was successfully added to your cart.

Category

Uncategorized

Put your home maintenance knowledge to the test!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Originally published by HouseLogic
By: Leanne Potts

Spot the 9 Problems With This House (Advice for New Homeowners)

Telltale signs you’re flubbing homeowner maintenance, like parking on grass.

You’ve closed on your first home. You got your keys. You got your rose-colored glasses. When you’re a new homeowner, excitement, optimism, and simply not-knowing-what you-don’t-know can make you look right past big problems in plain sight.

Discover some advice for new homeowners with this illustration of a home that has nine maintenance problems. Can you spot all nine?All Images: HouseLogic

Find out if you’re right. Here are the answers:

#1 Tree Limbs Leaning Over the House

Yes, trees are lovely and shady, and they keep your house out of the sun. But they can also break off in a storm and fall on your house faster than you can say, “Hello, insurance company, there’s a hole in my roof!”

Those limbs can be a highway into your home for pests like raccoons and squirrels who might end up nesting in your attic or gnawing electrical wires. So keep limbs trimmed at least six feet above the house.

#2 Overgrown Grass

Holy moly, who knew grass grows so quickly?! But putting off mowing because you can’t find the time or don’t have a mower yet can come back to bite you.

Long grass makes a great hiding place for rodents, who will hang there until they get a chance to scurry into your house. When the lawn mower’s away, the mice will play — and you risk a city fine for overgrowth. Avoid the risk, and just whack that grass.

#3 Flaking Paint

Paint on your home’s wood or stucco siding is the deflector shield of your house. If it’s flaking, there are holes in your shield, and that’s a problem. It lets in moisture that can rot the bones of your home. A little water turns into big trouble, fast. The more water that seeps in through those cracks, the bigger the cracks get, letting in even more water.

So paint. Pronto.

#4 Wood Pile Near the House

You’ve got your entire winter supply of firewood stacked right up against the house, so you’ll never have to schlep wood in single-digit temps again. But. That woodpile can be a cozy winter home to a who’s who of unwelcome critters like mice, termites, and cockroaches.

Firewood storage outside should be at least 20 feet from your house. You can still keep a few logs near the door — just enough for a night or two. That way, your firewood stays handy, and the creepy crawlies don’t have time to move in.

#5 Parking on the Grass

You’re house-proud, so you have your friends over all the time. But if you let them park on the lawn (your house, your rules, right?), the vehicles will sink into the yard, compact the soil, and crush the grass.

Crushed grass becomes dead grass; weeds sprout in the dead spots; and soon your dying, weedy, tire-rutted yard starts chipping away at your house pride (and your home value).

If you need more parking, expand your driveway.

That’s better for curb appeal than a dead lawn.

#6 Moss on the Roof or Siding

Yes, it’s pretty and gives your house an enchanted-cottage look, but it will inflict damage to your home that will cost a small fortune to repair. Moss stores rainwater, causing mold to grow on the roof where it will seep into the wood beneath the shingles, into the attic, and then on indoor walls. Mold in your house = an allergy nightmare.

All that moisture will rot your roof, too. Same with mossy siding: water damage and mold await. Scrape that moss off as soon as you see it.

To prevent it from coming back, put zinc or copper flashing at the roof’s peak. Rain dissolves a bit of the metal every time it falls, and it kills moss when it washes over the roof. To get moss off siding, use a power washer.

#7 Debris In Gutters

Clean out those gutters. It probably won’t be the high point of your weekend, but it’s worth it.

When your gutters are full of leaves, sticks, and other gunk, they’ll overflow when it rains, pouring water on the fascia and soffit (the parts of your house under the eave), eroding landscaping, or even making your roof leak.

Clean-gutter bonus: You’ll have fewer mosquitoes, who lay eggs in the water in clogged gutters. So clean them. Or hire someone to do it.

#8 Cracks in the Driveway

Melted snow will seep into driveway cracks, then freeze, expand, and make the cracks even bigger. That ice can even push up chunks of concrete, leaving you with a driveway disaster. In the fall, patch cracks with concrete to keep winter water out. Asphalt driveway? There are products to patch that, too.

#9 Leaves Left on the Lawn

When you’ve put the mower away for the year and snow’s just going to cover your lawn in a month anyway, why bother with the leaves?

Your lawn may be done growing for the year, but its roots are alive and well. Leaving leaves on top of it can smother the grass and cause mildew, which will kill your yard. Then when spring comes, your lawn will stay brown.

