Buying a Fixer-Upper
The TV shows make it all look so easy. Buy a fixer-upper, make some repairs, and then live happily ever after. Unfortunately, it is not quite that easy.
Before you buy a fixer-upper, consider a few things. First of all, your skill level. We all would love to think we are master level carpenters. But what about when things come up that you have never handled before? Learning is great, but not on an active heating unit, or with your home’s foundation.
Also, think about time. Do you work full time? Then fixing that house up may take up the majority of your free time.
Think too about the stress levels, especially if you are living in the house while remodeling it. Going without a kitchen is fun for a short time, but weeks go by and the stress of the remodel can build up.
Buying a fixer-upper can be a fun project and a great investment, but be sure you are ready for some of the downsides as well.
Pet Odors in Your New Home
So you found the home of your dreams. You were careful during the buying process, you viewed the home several times, and you checked everything very carefully. But the day you move in – you start to smell it…
This is, unfortunately, a pretty common scenario. Pet odors are pretty easily covered when listing a home, but they often come back afterward. So what can you do with pet odors?
Pet odors are difficult to get rid of, but not impossible. So let’s start with the basics.
First, wash all hard surfaces and repaint. Most people do this anyways when they move in.
After that, get your ductwork professionally cleaned. Many people clean their house, but forget about all of the dander and odor in their ductwork.
Also, if you have any carpeting, consider replacing it and treating under the carpeting at the subfloor. This may seem extreme (and expensive) but carpeting is very (very) difficult to properly clean from pet odors.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions!
Buying a Foreclosed Home
When Home Inspections Matter the Most
You have found the “perfect” home. It has everything you want, is in the right neighborhood, and best of all – it is well maintained and shouldn’t have any problems. Or at least it seems that way.
Whenever someone says they have the perfect house, that is when they need a home inspection the most. Why is that?
Because when a home seems perfect, we can mentally and emotionally put on “blinders” to issues that may be there. We have found some of the most serious defects on properties where people never expected it.
So keep you, your family, and your investment safe and have us perform a professional home inspection for you.
Dryer Fires is Louisiana
Whenever I see a story of another dryer fire in the news, it really hits me. Many times as I am performing home inspections here in LA I see the makings of a dryer fire, which is sad because many times it can be prevented. In the interests of my clients, here are a few reminders about hoe to prevent a dryer fire in your home:
- Clean your lint trap after EVERY use
- Don’t forget to clean the inside of the dryer as well (the lint trap doesn’t catch everything)
- If you own a gas powered dryer, be sure to regularly check for gas leaks
- Clean and check the vent hose regularly
- Clean the area around the dryer well and keep it free of too many items
What We Inspect
Our home inspections are thorough – very thorough. So much so that we have a reputation for it. But just because we are thorough on our home inspections doesn’t mean that we don’t like “another set of eyes”.
We like to work WITH our clients. Even though I run a sink, there is no reason for you to not run it too. The more we work together, the more we find, and the better you understand your home.
Watch this short video to see what we inspect for during your home inspection:
How Is Your Grading?
Many home buyers are unaware of how much slope (grade) is needed around a house foundation, but his is an important issue, because if the grading of your lawn is not proper, runoff can be directed toward your foundation and cause many issues.
So what is a proper rule of thumb? Most organizations agree that 6 inches for the first 10 feet around the home is best. This equals about a 5% slope. But more can be better as well.
Is your grading done properly? Contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions!
Protect Your Home From Burglars
We all need to protect our homes from burglars, especially this time of year, when many go on vacation, so how about a few tips and pointers on how to do so.
Did you know?
- A high percentage of burglars enter through the first floor of the home, so insuring exterior doors and windows are secure is important.
- Exterior doors should be constructed of a heavy solid material that are not easily broken, and should have good quality deadbolt locks.
- Beware of leaving spare keys in what you believe to be hidden areas. Don’t hide keys in obvious places or close to the door, instead leave them with a neighbor you can trust.
- Install a peephole, so you can see who’s at your door before you open it
- If you absolutely must have a pet door, make sure it’s not located close to a lock and try to have it as small as you can.
- What about sliding glass doors? A cheap fix would be to place a wooden pole or handle of a broom, and place it in the door track so it cannot be opened. These doors should also have top and bottom locks.
- Windows want to be constructed with strong glass and screening should be a heavy-duty wire.
