Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Really Matters in a Home Inspection

Buying a home?  The process can be stressful.  A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but it often has the opposite effect.  You will be asked to absorb a lot of information over 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 make the experience even more overwhelming.  What should you do?

Relax. Inspectors are professionals, and if yours is a member of InterNACHI, then you can trust that he/she is among the most highly trained in the industry. Most of your inspection will be related to maintenance recommendations and minor imperfections. These are good to know about.  However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
  1. major defects:  An example of this would be a structural failure;
  2. things that lead to major defects: a small roof-flashing leak, for example;
  3. things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home; and 
  4. 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.  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.

From What Really Matters in a Home Inspection - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/matters.htm#ixzz2txCpge7L

Friday, June 26, 2015

Riding Lawnmowers, Garbage Disposers, Threshold



Landscape contractor Roger Cook heads to Alpharetta, Georgia, to help a homeowner hop for a new riding lawnmower. Then Roger, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, general contractor Tom Silva, and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Tom replaces a rotting wooden threshold. Richard shows Kevin how garbage disposers work and explains how to keep them working like new.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rental Property Investment Performance Indicators

Successful rental property investment requires real estate investors to strictly gauge the financial performance of all potential rental property investment opportunities.

As a result, a number of useful ratios, multipliers, and other analytical measures have been developed as "indicators" the investor can use to determine specific levels of a property's anticipated cash flows and profitability.

These ratios and measures are part of the real estate analysis, and are commonly displayed in reports such as an APOD and Pro Forma Income Statement.

In this article we'll consider four of those indicators (with formulas). It should be noted, however, that the results of these calculations are only useful if they can be compared to similar information gleaned from comparable properties in the local market area

1. Economic Value

This is a measure of value from the real estate investor's standpoint, and may be more or less the market value of the property (though not necessarily). It is determined by the investment property's net operating income and a capitalization rate that the investor requires to attract his or her capital to the project.

In other words, regardless what value has been placed upon the rental property by the market, the "true" value to the investor (in this case) is what he or she deems will appropriately satisfy their investment objectives.

Formula

Net Operating Income (specific property)

divided by Capitalization Rate (individual investor)

equals Economic Value

Example

Let's say a property generates a net operating income of $461,867 and the investor's desired cap rate is 10.8%. In this case, the economic value (what the rental property investment is worth to the investor) would be $4,276,546.

$461,867

/.108

= $4,276,546

If this economic value is equal to or greater than the subject property's fair market value, then the investment property could prove worth pursuing; otherwise, maybe not.

2. Operating Expense Ratio

This ratio provides an indication of what percentage of the gross operating income is being consumed by operating expenses.

The investor's purpose here is to compare the subject investment property's operating expense ratio against that computed for other similar properties and then to reconcile substantial differences.

Anything other than the norm, for instance, could be an indication that the subject property's operating expenses are somehow unique, or perhaps that they may not have all been correctly ascertained. In other words, why such a difference?

Formula

Operating Expenses

divided by Gross Operating Income

equals Operating Expense Ratio

Example

Let's say the subject property's operating expenses are $251,998 and its gross operating income (rental income minus vacancy credit and loss) is 713,865. In this case, the operating expense ratio for the rental property investment is 35.30%.

$251,998

/ 713,865

= 35.30%

Naturally, this is just one small element about the subject rental property investment. But a substantial difference in ratios when compared to similar other rental property should raise a red flag that requires a closer look.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7848790


3. Break-Even Ratio (BER)

This ratio (also called default ratio) is the percentage rate of gross operating income that is consumed by operating expenses and debt service combined. Its purpose is to estimate how vulnerable an income property is to defaulting on its debt in cases where rental income should decline. This is often a benchmark ratio used by lenders when underwriting commercial mortgages as well.

