The holiday season can bring dangerous people and situations to your own home. Criminals are looking to turn a quick buck and the holiday are a perfect opportunity for them. As a home inspector, I have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a home as well as peoples tendencies. I have outlined some small steps to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season.
- Install working motion lights around the home. Position them so windows and doors will be bright.
- Trim bushes and shrubs around windows and doors. This should work with the motion detectors so that criminals cannot hide around your windows and doors
- This next one will sound silly to most, but lock all your doors and windows. You would be surprised to know that the majority of homes I inspect have 1 or more windows left unlocked.
- Leave porch lights on through the night. If you are worried about your energy bill we recommend a new LED light bulb.
- Do not leave window shades open and do not leave expensive belongings in clear view.
- Alert your neighbors or someone you trust when going away for a few days. Have them check in periodically.
- When out, leave the impression that someone is home. Leave a light on a timer, leave a car locked in the driveway.
- Have a monitored alarm system and USE IT! Just having the alarm will not help if it is not armed!
- Make sure all exterior doors are secured with a secondary lock. For a main door this is usually a deadbolt. For a sliding door this could be a slide lock.
- Make sure you have 2 lines of communication in the home. This could be a home phone and a cell phone to dial 911.
Follow these tips to help keep you safe this holiday season. New Start Inspections wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
As the fall season nears, protecting our homes from the cooler weather is an important step in home ownership. With the fall and winter comes more rain and cooler temperatures. Here are 8 maintenance tips that can be completed over the weekend. These tasks will prepare your home for the change of season as well as reduce the chance of needing a major repair.
- Heating System Tune up. For a minimal charge of $80-$100 an HVAC contractor can check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs. It is also a great time to change your furnace filter. You may want to consider getting your ducts cleaned as well.
- Roof and Gutters. Gutters clogged with leaves can quickly damage a homes foundation. Clean gutters and make sure they drain completely. Also consider walking the roof to look for leaks or damaged shingles. Only do these tasks if you are comfortable on ladders and working on the roof, otherwise hire a professional.
- Caulking and Paint. Fall is a great time to check for cracked or damaged caulk around your windows and doors. Moisture can quickly leak into these cracks and reek havoc. Any chipped or damaged paint should be scraped, primed, and repainted.
- Downspout Extensions. Make sure your downspouts are extended to move water 4-5 Feet away from the foundation. This is an important step any time but especially the fall and spring as this tends to be the wettest part of the year.
- Trim Landscaping. Trim your bushes and shrubs so they are 1 foot away from the surface of the home. This allows for proper air flow and lets the area dry out. Also clean any leaves and debris from around the foundation.
- Disconnect Water Hose. This will help prevent your water line to the hose from freezing.
- Chimney. Great time of year to call a qualified chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney. This could prevent a dangerous and costly repair. Do not light your fireplace without an annual inspection to ensure your safety.
- Crawl Space. We tend to forget about the crawlspace because we hate getting in there. This time of year is a great time to get in the crawl space to make sure there is no trouble. Check your vapor barrier, sump pumps, look for water or insect damage.
Fall is a great time for an annual home inspection. Look to New Start Inspections to inspect your home this fall. We want to help you protect your home as it is your greatest investment.
HOME BUYING ISSUES THAT MATTER
Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
RELAX ABOUT INSPECTION MATTER ISSUES
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4). Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection.
KEEP ISSUES THAT MATTER IN PERSPECTIVE
Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure or nit-picky items.