- Burglars don’t want to be seen, so make it as difficult as possible for them by attaching motion sensored lighting all around the house.
What if you’re going to be away?
Try to make it look like someone’s home. Timer activated lights, TV or radio are a good idea. Make sure the yard is kept neat while you are away, also try keeping a car in the driveway.
Please contact us here at Pasco County Home Inspectors for more advice on how to protect your home.
Here in Shreveport, attics get hot – very hot. That is why proper ventilation is so important.
Attics are like the “lungs” of your home. Attics need to breath – ie take in new aire while expelling the old.
What happens when your attic can’t “breathe” properly? It gets stagnant air, and can develop mold and other issues.
So how do you properly ventilate an attic? Well, there are actually many different ways.
One of the most common ways is to have a ridge and soffit vent system. In this system, hot air rises and leaves the attic through the ridge (the top of the roof), and this happens naturally.
As the hot air leaves, it takes in new air from the soffits at the bottom of the roof.
Whatever system you use, make sure that your attic is properly ventilated.
Buying a Home That Has Had a Previous Fire
What is Included on our home inspections
Tips For The BBQ
With summer already upon us no doubt we have already started thinking about the outdoor fun we’ll be having. One warm-weather essential is grilling and barbecuing. We wanted to mention a few tips to make sure your outdoor grilling will be safe and without incident.
It’s especially important to be vigilant at the beginning of the barbecue season since this is the most dangerous time to be starting up a propane grill. When a propane grill sits for a long period of time it’s important to check all of the connections and see if there are any leaks or rusted areas that could deteriorate and corrode certain parts to the grill.
One way to check the connections is by turning the gas on and spraying a soapy solution on the connection points to see if bubble form from any gas that might be escaping.
If you have a charcoal grill the risk of inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) is very possible. It is estimated that at least twenty people die annually by accidentally inhaling CO.
Make sure to be careful where the grill is placed and make sure it’s placed outside.
Risks also exist with electric grills. Basically, we just want to make sure everyone is safe while you’re enjoying that irresistible BBQ!
The Best Home Inspector In Shreveport
Everyone loves to have beautiful hardwood floors. In fact, many times on a listing it is advertised as a desirable feature that makes the home more valuable in the eyes of many buyers.
But if you have hardwood floors, what are some things to keep in mind?
Too often on a home inspection we find hardwood floors that have been neglected. One of the big areas that get deteriorated pretty fast are near doors. Water that we or our gusts track in seem fine at first, but they leave big dark marks in the wood they may not come out.
In those areas, try keeping a water proof mat over the floors. Also, try not to clean your wood floors with water, but use a hardwood cleaner instead.
Another point to keep in mind are pets. I have a dog myself – and I love my pup. But their claws can wreak havoc on your floors. Be sure to try and keep them from running in the home, which is when their paws do the most damage.
So while deteriorated hardwood floors are not the end of the world, keeping them nice is simple and effective.
Brominated Fire Retardants
Brominated Fire Retardants are an additive put into many products – such as couches, carpets, even tv’s. It is obviously a fire retardant, but it has also been linked to breast cancer.
Today, BFRs can be found nearly everywhere whether it is sediments in the river or dust within the home. As a result, it has been found in many animals including eagles, polar bears, and, perhaps most surprising of all, in sperm whales deep in the Atlantic Ocean waters. As well as in the atmosphere, the chemicals can be found near urban areas in rivers.
Despite all of this, the most concerning find so far has been within the blood of office workers in addition to breast milk. Considering this transfers directly from mother to child, this is worrying news.
How Old? Look At The Nails
Many times, trying to figure out the age of a building can be challenging. But a neat way to at least estimate the age of a building is to look at the nails. How so?
Nails have gone through many changes over the past century or two. So often the style of nail will give you a clue. Here are some nail facts to help you out:
Before 1800, all nails were produced by blacksmiths and can seem a little crude compared to the more modern alternatives. As well as a beaten look on the head, older nails were also squared off rather than being rounded.
From 1790 to 1830, Type A and B cut nails were used and these were also squared and created from wrought iron. From 1890 and beyond, nail production moved over to machines so are now rounded and more practical.
Need more help? Contact me and I will be happy to assist!
Remodelling Is a Poor Investment Strategy
Remodelling could greatly raise the quality of life for occupants of a building, however if you think remodelling is an investment, then you want to reconsider that.