Formula

Operating Expenses + Debt Service

divided by Gross Operating Income

equals Break-even Ratio

Example

Okay, we already know (from the previous examples) that our subject rental property investment has a gross operating income of $713,865 and annual operating expenses of $251,998. Now let's say that the debt service would be $255,354. The result would be a break-even ratio of 71.07%.

$251,998 + 255,354

= $507,352

/ 713,865

= 71.07%

This means that the money going out to service the property is 71.07% of the income it generates. Lenders typically look for 85% or less, so this property fairs well in this case.

4. Debt Coverage Ratio (DCR)

This ratio provides information on the extent to which the net operating income covers debt service. The objective for the investor here is to insure that the property can pay for itself without having to "feed it" out-of-pocket.

Formula

Net Operating Income

divided by Debt Service

equals Debt Coverage Ratio

Example

Okay, by dividing the property's net operating income of $461,867 by the debt service of 255,354, the result is a debt coverage ratio of 1.81.

$461,867

/ 255,354

= 1.81

A ratio of 1.0 indicates enough net income to make the mortgage payment, and lenders typically like to see 1.15 or greater (i.e., 15% more income than the payment). So, either way, this rental property investment appears to produce ample income to cover the mortgage payment.

By James Kobzeff

About the Author

James Kobzeff is the developer of ProAPOD. A leading provider of real estate investing software solutions since 2000. Create cash flow, rates of return, and profitability analysis presentations for any-size rental property investment in minutes! Easy and affordable. Learn more at => www.proapod.com

 Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Kobzeff

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7848790

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Install Artificial Grass



Artificial grass gives the look of a real lawn without the all the maintenance. Watch to learn how to install artificial grass yourself, or inquire about professional artificial turf installation services from The Home

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to Install a Lightning Protection System - This Old House



"Meteorologist Jim Cantore discusses lightning with Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor. Then landscape contractor Roger Cook travels to central Florida to install a lighting protection system.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Solutions for Water Problems under Your Home - Contact a SitePro Home Inspector


The most common source of water under homes is ineffective downspouts and missing splash-blocks or drains.


Inspect them regularly for failing mounts, crushed downspouts, and proper drainage.

Water in crawlspaces or basements can cause major damage. Many homes have water problems and the solutions can range significantly in cost to remedy. You always should start with the simple and cheapest solutions.

Gutters and Downspout


Gutter mounts failing and the downspout is disconnected


Keep downspout drains clear.

Everyone should walk around their homes in the worst weather, at least a few times a year and look to see how the gutters and downspouts are working. Moss, leaves or other debris can easily clog downspouts and gutters will overflow, possibly causing damage to roofs, fascia and soffits as well as flooding areas below grade.

Keep then cleaned and maintained, make sure all downspouts are discharging away from the building. If the water puddles next to the foundation, it is likely to end up in the basement of crawlspace. Make sure mounts are tight and there are no low spots along gutter runs.

Clean them at least once a year, usually after the leaves have dropped in fall. Some homes need more frequent cleaning.

Grading
If there is a negative grade (soil sloped to the home) water may puddle next to the foundation. Where possible, always have soil graded away from the structure. Consider repairing any concrete walks or patios that may slope to the home

Be careful with landscaping edging and planter boxes, as they often will cause water to puddle. Never allow downspouts to discharge in low areas like planters, but instead carry water several feet away from the building.

French Drains

This option is very effective at capturing water and draining it away before it can work its way under the home.

This is one example of a french drain:

They can be expensive, so it is advised that you check the gutters, downspouts, splash-blocks/drains and grading before opting for a french drainage system

Drains and Sump Pumps

In some homes where the water table is high and drainage is poor, you have to deal with the excess water with drains or pumps. Drains are useful when there is a suitable location to hookup the pipes to. Often times you are facing a situation where there is on location low enough to have gravity do the job, and in these cases a pump is the best answer.

We recommend that you consider a backup pump in situations where its failure can cause significant damage or flooding. If there is a power failure or the pump breaks down, the backup can be very important.


