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Austin home inspection

2021: A Look at the Year Ahead

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Happy New Year, everyone!

As we take time to reflect on 2020, we want to express our sincere gratitude for you – the hardworking real estate agents, home owners, and buyers who trust Barfield Home Inspection with all your home inspection needs. Last year presented us with a lot of firsts, but we made it through together and continue to celebrate Austin, Texas as one of the best places to live in the country. Cheers to that!

We kick-off every year with aspirations for the 365 days ahead. In addition to inspecting homes and partnering with real estate professionals across Central Texas, this year we celebrate the second season of our podcast, “Under the Roof with Randy Barfield.” As we begin programming, we would love your feedback! Take our quick survey to let us know what you like about the pod, and what you’d like to hear more of this year.

For now, here are a few projections for the Austin real estate market in 2021:

As always, remember to get in touch with Barfield Home Inspection team for all your inspection needs. We’re the team you can trust, and we’ve been telling it like it is since 2003. Call 512-350-0123 today and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @barfieldhomeinspection.

Here’s to a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Happy Holiday Decorating in 2020

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

Most of us can agree that we are looking forward to the holidays a little more than usual this year. After all, we could really use a reason to celebrate! Although yuletide festivities may look a little different than normal, it seems that many Americans have gone above and beyond in decorating their homes this season. Before you pull out the ladder, lights and tinsel, check out these tips and tricks that will help you save time, energy and help keep you and your home safe amidst all that sparkles this holiday season:

• Trim the tree. Whether you prefer a natural or artificial tree, be sure to keep it away from all heating sources in your home. Enough said.

• Keep a fire extinguisher handy. From trees to candles, to extra garland and tinsel, your home is likely filled with more décor than usual. Keep fire extinguishers in accessible locations throughout your home, and ensure everyone knows how to operate it if necessary. Most fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique:
PULL the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
AIM low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
NOTE: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage skin.
SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2-4.

• Turn all candles off before you turn in. A holiday favorite, candles provide ambient light and comforting fragrances of home. But if you’re likely to forget blowing these out on a nightly basis, turn to flameless instead.

• Whether you’re going full-on Clark Griswold or have something more tasteful in mind, you may find yourself on a ladder this month. Before you climb on board, check out Randy’s Ladder Safety Series and have someone stay at the ladder base to help stabilize and give you a hand if needed.

• Unfortunately, the most popular holiday plant, the poinsettia, can be harmful to pets and children. Be sure to keep these decorative displays out of harm’s reach.

We hope you have a wonderful time making your home warm, cozy and bright this holiday season, and that these tips go a long way to ensuring your safety in the process. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

On behalf of the entire Barfield Home Inspection team, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!

Pressure Washing 101

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Weekend warriors around the country have noticed one thing in common since March 2020: Regardless of business restrictions, one group that has stayed consistently busy (and perhaps even surged in demand) is home improvement. While Americans have more time at home to assess and enhance their surroundings, hardware stores have become the place to go as homeowners flock with mile long honey-do lists.

In case your list has run low or you’re looking for a way to make your home’s curb appeal shine even brighter, pressure washing is an excellent way to deep clean your home. Pressure washers utilize high-pressure water measured in pounds per square inch (psi) to remove tough stains from a variety of surfaces. They are available for sale and rent in both gas and electric, portable and stationary models. Once you find the pressure washer that’s right for you, familiarize yourself with the settings and safety operating instructions, as this is a significant piece of machinery.

When you’re ready to get started, here are a few ideas of projects you can accomplish at home with a pressure washer:

  • Blast years’ worth of dirt from your driveway in record time using a pressure washer. Whether you own or rent the equipment, be sure to read the safety manual and follow the proper operating procedures and precautions. Sweep the driveway and sidewalk before you start to remove surface-level debris that may become airborne. Hold down the spray handle and sweep back and forth in broad, overlapping strokes from one side of the concrete to the other. Your neighbors (and potential buyers) are sure to be impressed!

Pro Tip: Use the same method for your patio to stop tracking dirt inside the house!

