Saturday, July 30, 2016

How to Hand-Prune Trees



Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows the proper way to prune a branch without damaging the tree. (See below for a tools list and steps.)

Tools List for How to Hand-Prune Trees:
- Pruning saw

Steps for How to Hand-Prune Trees:
1. Trim tree branches with a sharp pruning saw using the three-cut method.
2. First, make an undercut into the bottom of the branch. Start cutting about 12 inches away from the tree trunk, and saw one-third of the way into the branch.
3. Then saw into the top of the branch about 2 inches farther out and beyond the undercut.
4. Continue cutting until the branch breaks free and drops to the ground.
5. Now make the third and final cut to trim away the remaining branch. However, be careful not to saw into the branch collar.
6. Carry away the severed pieces of the branch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Homebuyers of Newly Constructed Homes May Not be Aware They May Have an Inspection Clause Included with Their New Home Contract


The truth is, a new homebuyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home.New Home Inspection Services in Florida

The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out to the lowest bidder, with speed, not quality being an important consideration for the builder. With many separate activities going on at the same time, it’s nearly impossible for the contractor/builder to personally monitor all phases of the home construction.

Don’t assume your builder — or the contractors — did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against major defects that could quite literally sink your financial future.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to Find and Repair Water Leaks in Your Home



Here's how to inspect and treat some of the most common minor water leaks in your home before they become major problems. We'll check for leaks in a shower door, under a kitchen sink and in a washing machine.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Four-Point Inspection is Often a Requirement When Obtaining a New Homeowners Insurance Policy or Renewing an Existing Policy


After hurricane Andrew in Florida, insurance companies in Florida have been trying to encourage home owners to make their homes safer and reduce insurance claims. Many of the insurance companies and JUA (Joint Underwriting Association) now request a Four Point Inspection.

A “Four Point Inspection” focuses only on four main areas of interest in a home:Four Point Inspection Services in Florida

  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
  • Electrical wiring and panels
  • Plumbing connections and fixtures
  • Roof

Most homes older than 25 years are required by their insurance companies to get this inspection done. Insurance companies require four point inspections to evaluate the age and condition of the components of your home. Though homeowners insurance policies don’t typically cover these areas, if they are old or in disrepair, they could contribute to a covered event such as damage from a fire or severe weather. Some insurance companies have their own forms they want complete but most of them accept forms filled out by our licensed professionals. The report needed includes specific information about the HVAC, plumbing, electrical system and roof in a short one or two page signed document.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Repair a Broken Doorbell



Scott Caron, master electrician for Ask This Old House, replaces a broken chime on a doorbell. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

Shopping List for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
- Doorbell and chime

Tools for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
- Screwdriver
- Driver

Steps for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
1. Turn off the power source for the doorbell and undo the wire connections to remove the chime. Be sure to mark where each connection goes: front door, transformer, and rear door.
2. Attach the wires of the new chime to the existing wires and screw down the connections with a screwdriver.
3. Mount the new chime and screw it down using a driver.
4. Unscrew the old push button with a screwdriver and break those wire connections.
5. Attach the new push button wires to the existing wires using a screwdriver. If the new chime is digital, you may need to add diodes, which should be included with the chime.
6. Drive the new push button housing into the old screw holes. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Years Ago, Home Inspections Were Unheard of in Residential Real Estate Transactions.


Instead, buyers simply relied on their own impressions of the home and the representations of the seller’s real estate agent. Today, the process is dramatically different. Most real estate purchase contracts give the buyer fairly broad rights to order one or more professional inspections of the home before completing the purchase.

Home Inspections help all parties involved in a Real Estate Transaction. The buyer gets an independent assessment of the condition of the house, from inside and outside, and top to bottom. There is a hidden benefit to an inspection, namely that if you buy the house, and you will know where things are such as turning off the main water in case of a leak. The Seller can rest assured he is selling a quality home and won’t be a cause for future legalese. The Realtor will also be knowledgeable about what he/she is selling to their client and keep their client from making a bad investment.

This is really not the time to find a “cheap and quick” inspection, but to hire a licensed professional with many years of experience. We at SitePro Home Inspections do not want to get involved in your Real Estate deal but we do want to make sure the Buyer is aware of current problems and ones that could be lurking down the road.