One type of a backup pump is powered by the water supply to the home. These have the advantage of mechanically simple, relatively inexpensive and can do the job until you repair the primary pump or the power is restored. This type of pump does waste water, so they are not to be used as a primary pump, only a backup.

See a video on installing a water powered sump pump here.


When the power goes out, you will be glad you have one!

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791
NACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
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850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

"Looking Beyond The Obvious"
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Time lapse of home constructed start to finish



A time lapse project of a custom home built by Weaver Homes -- a division of Weaver Companies, Inc. Original footage was captured at 1 photo every 30 seconds over a 6 month period resulting in 45 days of capture and over 70,000 photos. Images we edited in Adobe Lightroom 3, combined in Quicktime Pro at 30 frames/sec and compiled in iMovie 11. Most clips were then sped up by 200-400% to produce this short movie. Enjoy!



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Remodeling a 1950s Ranch



Build or remodel, it's a decision lots of homeowners have to make. Learn about all the ways you can update and upgrade an existing house to be energy efficient.

Friday, June 12, 2015

How to Rejuvenate a Lawn - This Old House



Breathing new life into an old lawn with This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fire Prevention Week Message Presented in American Sign Language



In this presentation, an overview is given of the importance of having a working smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

To learn more about smoke alarm safety tips visit - https://www.nfpa.org/smokealarms

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Future Of Residential Housing - Zero Energy Housing



The concept of insulated panels has previously been used in commercial building projects only. Bondor has now developed an insulated panel InsulWall® specifically for residential applications. Together with the already popular roofing product SolarSpan®, InsulWall® is expected to revolutionise Australian housing design and construction.

Australia's new 6-Star Energy Efficiency requirement for new homes will demand significant advancements in the choice of materials for Australian residential construction practices.

Insulated Construction Australia will demonstrate how uncomplicated the system can be to build an aesthetically pleasing home that meets and exceeds thermal performance requirements. Using technology that enables people to save on future energy bills by providing an affordable energy efficient family home of the future which requires significantly less construction time.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Question and Answer Guide on Home Inspections

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, structure, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (buyer, seller, or homeowner) a better understanding of the home's general condition. Most often it is a buyer who requests an inspection of the home he or she is serious about purchasing.

A home inspection delivers data so that decisions about the purchase can be confirmed or questioned, and can uncover serious and/or expensive to repair defects that the seller/owner may not be aware of. It is not an appraisal of the property's value; nor does it address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect a client in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.]

A home inspection should not be considered a "technically exhaustive" evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear for the home's age and location.

A home inspection can also include, for extra fees, Radon gas testing, water testing, energy audits, pest inspections, pool inspections, and several other specific items that may be indigenous to the region of the country where the inspection takes place. Home inspections are also used (less often) by a seller before listing the property to see if there are any hidden problems that they are unaware of, and also by homeowners simply wishing to care for their homes, prevent surprises, and keep the home investment value as high as possible.

The important results to pay attention to in a home inspection are:

1. Major defects, such as large differential cracks in the foundation; structure out of level or plumb; decks not installed or supported properly, etc. These are items that are expensive to fix, which we classify as items requiring more than 2% of the purchase price to repair.

2. Things that could lead to major defects - a roof flashing leak that could get bigger, damaged downspouts that could cause backup and water intrusion, or a support beam that was not tied in to the structure properly.

3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed electrical wiring, lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) in kitchens and bathrooms, lack of safety railing on decks more than 30 inches off the ground, etc.

Your inspector will advise you about what to do about these problems. He/she may recommend evaluation - and on serious issues most certainly will - by licensed or certified professionals who are specialists in the defect areas. For example, your inspector will recommend you call a licensed building engineer if they find sections of the home that are out of alignment, as this could indicate a serious structural deficiency.

Home Inspections are only done by a buyer after they sign a contract, right?