  • Give your home a face lift with a good wash. While elbow grease is helpful, pressure washing can eliminate dirt, mildew, and grime from your home’s exterior in much less time. Whether your home is finished with brick, wood, aluminum, stucco or steel, pressure washing on a yearly basis is a great idea to keep it looking new! Before you begin, read the manual carefully to ensure you follow the settings for your home’s exterior, and then use a top-down method to wash away the gunk. While you’re at it, be sure to pressure wash your windows.

Pro Tip: If you are pressure washing in preparation for paint, be sure to give the home at least two days to thoroughly dry before you begin.

  • Refinish your fence. We all know good fences make good neighbors, but after taking a daily beating from the sun, wind, and rain, even the sturdiest of fences can look a little run down. Use detergent, medium pressure, and a sweeping fan pattern to restore your fence with a pressure washer. After two days, you can seal or paint your fence for the ultimate DIY makeover.

Pro Tip: Pressure wash your fence once a year to keep it looking new (annual painting not required!).

As we continue to spend more time at home, it’s great to cherish and take care of the spaces we love. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @BarfieldHomeInspection for more home maintenance tips from the company that’s been telling it like it is since 2003. Stay safe and happy washing!

The Unexpected Impact of COVID-19

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Real Estate News | No Comments

When it comes to great places to live, few places hold a candle to Austin, Texas. The vibrant culture, thriving economy, delicious food and beautiful scenery top the ongoing list of reasons we love it here. When you have a place this desirable to live, it’s inevitable that people will move to the number one city in the United States from all over the country and the world. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons our business and client base continue to grow year-over-year, even despite the 2008 recession and the current pandemic.

As we navigate this critical time in history, it seems like a great opportunity to examine the consequences of COVID-19 on the Austin real estate market. While some of these effects are more expected than others, here’s a snapshot of the things we see out in the field:

  • Houses are selling…Fast! Just as we discussed on the last episode of Under the Roof, homes in Austin and the surrounding areas are selling quickly. Mortgage rates are low, buyers are motivated, and early trends indicate people are moving to larger homes with more room to spread out, since social activities are less abundant than usual. While this is great news for sellers, it means buyers should be prepared for competition as inventory remains low.
  • People are moving out. Although sales in Austin city limits continue to soar, individuals are seeking more space, both within their home and on their property. For many buyers, this means a turn from condo-style living to single family homes on larger lots where available. For the unique cities and towns that surround Austin, this is good news.
  • Option periods are slim. The typical option period on a home purchase is seven days. During this time, the buyer has the home inspected and can cancel the contract for any reason. In other words, this is where we come in! However, due to heavy demand we are seeing option periods as narrow as three days, which creates a quick turnaround for the inspection team. At Barfield Home Inspection we are careful not to overbook, so we can give each and every home our careful attention and keep telling it like it is!
  • Purchases must be planned. Just as buyers need to be pre-approved and offer-ready, now is a good time to educate yourself on what commodities are available. Due to high retail demand and the trickle-down effects of reduced manufacturing during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, buyers may find that many items are as scarce as Clorox wipes. If, for example, your new home purchase means you will need to buy large appliances or furniture, do your homework now to find out what is available and set proper expectations for the wait.

Although the situation continues to unfold, we are grateful that Austin’s housing market continues to thrive in 2020. The Barfield Home Inspection team takes social distancing and safety precautions seriously to protect home buyers, sellers and agents at each home we visit. Stay in the know and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more details about Austin real estate and home maintenance.

