a little too much to drink and falls over his beer can and gets hurt, the burden could be on you.

I could go on and on with examples, please trust us and confirm with your attorney. We are here to make this a painless experience, use us as your Trusted Advisors and get a survey…

I hope these tips have been helpful for your DIY projects. Enjoy and happy laboring on your dream projects.

Please feel free to call Frankie or myself on any questions you might have.

The above information is sponsored as a courtesy for homeowners by Karen T Cynowa-Helen Adams Realty and Frankie Buzzo of The Perfect Touch Painting & Power Washing, LLC..