June 23, 2010

The Purpose of Pro-Sight Property Inspections Blog

Filed under: Blogs Purpose — Chuck @ 8:28 am

Pro-Sight Property Inspections Blogs: Keeping you informed.

Whether you happen to be buying or renting a home or representing someone as their real estate agent or broker, a professional home inspection is critical to the success of the transaction. In fact, there is perhaps no step along the way that is more important in terms of understanding the real value of a home and providing insight into issues of home maintenance and safety.

To keep you more informed and educated about the home inspection process and what to expect from a licensed property inspector, Pro-Sight provides this resourceful blog. Log on anytime to learn about how and why mechanical and structural house inspections and real estate inspection reports are essential.

Find out about what the professional inspector looks for in a home, how to interpret or understand the details in an official inspection report, and what actions can and should be taken to follow up on an inspector’s expert observations and recommendations.  Whether it is a general home inspection – like those typically ordered by the buyer prior to closing on a home purchase – or a specialized inspection for such things as environmental hazards, the nuts and bolts of the subject will be thoroughly presented in a user-friendly but insightful manner.

Those who are shopping for a home will be kept on the leading edge of the learning curve with expert answers to commonly asked questions regarding inspections and what they cover. Real estate agents or brokers will find that the blog is a convenient and reliable resource for helping to teach clients – whether they are buyers, sellers, or renters – about home inspections. When new developments in the home inspection industry happen, the Pro-Sight blog will ensure that you are kept up-to-date and informed. If you’re a home seller trying to prepare a property for an inspection, we’ll tell you how to get your house in top condition. Or you may just be a concerned homeowner, property investor, or professional landlord who wants to get a home inspected to uncover any potential maintenance issues or problems that may jeopardize safety. Whatever your reason for wanting to know more about the technical, legal, and practical aspects of the home inspection process, this blog is intended to be a one-stop comprehensive resource. Subscribe to it now to be alerted whenever a new entry is posted and ensure that you have the information you need and deserve to stay informed.

Home Safety: More than meets the eye.

Filed under: Home Safety — Chuck @ 8:24 am

Whether you rent, lease, or own your home – and whether you live in a condo or a single-family home – safety is a paramount concern. Accidents happen, and they can be both personally and financially devastating. But many of them can be easily prevented by taking some basic simple steps to ensure that your home is a safe environment for you, your loved ones, and your pets.

It all starts with taking a complete inventory of any potential hazards, because by eliminating those you can quickly and easily enhance the safety and security of your property – without really spending a dime. Once you have evaluated any potential risks you can minimize them while intelligently organizing your home to make it permanently safer. That will help you sleep better at night, knowing that you’ve rooted out those problems before they happen by taking the right proactive steps.

The obvious culprits are such things as flammable substances stored indoors or in the garage where they could erupt into a fire. These include such household items as old cans of paint thinner, containers of kerosene or lawn mower fuel, and BBQ grill lighter fluid. Leftover paint stored away in buckets and cans, bottles of unused cleaning products, and stacks of old newspapers not only take up useful space but they also pose an easy-to-remedy household hazard. Check all around the house for these items and unless you’ve used them within the past 2-3 months, consider getting rid of them. The cost to replace that old bottle of lighter fluid is miniscule when compared to the cost of an accident, and freeing up extra room for storage can be a huge bonus in any home.

Keep in mind that many household items – from old batteries to cans of varnish or solvent – need to be disposed of properly to help protect the environment and to also prevent them from injuring someone who might be involved in hauling away your trash to a landfill. If you’re not sure how or where to safely dispose of something, contact your town’s municipal waste management department and they’ll be more than happy to help you.

But there are other threats to safety that can be either concealed or totally invisible to the untrained eye. These run the gamut from structural problems like rotted beams or loose brickwork to more subtle agents like toxic mold, radon gas, or carbon monoxide. Your home may have outdated electrical components, faulty wiring, inadequate circuit breakers, or a faulty chimney, stove, or furnace. While these problems sometimes show external symptoms such as scorch marks on the face plates of electrical outlets or a dimming of kitchen lights every time the refrigerator cooling systems comes on, others are virtually invisible and silent.

