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Happy National Small Business Week!

By | Just for Fun | No Comments

Just as we are thankful for a healthy housing market across central Texas, we also celebrate the growth of small businesses across the nation. National Small Business Week is May 5 – 11, 2019, and we are proud to share that nearly half of all Americans own or work for a small business, including our team at Barfield Home Inspection.

Small businesses help to develop local economy and increase connections within a community. Additionally, small businesses like ours account for two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year. That’s nothing to sneeze at! In addition to running our business, we partner with Austin-area realtors and vendors who help homeowners in the process of buying, selling and maintaining homes. Many of these partners also represent the small business population, and to them, we say hats off for a job well done.

Here are just a few of the reasons we choose to operate and work with small businesses:

  • Master of all trades. Small businesses rely on fewer people to accomplish tasks and meet deadlines. That means team members usually have expertise in a variety of areas and wear many hats.
  • Personal touch. Working with small businesses means you are more likely to develop one-on-one relationships and have a personal connection. Your business really matters to us.
  • Well managed. Small businesses understand the value of customers, and generally are quick to correspond. Additionally, smaller teams may be more flexible when it comes to timelines and budget line items than larger enterprises that are unable to negotiate.

In short, small is mighty! We value your business and are happy to serve you with honesty and integrity, just like we’ve been doing since 2003. For more tips and helpful information from our home to yours, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @barfieldhomeinspection.

 

Invest your tax return on home maintenance

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

In addition to blooming wildflowers, festivals and an early taste of warm weather to come, spring brings a monetary delight for many: tax refund season. If, like the majority of Americans, your refund plans include making an investment, paying off debt or making a large purchase, here are some considerations for funneling that surplus into your home.

According to HGTV, saving one to three percent of your home’s purchase price for maintenance is a wise annual choice. Conveniently enough, the average tax return for 2018 is $3,000 which could account for a sizeable lump sum deposit for the median homeowner. Once you have a plan to stock up your reserve, here are some common household maintenance items you can expect to attend to throughout the year:

  • Texas limestone can leave you with hard water, leading to stained sinks and itchy skin. Install a water softener and maintain your salt levels regularly. Clean mineral deposits from your faucets.
  • Spring weather often means heavy rains and strong winds. Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles and leaks, then contact an expert roofer from our preferred vendors list for help.
  • Assess your home’s air conditioning quality and consider having your system serviced. Change your air filters regularly, and while you’re atop that ladder, check your smoke detectors as well!
  • Account for any damage left from cold weather contraction by evaluating your door and window seals, as well as locks and door handles for wear and tear. Replace or repair weather caulking where needed.
  • Prepare for a beautiful summer and add curb appeal by investing in landscaping and fertilizer for your lawn. Check your irrigation system and reference our preferred vendors for assistance.

You can also maximize your home maintenance budget by conserving water and electricity, and thereby reducing utility costs. Finally, save your hard-earned funds by considering a do it yourself (DIY) project, where time and experience allows.

Making routine improvements and adhering to regularly scheduled maintenance is an investment you can make in the life of your home. For more expert tips and advice, follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @barfieldhomeinspection.

Tell mosquitoes to buzz off this spring!

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

While we do appreciate the return of warm weather and sunshine, spring temperatures also mark the beginning of mosquito season in central Texas. If you have experienced mosquito season in Texas before, you know these pesky creatures can really ruin a good time. Not only are they annoying, but also dangerous. They can transmit diseases to both humans and pets. In Texas, mosquitoes can sometimes stick around until early winter. In the meantime, it is important to protect your home and your family.

Start off by sealing up your house. Keep your doors and windows closed in the evening and install screens as an extra precaution. If you already have screens, make sure to repair any holes or tears this month.

According to the Austin Public Health Department, the best way to fight mosquitoes is to remember the four D’s:

  • Dusk and dawn
  • Dress
  • DEET
  • Drain

DUSK TO DAWN is the most active time for mosquitoes. If you can avoid being outdoors during this time, you are less likely to have an encounter. However, summertime means backyard barbecues and lots of time outside on the porch, so if you are outside, remember to DRESS appropriately. The more covered you are, the better. If your skin is exposed, be sure to use insect repellent that contains DEET. Check out these myths and facts about DEET from OFF!® if you have questions about the effectiveness or safety of DEET.

Finally, DRAIN any places with standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Clean your gutters, fix any leaks, remove debris from your yard, and replace your pet’s water bowl often.

April is in full swing which means now is the time to act against mosquitoes! Remember the four D’s and check out the city of Austin website for more information on preventing mosquitoes and protecting your family from viruses.

Under the Roof with Randy Barfield: The Ground Level

By | Home Maintenance Tips | No Comments

Do you know what’s happening on the ground level of your home? Is the foundation level? What happens when the soil shifts? Don’t worry, we have answers for you.

Last month, we visited construction expert and building manager Casey Strickland with Drees Homes to analyze a home from the ground level! Check out the video below to hear Randy and Casey dive into questions about foundations, post-tension cables and the importance of a third party inspection.

Fire safety reminder!

By | Home Maintenance Tips | No Comments

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, or are happy where you are for years to come, few things are more important than protecting your family, home and belongings. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 355,400 home structure fires per year, resulting in 2,560 deaths and $6.5 billion in property damage. Although this news is alarming, three out of five fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke detectors.

When it comes to fire safety, do not leave the security of your home and loved ones to chance. Here are some quick tips from the U.S. Fire Administration to ensure smoke detectors in your home are in good working order:

  • Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Put alarms on every level of the home.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms work. Your family is not safe if they can’t hear the smoke alarms.
  • Test smoke alarms every month and replace 9-volt smoke alarm batteries at least once every year.
  • Smoke alarms do not last forever. Get new smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • When you hear a smoke alarm, you may have less than two minutes to get everyone outside and safe.