Landscape for form and function

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

While beautiful landscaping enhances curb appeal and is proven to increase buyer interest, it’s also important for the health of your home’s foundation. Since a stable foundation is critical to a good home inspection, here are a few tips this spring as you enhance your home’s natural beauty:

  • Don’t plant too close. It’s like we always say: Water is your home’s number one enemy. Trees, shrubs and other plants that require lots of moisture will direct that moisture to your home, which can result in long-term issues. Additionally, don’t establish too many plants that will require water. You want to plant evenly around your home so that as water expands, the soil distributes evenly.
  • Grade away from your home. Be sure that water isn’t running toward your home. Look around to see which direction stormwater flows. We recommend that homeowners create a grade away from your home to ensure a sturdy foundation. If you need help, check our preferred lenders list and have a foundation expert take a look.
  • Select plants that match your environment. Plants that thrive in your environmental zone will not only prove to be more healthy and beautiful, they can also impact the amount of water and time you devote to their existence. Be sure to use mulch around your trees and shrubs, as it acts like a sponge to retain moisture without requiring excess to keep plants healthy.
  • Mow regularly.  A fresh cut will remove leaves and other debris, leaving your yard clean and fresh. This is also a great time to cut back hedges around your home to maximize bright sunshine indoors. Visit the Central Texas Gardener for specific tips and tricks that can help boost your home’s curb appeal this spring.
    • Bonus – Clean yards deter pests such as insects and snakes, which can be particularly problematic for homeowners during hot Texas summers.

By tidying up your home’s exterior, you can protect your home’s foundation and avoid costly structural repairs. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Fortify Your Home’s Foundation

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

Often overlooked, your home’s foundation is its structural anchor. A good foundation keeps your home stable and level. Although far from the prettiest attribute of any home, foundation cracks are in fact quite common. From new construction to older homes, many exteriors show these signs of wear. Luckily, many vertical foundation cracks can be easily repaired, and some can even be prevented!

As Randy explained in our “Under the Roof” video series, foundation cracks that show up on your home’s floor commonly appear as the surface dries. However, you should contact us if you notice cracks larger than 1/8 of an inch wide or cracks that offset. Foundation experts may also need to shim a home to level the foundation to meet industry standards.

Like so many other home maintenance and improvement projects, keeping your home’s foundation dry is key. Moisture is your home’s consummate enemy. Here are a few ways you can keep your foundation dry and prevent exterior cracks:

  • Clean your gutters. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. Full gutters spill over, creating pools of water adjacent to the foundation.
  • Refill spring soil. Take advantage of Texas spring, and fill in any low areas washed away by heavy rains with compacted soil. This will insulate your foundation and help to cradle it while absorbing moisture.
  • Monitor your moisture. While getting too wet can be a problem, drying out is also dangerous for your foundation. Especially as we enter summer, keep an eye on the weather, your lawn and sprinkler system to ensure your yard isn’t getting too much or too little water.
  • Act fast. As with many things, if you notice a foundation crack, contact the experts before the situation worsens. When addressed promptly, many cracks can be assessed and fixed inexpensively without further damage. Your home inspector or foundation expert can also make suggestions about your home and landscaping to prevent future problems.

While foundations are not a one-size-fits-all problem area, these are some of the biggest trends we see out in the field. If you need someone to take a look at your home, we’ve been telling it like it is since 2003 and we’d be happy to take a look. Just give us a call at 512-350-0123.

For more home buying, selling and maintenance tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay safe, dry and healthy out there, Central Texas!

Join us for virtual home inspections as Austin residents stay-at-home

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Real Estate News | No Comments

Dear friends,

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy. These are unprecedented times. Barfield Home Inspection is here for you and we understand the feeling of uncertainty and the difficulties those in the real estate industry face. We are here to support you. As you may have seen, today Mayor Adler’s shelter-in-place orders take affect in Travis and Williamson counties through Monday, April 13.

Barfield Home Inspection will remain open to serve as many home buyers and sellers as possible during this critical time. ABOR advises no showings in Travis County and limited showings in surrounding areas to avoid in-person interaction as much as possible. Closings should continue as scheduled. In light of these orders and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking extra steps to safeguard you as realtors, sellers and buyers from in-person interaction with our team. The good news is business can continue. Here is how my team and I are conducting home inspections amidst COVID-19:

• Limiting and/or eliminating person-to-person interaction with a VIRTUAL HOME INSPECTION. Homeowners, buyers, and real estate agents do not need to be present at the time of inspection. In an effort to comply with social distancing and offer an added layer of safety for our clients, our team will proceed with the inspection inside the house without occupants inside the house at the time of inspection (approximately three-hour timeframe). Residents are welcome to spend time outside the home in the backyard or take a drive during the inspection.