Each year, for example, many people are killed or hospitalized because of overexposure to carbon monoxide in the home – which is both silent and odorless. Or there may be rodents living in an out-of-the-way place like the corner of an attic or a tiny hole in the wall of the garage, and if they gnaw on electrical wiring that could cause a fire. If the wrong kinds of outlets are installed in the kitchen or bathroom they could lead to accidental electrocution, and if a gas appliance needs repair or the wiring to the hot tub is incorrect those could also have tragic consequences.

Even something as simple and benign as a bathroom vent fan can become potentially hazardous, because if the fan is not properly ventilated it will blow moisture up into the walls, ceiling, attic, or whatever other area of the house it is connected to through the fan’s ductwork system. That creates a breeding ground for mold, and many forms of household mold will make you sick – while some types of mold are potentially lethal. You won’t see the mold, and you probably won’t see that the fan isn’t working as it should, either, unless you trace the venting system all the way to the outdoors.

When in doubt, don’t risk your health and that of your family. We know that we need to keep regular appointments so that the dentist can look for potential cavities hidden under the surface and catch them in time. Otherwise we won’t notice them until they turn into a toothache that could mean a painful and expensive root canal infection. Similarly, for about the same price as getting our teeth cleaned and checked twice a year we can take advantage of the expertise and experience of a professional.

Licensed contractors, environmental inspectors, general home inspectors, or other specialists may be available to check your home or offer expert recommendations. Members of your local fire department can also be consulted, and they can help point out safety issues and do checks of items like smoke detectors to make sure they are properly working and ideally located within the areas of your home.

Staying aware of what’s going in within your domicile gives you a head’s up on any lurking problems. That helps to eliminate unnecessary fear and anxiety and enhance your safety and well-being – and it could even lower your home insurance costs over time by minimizing hazards and claims.

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

Filed under: Home Maintenance — Chuck @ 8:23 am

Although we would all prefer to spend each and every one of our summer weekends relaxing on the beach, golf course, or around the outdoor grill, the warm weather also provides an excellent opportunity for doing outdoor chores. So set aside a little time, at least, to devote to routine annual or semi-annual home maintenance projects.

To make the endeavor more useful, satisfying, and productive, plan your home maintenance projects with some expert tips in mind. If you have a copy of the home inspection report you got when you hired an inspector before buying your home, take it out and give it a quick read. There may be some comments or notes from the inspector regarding recommended home maintenance procedures. Highlight those with a marker, and make a checklist of ones that should be done in the summertime.

You will want to concentrate on the outdoors, naturally, because during the rest of the year those tasks may be harder to do thanks to shorter days and colder temperatures. Plus it is much more fun to be outside during the summer, so you can combine work with pleasure – especially if you mix up a refreshing pitcher of iced tea or lemonade to keep you hydrated while you’re working.

Check painted surfaces for peeling, cracking, or blistering. Sometimes painting the trouble spots on a home or garage can help prolong the life of a paint job and reduce the number of times you have to repaint your whole house. Make sure the gutters are clear and that they drain away from the foundation of your home, too, because summer thunderstorms can produce dramatic amount of potentially damaging rainfall runoff. Also visually inspect the roof to see if any shingles are curled, misshapen, or missing. Those might be easy to repair or replace, but if you neglect them they could wind up costing you an entire roof replacement or expensive water damage inside the home.

Do a walk-around to inspect the perimeter of the home. You should look for any termite tracks along the foundation. These are thin, tiny trails of dirt shaped like branches. If you aren’t sure how to identify them, have a termite inspector show you examples so that you can be on the lookout for these telltale signs of trouble. You should also learn to accurately identify carpenter ants and wood-boring bees, because these insects can also do a tremendous amount of damage to your home. A good inspector can check for these and also show you what to look for so that you can do regular spot checks on your own.

Be sure to keep your air conditioning system or heat pump filters clean, and keep the HVAC fan outdoors free of leaves and other debris. Everything grows faster this time of year, too. So keep bushes, weeds, tree limbs, and even flowerbeds and mulch trimmed or manicured away from your home and foundation.

Here’s the easiest and most pleasant summer chore of all. Stand beneath the shade trees on your property and while looking up into the leaves and branches, check for dead limbs. A sudden gust of wind or an ice storm next winter could send those crashing down, so if you find evidence of dead, diseased, or rotten limbs have the trees inspected and treated or trimmed.