To avoid this, rake up the leaves in the fall. Or, if there’s not an overwhelming amount, just run the mover over them. Collect them in your mower’s bag, or let the tiny bits mulch your lawn.

5 Tips for Buyers to Have a Successful Home Inspection

By | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

By | Contributor, U.S. News & World Report
(Originally published on Oct. 18, 2016 in U.S. News & World Report)

FE_PR_091112Sellhomewinter_Inspect.jpg

Attend the home inspection to learn more about the property you’re interested in buying. (ISTOCKPHOTO)

 

Throughout the homebuying process, you will encounter a number of expenses including, but certainly not limited to, an appraisal, transaction fees and a survey – but none is more important than the home inspection. Dollar for dollar, there is no better use of your money, as a home inspection will not only outline the strengths and weakness of the house you are buying, but will show you how to operate it.

Choosing the Right Type

When you sit down with your real estate agent to prepare your offer, he or she will go over the different types of inspections you can choose from. While there are different inspection options – radon, pest and mold, among others – you first want to steal with a standard home inspection.

There are primarily two different types of home inspections – the home and general inspection (the names may differ depending on your location). There’s no difference in the way the inspector approaches the property or with the report he generates – it’s how that information is used that makes it unique.

A home inspection is arguably the more classic option. Based on the report you receive, you will send a notice to the seller asking for either certain items to be fixed prior to settlement, or a dollar amount be credited toward your closing costs.

The general inspection, on the other hand, is for informational purposes only. While it allows you a full inspection and often gives you the right to walk away based on those results, it does not provide an opportunity for items to be fixed or a credit given in negotiations.

Choosing Your Inspector

Every individual involved in the homebuying process must be top-notch. This is likely the biggest investment of your life and understanding what you are getting yourself into is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, be sure you choose a tried and true inspector you can trust to overlook nothing and provide your report in a timely, organized manner.

The first person to talk to for referrals is your real estate agent. Most agents have likely encountered the good, the bad and the ugly of the home inspecting world and found a few professionals they trust. Make sure your inspector is actively licensed and a member of a trade association, like the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors or American Society of Home Inspectors, and other local professional groups. Members of professional organizations are often held to a higher standard and have gone through more rigorous training to be associated with an industry group.

Finally, ask if the inspector will allow you to see a sample inspection report. While you’ll receive all the information during the time of the inspection, the sheer amount of details can be overwhelming. Seeing a report in advance helps to prepare you for the information to come, and how it can be used as a negotiation and recordation tool as well.

Owner’s Manual

Whether this is your first home or 10th, each house offers its own quirks and there’s no owner’s manual provided. It’s highly recommended you attend the inspection, as the inspector will provide useful information throughout the process of not only the pros and cons of the property, but show you how everything works as well.

An inspector will give you a plethora of information, from which way to point your air filter to where the main water shutoff valve is and how old all your major systems are. While the age and condition of many systems and appliances will be noted in the report, an explanation of how to use everything isn’t standard in written form. Bring a notepad and jot down useful information throughout the process.

Using the Report

After the inspector has gone through the entire property and provided the report, take time to review it carefully and ask any questions to either your agent or the inspector so you fully understand what you’re reading.

As you read the report, it’s important to remember the inspector is acting as a primary care physician, and should anything need further evaluation you’ll be referred to a specialist. If the home inspector finds evidence of mold or a pest problem, for example, they’ll recommend to you talk to a mold abatement specialist or exterminator to discuss the work needed to alleviate the problem.

Every negotiation is unique and should be handled as such. That said, there are general guidelines when handling a post-inspection negotiation. First, if there are any major components that are obviously broken and in need of major repair or replacement – such as heating and cooling systems, roof and windows – go after those and don’t sweat the small stuff. You want to make sure you take care of the important items that are needed for your house to function optimally.

If there aren’t any major items to take care of, it’s time to sweat the small stuff. Create a list in order of what you consider most important to least, and present it to the sellers and make sure they understand where your priorities lie.

Finally, if you prefer to oversee the repair or update work yourself and opt for a credit from the seller, make sure you’re able to ask for the amount per the guidelines of the loan by consulting your lender. There is typically a percentage (commonly 3 to 6 percent) you are allowed to receive in total credits. Should the amount be in excess of what you need, you simply won’t receive it and it goes back in the seller’s pocket.

Keep in mind … It is important to remember several things during and after your inspection. First, inspectors can’t see through walls. While their inspection is certainly thorough, it does not include things they can’t see. Also, an inspection assesses the property as it is that day. Things change, and so do the components within the house.