Remodelling is rarely a sound monetary investment
In one of the reports published by Remodeling Magazine, the majority f remodelling projects only increase the cost of the building by 60-80 percent and on the average none of the projects yielded any profit. Therefore upgrading your homes are more correctly categorised as consumer spending rather than as real investments, which typically has the possibility of yielding some positive returns.
Seeing that the report only gave the statistics based on averages, there is every possibility that some certain remodelling projects yielded some profits for the home owner(s). For instance nearly half of the time, adding a wooden deck to a mid-priced house situated on the pacific coast will increase its value and displace the cost of construction. And even the most reckless projects evaluated in the research, like buying a backup generator or adding a sunroom could yield profit although they rarely do. Additionally, remodelling projects are more probable to yield profits if they are done on houses considered low-priced for their neighbourhood. But generally, you should carry out a remodelling project just for improving the quality of life for your household and not for investment purposes. So even though you’ll lose more than one third of what you expended on a family room extension, your family will enjoy the extension enough to make up for it.
When Should You Consider Asbestos Repair For Your Home or Business
When it comes to asbestos – whether it’s minor or major – it’s best not to try handling the repairs on your own. After all, if you don’t handle asbestos materials carefully, it can develop a risk where there was none initially.
If you do decide to handle the repairs on your own, you need to arm yourself with a plethora of knowledge on how to handle the asbestos… before you do a single thing! Be sure to talk to your local or state health department or the regional EPA office about different asbestos training programs being held in your area.
Get in touch with your local school district to find out about any training programs or area asbestos professionals. Before you undertake any minor repairs, be sure to enroll in and complete an asbestos training program. And, upon completion of this program, look for damage to the area and do only the minor repairs.
Special Note: If the area damaged is bigger than your hand, this is not a minor repair.
Before you do the repairs, be sure you follow the proper precautions:
Wet asbestos material down with a fine mist of water with a minute amount of detergent.
Commercial products are used to seal up the damaged areas
Wrap a special fabric like re-wettable glass cloth to cover the small areas
Do a search on the Internet for “Safety Equipment and Clothing” to find companies that specialize in asbestos and will do the removal and repair process for you.
Keep in mind removal is an extremely expensive method and should only be considered as the last resort unless dictated by local or state laws. Why? Asbestos removal increases the risk of the fibers being released. If you’re remodeling your home or making huge changes to it, it’s best to call in professionals, as you’re liable to disturb the asbestos material trying to do it yourself.
If you think removing the asbestos will damage the asbestos significantly, you should call in a professional who’s been specially trained in this area. If asbestos isn’t removed properly, it could increase your and your family’s health problems.
Hot Water Tanks
Using a large cylindrical storage tank, this is the traditional system that is normally in place in houses. Whilst cold water is piped into the tank, the water is then heated through a gas-fired burner or electrical elements.
Using a thermostat, you can control the temperature of the water and it remains stored inside the tank until it is used via a faucet, shower, dishwasher, etc. When it is activated somewhere in the house, hot water will pump through the house’s system to reach the destination which is why it may take a few seconds for the taps to warm up.
Nowadays, storage tank options are still widely used because they are an affordable option. Furthermore, many manufacturers are available to help plus they can be bought in different sizes. Despite this, they have their bad sides too.
For example, the heater will have to keep heating the water so it reaches your chosen temperature. Even when you aren’t using the water, the heater will regularly come on to maintain the water temperature. Furthermore, the fact that a tank is used suggests that the supply of hot water is limited. If someone wants to take a shower while the washing machine and dishwasher is in action, the hot water will only go so far. If more water is being used than can be maintained, the heater won’t be able to keep up with demand.
Finally, it should also be noted that they can take up large amounts of space. When there is little room to work with, people often choose a smaller-sized tank but this then limits the amount of hot water that can be stored.
Missing Electric Panel Screws
One thing that always seems to happen whenever doing an electrical inspection is that the electric panel cover (the dead front) is missing one or more panel screws. This is generally something that is obviously not “serious”, but tends to fall into the “missing sock” section of life.
When this becomes and issue is when someone decides that they want to replace the screw with something like a sheetrock screw. The problem is that panel screws are machined – with no point on the end. But othe screws have points on the end and can be dangerous to put in the panel.
So before you decide to replace those missing screws, take a drive to the hardware store and get the proper type of screw.