Also, before stepping on the ladder, cranking up the hedge trimmer, picking up a paint brush, or doing anything involving home maintenance – be sure to practice safety first. Too many homeowners cut corners on simple safety procedures and wind up making unfortunate trips to the emergency room – which is no way to spend a bright and sunny summer afternoon. Take your time and protect yourself – because nothing is more valuable than your good health and the health and safety of those around you.

Use OSHA-approved safety glasses to protect your eyes, wear cotton or leather gloves to help avoid blisters, cracks, and abrasions on your hands, and wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator when working around chemicals, dust, or other products that could be potentially hazardous when inhaled. Sturdy footwear is a must – otherwise you could twist and ankle or step on something sharp and get injured – and if you’re going to be exposed to poison ivy or other toxic plants then wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Sunscreen and a hat with a brim or visor are also important to protect you from harmful UV rays.

The effort you make will pay off throughout the year by keeping your home in tip-top condition and ensuring that it performs as it should. A home that performs well is less expensive in terms of repairs and utility bills, so that will keep your overall homeowner costs to a minimum.

Home Inspection Tips: Look before you leap.

Filed under: Property Inspection — Chuck @ 8:22 am

The warm weather months are the prime season for real estate buying and selling, and millions of Americans are busy shopping for homes and finalizing their transactions. Purchasing a home is typically the largest financial transaction of a person’s entire lifetime, and those who realize the American Dream through home ownership want assurance that their home is well constructed so that it can potentially last a lifetime. For that reason it is always highly recommended that before closing on any home the buyer should hire a licensed and qualified home inspector to thoroughly evaluate its structural and mechanical performance.

Here are some tips for ensuring a successful home inspection:

  • Schedule the home inspection as soon as possible after submitting an offer to purchase.  That will allow you enough time to negotiate any potential repair allowances or expenses with the seller. It will also give you time to have repairs or other remedies completed and, if necessary, inspected again before the date of your closing.
  • Attend the inspection, if possible. Being on hand while the inspector examines the home offers you a rare opportunity to ask questions and get valuable home maintenance advice. The inspector can point out particular areas of interest to you and explain any special concerns or issues he or she discovers.
  • Don’t neglect the home inspection process just because you are buying a new home from a developer or builder. Some of the most catastrophic problems with homes have been found in new construction, and if nobody has lived in the home before then there is no one to verify whether or not problems or potential problems exist. A professional inspector knows exactly what to look for – even in the examination of a brand new house – and they will give you a full report to help you make your important buying decisions.
  • Once you receive the inspection report take some time to read through the entire document. Many homeowners simply scan the report for problems and then toss it out or file it away somewhere. But each report contains lots of insightful information about the property. Knowing what the inspector found and described about your home can make you a more informed consumer and a more conscientious homeowner when it comes time for proactive home maintenance.
  • The inspection report also gives you a common reference document that is written in appropriately technical language. That means that referring back to the home inspection report can facilitate clear understandings during discussions about your home with contractors, tenants, insurance companies, real estate agents, and other interested parties.
  • Even if the home has been recently inspected and the current owner shares that official inspection report with you, you should still exercise your right to hire your own inspector. Houses aren’t static, unchanging structures. The condition of a home can change drastically within a very short time, and relying on outdated information – even if it was accurate at the time it was compiled – can be a serious mistake.
  • Before hiring a home inspector, first confirm his or her professional credentials. Each state has its own criteria and licensing or certification system for home inspectors. You want to be sure that yours has the educational and training background required – as well as current and verifiable professional certification.

A professional home inspection is one of the best investments you can make, and it represents just a small fraction of the cost of the real estate purchase. Nobody would risk buying a car without first having it checked-out by a knowledgeable mechanic or other car expert. Otherwise they can end up paying a considerable amount of money for a lemon. But compared to the price of a home, vehicle purchases are relatively minor. Trust the experts before signing on the dotted line and signing up for a long-term mortgage commitment.

Hire the best possible home inspection professional, and then rest assured that you can make a wise, well-informed, confident home purchase. Not only will the expertise of a professional home inspector provide you will valuable insight and information, but it can also offer you invaluable peace of mind and reassurance during the often stressful process of buying a home for yourself and your family.