At the end of the inspection, we will conduct a virtual meeting via FaceTime or Google Duo to recap the inspection and answer any questions. We will then vacate the premises and save the handshakes for later! We are proud to embrace the technology at hand to continue serving home buyers and sellers during this challenging time.

• N95 particulate respirator masks, boot covers and gloves worn at each inspection. We continue to wash and sanitize our hands thoroughly and often. Before and after each inspection we thoroughly wipe down and sanitize all equipment used.

The Barfield Home Inspection team also understands the importance of respirator masks for the medical community who face a shortage. Luckily, as home inspectors, we have this type of equipment on hand. We have reserved the few masks we need for home inspections and have donated the rest to those facing the front lines of the crisis. If there are other ways we can be of service, please contact me directly via text or call (512) 350-0123.

On behalf of the entire Barfield Home Inspection team, thank you for your partnership, your business and your trust. We are honored to continue to serve the Austin real estate community and appreciate your support. We will get through this and be stronger for it. Stay in touch and look for updates from our team by following us on Facebook and Instagram @BarfieldHomeInspection. In the coming weeks, we plan to provide additional resources for you and your clients as we all hunker down at home. Home improvement here we come!

Feel free to get in touch with any questions, and stay healthy out there,
Randy

Randy Barfield
Owner, Barfield Home Inspection
(512) 350-0123
randy@barfieldhomeinspection.com

Spring forward to sell your home

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Daylight saving time kicks off this weekend, and although we aren’t excited about the loss of precious sleep, we are looking gratefully forward to longer days, bright sunshine and warm Texas spring weather. While you’re busy checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, this is also a great time for sellers in Austin’s competitive real estate market to ready their home for buyers. Although it’s still a bit early to plant flowers, here are a few tips to spring forward in your home sale:

  • A clean, sparkling home will invite buyers and direct attention to all the right spaces. Start by cleaning your windows, inside and out, and wash your blinds to make an instant eye-opening difference. While you’re poking around the eyes of your home, be sure to inspect the weather stripping and caulking, which may be in need of repair.
  • Showcase the exterior of your home by mowing the lawn. A fresh cut will help remove leaves and other debris, leaving your yard clean and fresh. This is also a great time to cut back hedges around your home to maximize bright sunshine indoors. Visit the Central Texas Gardener for specific tips and tricks that can help boost your home’s curb appeal this spring.
  • Lower your gaze and take a long, hard look at your floors. The appearance of your floors can leave a lasting impression on prospective buyers, and you want to be sure it’s the right one! Start by vacuuming and mopping, but consider a professional cleaning or refinishing if needed.

In Austin’s hot market, buyers need to be as amply prepared as sellers. Here are a few tips for those looking to move into a new home this spring:

  • Know your credit score and budget. Our friends in the mortgage lending business will tell you this is a crucial part of the process. If you need help finding a lender, give us a call – we know excellent professionals who would be delighted to help you along your home-buying journey. Be sure to factor in closing costs, property taxes and insurance.
  • Once you are committed to buying in the upcoming months, contact your lender to get preapproved for a mortgage loan. While this is not a commitment or rate guarantee, getting preapproved will speed up the process down the road (which could give you the edge in a competitive market!).
  • Know who you want to work with. The right real estate agent and mortgage lender can make the process much less stressful and more enjoyable. Be sure to work with individuals who understand your needs, wants and priorities. When you’re ready to purchase a home and need an inspector you can trust, call Randy Barfield and the Barfield Home Inspection team. We’ve been telling it like it is since 2003 and would love to help you into the home of your dreams.

For more home buying, selling, maintenance and inspection tips, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tune into our new podcast “Under the Roof with Randy Barfield,” now streaming on Spotify and Stitcher!