We can keep the buyer with a few major facets in their negotiations such as help with pricing, identifying defects with the repair costs that will be needed in the future and lastly and most importantly Buyer Confidence in that the client can be sure of themselves when purchasing.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Closing Inspections


Prior to closing on a property the home buyer or a representative for the home buyer should conduct a pre-closing inspection.

This is when to take the prior home inspection list and make sure all of the items have either been addressed or fixed. SitePro will do this for a nominal fee at the Buyer’s Request.

Here is a general checklist:

Closing Inspection Services in Florida

GENERAL ELECTRICAL

Are the items agreed to be left by the seller present?
Do the lights come on at each switch?
Is there visible damage with the owner’s furniture now gone that you couldn’t see before?
Are all of the light fixtures and ceiling fans present and working?
Are the smoke detectors functional?
Do the breakers work correctly?

EXTERIOR AND STRUCTURE

Check cracks, or separations?
Have the repairs and painting been finished?
Are wooden decks and hand rails secure?
Have you walked around the property?

KITCHEN

Are the appliance accessories present?
Do the appliances still operate satisfactorily?
Are the instructions/warranties left for the appliances?
Do the cabinets, countertops, or floors appear damaged?

CRAWL SPACE, AIR DUCTS

Are the lowest portions dry?
Are crawl space vents open for good ventilation?
Do you see any wet spots?

HEATING AND COOLING*

Do the systems function when you operate the thermostat?
Are the air filters clean?
Any extra filters left?
Is there debris clogging the exterior air units?

LOT AND GROUNDS

Any changes to the driveway, patio, or sidewalks?
Are the fences tight, and do the gates operate?
Reset the automatic sprinkler to minimum setting.

GARAGE

Do the vehicle doors work smoothly and reverse?
Do you have the car door remote controls?
Do you see any damage with the personal items gone?

INTERIOR WALLS, CEILINGS, AND FLOORS

Are the carpets stained in closets near the shower areas?
Are there holes or damage from the move-out?
Are there broken or “fogged” windows or doors?

SURFACE WATER CONTROL

Has the re-grading (if any), been accomplished?
Are the gutters aligned and cleaned of debris?
Do the downspouts direct water positively away?

PLUMBING

Do the faucets and drains function satisfactorily?
Is there hot water at each appropriate location?
Do the toilets flush and cycle normally?
Check beneath each cabinet for leaks or moisture.

ROOF

Are there missing shingles since the last visit?
Have the roof repairs (if any), been performed?
Is the attic ventilation open and working if power?
Are the bushes and trees trimmed back and not touching?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Chinese Drywall


From 2004 through 2006, after hurricane Katrina and other storms, the strain on the supply of American-made drywall required many builders to resort to international suppliers in order to fill demand. As a result, many distributors imported from the Knauf Tianjin company. It is alleged that this issue effects more than 200,000 sheets of drywall used to make homes between 2004 and 2006.

This drywall has waste materials in it that contain iron sulfide and other sulfides. The Humidity in the air causes the sulfur in the drywall to give off a gas which smells like rotten eggs.

Not only is the smell a problem but it can also corrode copper plumbing used in most building materials and can cause air conditioning to fail, but can also cause bathroom and kitchen faucets and drains to tarnish. Some believe there is also a health risk to living with Chinese Drywall but there is no definitive connection at this time.

Some warning signs that you have Chinese Drywall:

  • Failure of information displays on TVs, DVD players, radios and microwaves
  • Light bulbs burning out at a faster rate
  • Silver jewelry and utensils may be tarnished
  • Failure of satellite TV receivers

The only solution for Chinese Drywall is to strip the house down to the frame and replace the drywall.

Friday, July 1, 2016

New Home Inspections


Homebuyers of newly constructed homes may not be aware they may have an inspection clause included with their new home contract.

The truth is, a new homebuyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home. New Home Inspection Services in Florida

The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out to the lowest bidder, with speed, not quality being an important consideration for the builder. With many separate activities going on at the same time, it’s nearly impossible for the contractor/builder to personally monitor all phases of the home construction.

Don’t assume your builder — or the contractors — did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against major defects that could quite literally sink your financial future.