This is not true! As you will see when you read on, a home inspection can be used for interim inspections in new construction, as a maintenance tool by a current homeowner, a proactive technique by sellers to make their home more sellable, and by buyers wanting to determine the condition of the potential home.

Sellers, in particular, can benefit from getting a home inspection before listing the home. Here are just a few of the advantages for the seller:

· The seller knows the home! The home inspector will be able to get answers to his/her questions on the history of any problems they find.

· A home inspection will help the seller be more objective when it comes to setting a fair price on the home.

· The seller can take the report and make it into a marketing piece for the home.

· The seller will be alerted to any safety issues found in the home before they open it up for open house tours.

· The seller can make repairs leisurely instead being in a rush after the contract is signed.

Why should I get a home inspection?

Your new home has dozens of systems and over 10,000 parts - from heating and cooling to ventilation and appliances. When these systems and appliances work together, you experience comfort, energy savings, and durability. Weak links in the system, however, can produce assorted problems leading to a loss in value and shortened component life. Would you buy a used car without a qualified mechanic looking at it? Your home is far more complicated, and to have a thorough inspection that is documented in a report arms you with substantial information on which to make decisions.

Why can't I do the inspection myself?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill, and objectivity needed to inspect a home themselves. By using the services of a professional home inspector, they gain a better understanding of the condition of the property; especially whether any items do not "function as intended" or "adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling" or "warrant further investigation" by a specialist. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist and is broadly trained in every home system.

Why can't I ask a family member who is handy or who is a contractor to inspect my new home?

Although your nephew or aunt may be very skilled, he or she is not trained or experienced in professional home inspections and usually lacks the specialized test equipment and knowledge required for an inspection. Home inspection training and expertise represent a distinct, licensed profession that employs rigorous standards of practice. Most contractors and other trade professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they themselves purchase a home!

What does a home inspection cost?

This is often the first question asked but the answer tells the least about the quality of the inspection. Fees are based according to size, age and various other aspects of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally start under $300. An average price for a 2,000 square foot home nationally is about $350-$375. What you should pay attention to is not the fee, but the qualifications of your inspector. Are they nationally certified (passed the NHIE exam)? Are they state certified if required?

How long does the inspection take?

This depends upon the size and condition of the home. You can usually figure 1.2 hours for every 1,000 square feet. For example, a 2,500 square foot house would take about 3 hours. If the company also produces the report at your home, that will take an additional 30-50 minutes.

Do all homes require a home inspection?

Yes and No. Although not required by law in most states, we feel that any buyer not getting a home inspection is doing themselves a great disservice. They may find themselves with costly and unpleasant surprises after moving into the home and suffer financial headaches that could easily have been avoided.

Should I be at the inspection?

It's a great idea for you be present during the inspection - whether you are buyer, seller, or homeowner. With you there, the inspector can show you any defects and explain their importance as well as point out maintenance features that will be helpful in the future. If you can't be there, it is not a problem since the report you receive will be very detailed. If you are not present, then you should be sure to ask your inspector to explain anything that is not clear in the report. Also read the inspection agreement carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not covered in the inspection. If there is a problem with the inspection or the report, you should raise the issues quickly by calling the inspector, usually within 24 hours. If you want the inspector to return after the inspection to show you things, this can be arranged and is a good idea, however, you will be paying for the inspector's time on a walkthrough since this was not included in the original service.

Should the seller attend the home inspection that has been ordered by the buyer?

The seller will be welcome at the inspection (it is still their home) although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. The conversation that the inspector has with the buyer may be upsetting to the seller if the seller was unaware of the items being pointed out, or the seller may be overly emotional about any flaws. This is a reason why the seller might want to consider getting their own inspection before listing the home.

Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, cannot not pass or fail a house. The inspector will objectively describe the home's physical condition and indicate which items are in need of repair or replacement.

What is included in the inspection?

The following list is not exhaustive. Not all of these may be in the inspection you get, but the inspector will be following a standardized checklist for the home:
· Site drainage and grading
· Driveway
· Entry Steps, handrails
· Decks
· Masonry
· Landscape (as it relates to the home)
· Retaining walls
· Roofing, flashings, chimneys, and attic
· Eaves, soffits, and fascias
· Walls, doors, windows, patios, walkways
· Foundation, basement, and crawlspaces
· Garage, garage walls, floor, and door operation
· Kitchen appliances (dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop/hoods, microwave, disposal, trash compactor)
· Laundry appliances (washer and dryer)
· Ceilings, walls, floors
· Kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets
· Windows and window gaskets
· Interior doors and hardware
· Plumbing systems and fixtures
· Electrical system, panels, entrance conductors
· Electrical grounding, GFCI, outlets
· Smoke (fire) detectors
· Ventilation systems and Insulation
· Heating equipment and controls
· Ducts and distribution systems
· Fireplaces
· Air Conditioning and controls
· Heat Pumps and controls
· Safety items such as means of egress, TPRV valves, railings, etc.

Other items that are not a part of the standard inspection can be added for an additional fee:
· Radon Gas Test
· Water Quality Test
· Termite Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)
· Gas Line Leak Test (usually performed by the gas company)
· Sprinkler System Test
· Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection
· Mold Screening (sometimes performed by a separate company)
· Septic System Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)
· Alarm System (usually performed by a separate company)

We recommend getting a Radon Test if your prospective home falls into an area of the country with known Radon seepage, since Radon gas produces cancer second only to cigarette smoking and can be easily mitigated by installing a vent system. We also recommend a water test to make sure you do not have bacteria in the water supply. Water can also be tested for Radon.

What is not included in the inspection?

Most people assume that everything is inspected in depth on inspection day. This misunderstanding has caused many a homebuyer to be upset with their inspector. The inspections we do are not exhaustive and there is a good reason for this. If you hired someone with licenses for heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, engineering, etc. to inspect your house, it would take about 14 hours and cost you about $2000! It is much more practical to hire a professional inspector who has generalist knowledge of home systems, knows what to look for, and can recommend further inspection by a specialist if needed. Your inspector is also following very specific guidelines as he/she inspects your home. These are either national guidelines (ASHI - American Society of Home Inspectors, InterNACHI - International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or state guidelines. These guidelines are carefully written to protect both your home and the inspector. Here are some examples: We are directed to not turn systems on if they were off at the time of the inspection (safety reasons); we are not allowed to move furniture (might harm something); not allowed to turn on water if it is off (possible flooding), and not allowed to break through a sealed attic hatch (possible damage). The downside of this practice is that by not operating a control, by not seeing under the furniture, and not getting into the attic or crawlspace, we will might miss identifying a problem. However, put into perspective, the chances of missing something serious because of this is quite low, and the guideline as it relates to safety and not harming anything in the home is a good one. There are other items that 95% of inspectors consider outside a normal inspection, and these include inspecting most things that are not bolted down (installed in the home) such as electronics, low voltage lighting, space heaters, portable air conditioners, or specialized systems such as water purifiers, alarm systems, etc.

What if there are things you can't inspect (like snow on the roof)?

It just so happens that some days the weather elements interfere with a full home inspection! There isn't much we can do about this either. If there is snow on the roof we will tell you we were unable to inspect it. Of course we will be looking at the eves and the attic, and any other areas where we can get an idea of condition, but we will write in the report that we could not inspect the roof. It is impractical for us to return another day once the snow melts, because we have full schedules. However, you can usually pay an inspector a small fee to return and inspect the one or two items they were unable to inspect when they were there the first time. This is just the way things go. If you ask the inspector for a re-inspection, they will usually inspect the items then at no extra charge (beyond the re-inspection fee).

Will the inspector walk on the roof?

The inspector will walk on the roof if it is safe, accessible, and strong enough so that there is no damage done to it by walking on it. Some roofs - such as slate and tile, should not be walked on. Sometimes because of poor weather conditions, extremely steep roofs, or very high roofs, the inspector will not be able to walk the roof. The inspector will try to get up to the edge though, and will also use binoculars where accessibility is a problem. They will also examine the roof from the upper windows if that is possible. There is a lot the inspector can determine from a visual examination from a ladder and from the ground, and they will be able to tell a lot more from inside the attic about the condition of the roof as well.

Should I have my house tested for Radon? What exactly is Radon?

In many areas of the country, the answer is a definite yes. You can ask your real estate agent about this or go on to the internet for a radon map of the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that's formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.

Health officials have determined that radon gas is a serious carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform a radon measurement test, which your home inspector can do. Make sure the person conducting your test has been trained to The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) standards.

What about a newly constructed home? Does it need a home inspection?

Yes! In fact, we find far more problems, some quite serious, in newly constructed homes than in homes that have been lived in for years. This is not due to your builder's negligence - he/she has done the best job they could with subcontractors and planning - it's just that there are so many systems in a home, that it is close to impossible to inspect everything, and correct it before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Then, for some reason, the subcontractors no longer want to work on the home, and final jobs and details are missed. We recommend getting several professional home inspections near the completion stages of the home to discover everything that should be corrected. If the house is still new but sitting for a while before sale, it's even more important to get a home inspection. We have seen water lines not hooked up, plumbing lines not hooked up, sewer lines not hooked up, vents not hooked up, and a variety of other serious but easily correctable problems!

I am having a home built. The builder assures me he will inspect everything. Should I have an independent inspector make periodic inspections?

Absolutely yes! No matter how good your builder is, he/she WILL miss things. They are so concerned with the house, they get so close to their work, as do the subcontractors, that important items can, and will be, overlooked. Have a professional inspector make at least 4-6 interim inspections. They will be worth their weight in gold.

What is the Pre-Inspection Agreement?

Most service professionals have a service agreement, and home inspection is no different. In fact, there is enough confusion about what a home inspection should deliver that the agreement is even more important. Some homeowners who get a home inspection expect everything in the home to be perfect after the repairs. This is not the case! Imagine getting a call from a homeowner a year later who says the toilet is not flushing - remember that the inspection is a moment in time snapshot. In the inspection agreement the inspector is clear about what the inspection delivers and the things that are not covered, as well as what you should do if you are not pleased with the services. We really think that by reviewing this before-hand you will understand much more about the inspection and be happier with the results. A home inspection does not guard against future problems, nor does it guarantee that all problems will be found.

What kind of report will I get following the inspection?

There are as many versions of a "report" as there are inspection companies. Guidelines dictate that the inspector deliver a written report to the client. This can range from a handwritten checklist that has multiple press copies without pictures and 4 pages long to a computer generated professionally produced report with digital pictures that is 35 pages long and can be converted to Adobe PDF for storage and emailing. Be sure to check with your inspector about the report he or she uses. We recommend the computer generated report, since the checklist is more detailed and easier for the homeowner/buyer/seller to detail out the issues with photographs. In this modern age, we feel the reports must be web accessible and e-mailable to match the technologies most of us are using.

There are some great things you can use the report for in addition to the wealth of information it simply gives you on your new home:

· Use the report as a checklist and guide for the contractor to make repairs and improvements or get estimates and quotes from more than one contractor.

· Use the report as a budgeting tool using the inspector's recommendations and the remaining expected life of components to keep the property in top shape.

· If you are a seller, use the report to make repairs and improvements, raising the value of the home and impressing the buyers. Then have a re-inspection and use this second report as a marketing tool for prospective buyers.

· Use the report as a "punch list" on a re-inspection and as a baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Will the report be emailable or available as an Adobe PDF file?

Yes. As discussed in the last question, you will probably want your inspector to be using the latest reporting technology.

What if I think the inspector missed something?

Inspectors are human, and yes, they do miss items. However, they routinely use advanced tools and techniques to reduce the possibility that they will miss something. This includes very detailed checklists, reference manuals, computer based lists, and a methodical always-done-the-same-way of physically moving around your home. That is one of the reasons that an inspector can miss an item when they get interrupted. The inspector will have a set way of resuming the inspection if this happens. If, in the end, something IS missed, call the inspector and discuss it. It may warrant the inspector returning to view something that you found. Remember, the inspector is doing the very best job they know how to do, and probably did not miss the item because they were lax in their technique or did not care.

What if the inspector tells me I should have a professional engineer or a licensed plumber or other professional contractor in to look at something they found? Isn't this "passing the buck"?

You may be disappointed that further investigation is required, but, believe us, your inspector is doing exactly what they should be doing. The purpose of the inspection is to discover defects that affect your safety and the functioning of the home; the inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Our code of ethics as well as national and state guidelines dictate that only contractors that are licensed in their specialty field should work on these systems and areas. When they tell you that a specialist is needed, there may be a bigger, more critical issue that you need to know about. If you move into the home without getting these areas checked by a qualified specialist, you could be in for some nasty and expensive surprises. The inspector does not want to cause you any more expense or worry either, so when they do recommend further evaluation they are being serious about protecting you and your investment.

Will the inspector provide a warranty on the inspected items?

Most inspectors do not give the homeowner a warranty on inspected items. Remember, a home inspection is a visual examination on a certain day, and the inspector cannot predict what issues could arise over time after the inspection. However, some inspectors are now including a warranty from the largest home warranty company in America - American Home Warranty Corporation, as well as others, on the inspected items for 60 or 90 days. This is a very good deal, and the agreement can be extended after the initial period for a relatively small amount of money.

Do most inspection companies offer money back guarantees?

Most inspection companies do not offer a satisfaction guarantee nor do they mention it in their advertising. It's always a good thing if you can get extra services for no additional cost from your inspection company, and of course a satisfaction guarantee is an indication of superior customer service. You usually have to call your inspection company right after the inspection and viewing of the report to tell them you are not satisfied. If you are not happy with the services, you should talk to your inspector first and let him/her correct the issue(s) you are unhappy with first, as the inspector is trying to make an honest living just like the rest of us, and is not failing you on purpose.

What if my report comes back with nothing really defective in the home? Should I ask for my money back?

No, don't ask for your money back - you just received great news! Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will have valuable information about your new home from the inspector's report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Most importantly, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.

What if the inspection reveals serious defects?

If the inspection reveals serious defects in the home (we define a serious defect as something that will cost more than 2% of the purchase price to fix) then pat yourself on the back for getting an inspection. You just saved yourself a ton of money. Of course it is disappointing, even heart wrenching, to find out that your well researched house is now a problem house, but you now know the facts and can either negotiate with the seller, or move on. You may want the home so much that it will be worth it to negotiate the price and then perform the repairs. Imagine, though, if you had not gotten the inspection - you would have had some very unpleasant surprises.

Can I ask my home inspector to perform the repairs?

You can, but if your inspector is ethical, he/she will refuse, and correctly so; it is a conflict of interest for the person who inspected your home to also repair it! Inspectors are specifically barred from this practice by licensing authorities, and it's a good practice - an inspector must remain completely impartial when he or she inspects your home. This is one reason you should have a professional home inspector inspect your home and not a contractor - the contractor will want the repair work and you are likely to not have an objective inspection from this person even though they mean well and are technically competent.

Does the Seller have to make the repairs?

The inspection report results do not place an obligation on the seller to repair everything mentioned in the report. Once the home condition is known, the buyer and the seller should sit down and discuss what is in the report. The report will be clear about what is a repair and what is a discretionary improvement. This area should be clearly negotiated between the parties. It's important to know that the inspector must stay out of this discussion because it is outside of their scope of work.

After the home inspection and consulting with the seller on the repairs, can I re-employ the inspector to come re-inspect the home to make sure everything got fixed?

You certainly can, and it's a really good idea. For a small fee the inspector will return to determine if the repairs were completed, and if they were completed correctly.

What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won't develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call the inspector. He or she will be fine with this, and does want you to call if you think there is a problem. If the issue is not resolved with a phone call, they will come to your home to look at it. They will want you to be satisfied and will do everything they can to do this. One way to protect yourself between the inspection and the move-in is to conduct a final walkthrough on closing day and use both the inspection report AND a Walkthrough Checklist to make sure everything is as it should be.

Copyright 2010 by Lisa P. Turner

Lisa Turner is a certified home inspector and licensed general contractor. Her company, Your Inspection Expert, Inc., conducts professional home inspections for home buyers, sellers, owners, builders, mortgage companies, and construction companies. Visit http://www.YourInspectionExpert.com for information and more tips to maximize the value of your home.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_P._Turner

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3618814

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A simple test for checking gas grill leaks



Guy Colonna, NFPA Division Manager, Industrial & Chemical Engineering, gives some basic tips on how to prepare your grill before your first cookout of the season.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Detecting Roof Hail Damage - 4 Determination Steps

According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, hail causes more than $1.6 billion worth of damage in an average year to residential roofs in the United States, making it, year in and year out, one of the most costly natural disasters. Detecting roof hail damage after a hail storm can be a difficult task. Experts say, the best things to look at when you are trying to determine the possibility of hail damage is the downspouts, gutters, metal vents, and roofing shingles. So after a hail storm, walk around your house and follow these 4 determination steps:

1. Look for Mineral Deposits

Check around the downspouts. When hail impacts roofing shingles, it degrades the shingle and tends to knock off the granules. In most cases, this damage cannot be seen by the untrained eye, but if you have standard asphalt shingles on your house, you'll want to check around the downspouts for excessive granule buildup. If evident, there is strong chance there has been roof damage from the storm. Just remember that this may simply be due to the age of the roofing material, so further investigation is needed.

2. Gutter and Downspout Dings

Inspect all your downspouts and gutters for dings. Some of the newer metal gutters are thin enough that hail the size of a marble will easily cause dents. Once again, if damage is evident, then the possibility of roof damage does exist.

3. Inspect for leaks

To an untrained professional, hail damage is not always apparent from the ground. Roof damage does not always cause immediate leaks, and all too often, hail damage is not discovered until after leaking or other serious damage occurs. As damaged shingles degrade, your roof may begin to leak, so inspect your interior ceiling after a heavy rain for any apparent water damage. Water staining anywhere on the ceiling is a good sign of roof damage.

4. Inspecting for Hail Damage to Vents and Shingles

Please only do this if you have easy access to your roof and the slopes are not that steep. Once on top, look at the vents, the drip edge, the fascia, and your gutters for signs of damage. Look at the roof shingles for circular dimples or areas where the shingle mineral is missing. Hail might produce a "dent" or a damage point in an asphalt shingle roof surface, resulting in granule loss and reduced remaining roof life.

Now it's time to take action. If you have 10 hits in a 10ft square, or if any of the above steps result in positive indications, call for a professional inspection. Get two or three roofing companies, preferably hail damage certified ones, to come around and have a look. Most will provide estimate for free. Ask each if they think it's enough to warrant getting your insurance company out. You may want to call your insurance company anyway as they make the final determination and the worst that can happen is they deny the claim.

When I went through this process, my roof was eighteen years old. We had several big storms that year and I started noticing water stains on my ceiling. I really thought I'd have to pay for a new roof, but after following the above inspection steps, and getting professionals to verify the damage, my insurance covered the cost. Why? Because they'd rather pay the cost of a new roof now instead of the cost of a new roof plus extensive water damage later!

 By Anthony Campanaro  |  


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anthony_Campanaro