In addition to your monthly smoke alarm test, create a clear fire escape plan and discuss with everyone in your home. A good plan includes two ways to get out of any room in your home, and your family should practice the plan twice every year.

Ideally, your smoke detectors only get put to use when a batch of cookies stay in the oven too long. However, having a strong plan and working smoke detectors can help everyone in your family understand what to do in case the unthinkable happens.

Test your smoke detectors today, and stay safe!

Barfield joins Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce

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We are excited to announce that Barfield Home Inspection has officially joined the Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce this year! Thank you to all those who came out to the ribbon cutting ceremony on February 6 to welcome us to the Wimberley community. The small-town charm, friendly people, great shopping and food, vibrant art, and beautiful views are just a few of the many reasons we love doing business in Wimberley.

The mission of the Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce is to promote community and economic prosperity while fostering strong alliances and partnerships. The Chamber partners with individuals, government and businesses like us to improve the economic climate and lifestyle of the Wimberley area. The Chamber membership is visible evidence of people working together for a thriving community.

In addition to Wimberley and Hays county, Barfield Home Inspection is proud to serve Travis, Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Llano, Lee, and Blanco Counties. We’ve got central Texas covered! When it comes time to buy or sell your home, give us a call for a detailed, thorough home inspection.

Brunch & Learn: Keys to selling you home before it hits the market

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Just for Fun, Real Estate News | No Comments

We are teaming with Ryan Kelly with Ryan Kelly Group and Ruby Cloutier with Vazzo Spaces for an exciting event this spring! Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 2, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Join us at the Keller Williams Southwest Market Center (directions here) for breakfast tacos, coffee, and a detailed discussion on how to prepare your home for sale before it hits the market. We are bringing together the finest in the industry to talk about preparing your home for sale. Panelists include: Our own Randy Barfield, Owner of Barfield Home Inspection and expert home inspector; Ryan Kelly, Realtor with Ryan Kelly Group – Keller Williams Realty, investor, and real estate enthusiast; and Ruby Cloutier, interior designer, home staging specialist and Founder of Vazzo Spaces.

This event welcomes homebuyers, homeowners and realtors to brunch and learn. The best part is that it’s not only educational, but free to attend! We’ll share an analysis of the current real estate climate, identify buyers biggest objections and how to overcome them, why you should consider a home inspection before you list, how staging can make you more money, and more. There will also be giveaways including a Nest thermostat, staging consultation, and discounted pre-home inspection. RSVP today!

Test your toilet for leaks

By | Home Maintenance Tips | No Comments

Is your toilet always running? Does it make hissing noises? This may indicate a toilet leak. In addition to increasing your utility bills, a leaky toilet tank can cause costly water damage to your flooring. Before spending money on a new toilet, try this quick trick to test for leaks:

Step 1: Remove lid and add red food coloring to the water in the tank.

Step 2: Sit back and wait – give it about an hour.

Step 3: Check the water in the toilet bowl. If the water is pink, then you have a leak.  This means it is time to replace the flappers in the tank.

Catching this leak can save you from replacing your toilet and costly damage. Sometimes leaks can sneak up silently, so it is important to test your toilet periodically.

Give back to your community this holiday season!

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Here at Barfield Home Inspection, giving back to the community is important. It is also a great way to get in the holiday spirit. After all, giving is what the holidays are all about! This year, Randy and his friend Mike Chiconsky had the opportunity to deliver Christmas presents with Operation Blue Santa. Operation Blue Santa is a program through the Austin Police Department that provides toys and gifts to those in need during the holiday season. You can get involved by donating, adopting a family or volunteering your time. Operation Blue Santa is just one of many programs in Austin that is on a mission to make the holidays a happy time for all.

It is easy to get wrapped up in your own holiday festivities and forget there are families out there who are less fortunate. We want to remind you to think about others this Christmas and get out and do some good! See below for other opportunities to donate or volunteer your time during the holidays.

Many of these organizations have programs and accept donations year-round. Make giving back part of your holiday routine or even part of your monthly routine!

Salvation Army Angel Tree: Found in local malls, companies and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of gifts. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags.

Toys for Tots: A program through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them to less fortunate children in the community as a message of hope.

Meals on Wheels: Provides home delivered, prepared meals for seniors and other homebound clients throughout the Greater Austin area.

Central Texas Food Bank: The Largest hunger-relief charity in central Texas that works with food donors across the country, financial supporters and volunteers to fill unmet needs in Central Texas.

HEB Feast of Sharing: Communities all over Texas host an Annual Holiday Dinner to provide holiday meals and good cheer. These free holiday feasts bring together family, friends and neighbors.

Keep your succulents happy this winter

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

Do you have trouble keeping your succulents alive during the cold winter months? Lucky for you, our home inspector Mike is a gardening pro when it comes to growing and maintaining succulents and cacti. And what better and more trendy way to keep your home beautiful in Texas than succulents? They make the best house plants and use very little water!

Here is some quick advice from Mike to keep your succulents happy this winter:

“I generally move my succulents inside when it is supposed to freeze,” shares Mike. “Believe it or not, most succulents, especially cacti and agave, are quite cold hardy.

Native species, like prickly pear, can tolerate very low temperatures. However, each species has its own cold tolerance, so it is important to do your research on your specific plant.

Generally, if temperatures are going to drop below 32 degrees it is time to bring them inside or into a heated area.”

Check out some of Mike’s succulent successes below: