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5 Ways to Prepare for a Home Inspection
Selling your home has many steps. If you’ve gotten to the point that you’ve accepted an offer and the buyer has scheduled a home inspection, you are in the home stretch. However, the home inspection can be a turning point if it doesn’t go well. It’s important to do everything you can to help the home inspection go easily and smoothly for the inspector and buyer. You won’t be present at the inspection, so check these items off your list in advance to prepare for a home inspection.
Provide Access to All Areas to Prepare for a Home Inspection
A home inspector will need to inspect all areas of your home, including crawlspaces, utility rooms, attics, outbuildings, garages, and basements. You won’t be there to unlock a door or move something heavy out of the way, so if an area is inaccessible, it won’t get inspected. This is a problem because the buyer will receive an incomplete inspection report and wonder if you may be hiding something about the inaccessible area. The buyer will likely have to schedule another time for the inspector to come out, slowing everything down. You want to progress towards the closing as quickly as possible, so make sure that all areas are accessible for the inspection.
It’s important that your pets aren’t running around the house during the inspection. Someone could accidentally let them out the door and they could run away. They also might get into an area they aren’t allowed in, like the basement. Take your pets out of the house during the inspection or put them in a secure crate.
Replace Light Bulbs to Prepare for a Home Inspection
It’s not customary for an inspector to carry around extra light bulbs to troubleshoot why a light won’t turn on. If there is an out light, it will be marked in the report and there won’t be a differentiation between a blown light bulb and a broken fixture or wiring problem. Avoid this situation by replacing any dead light bulbs before the inspection.
Clean Up Clutter
If there are any cluttered areas that will prevent the inspector from being able to inspect things like the water heater or under-cabinet piping, clean this up. The inspection report will be more thorough and the pictures will be easier to understand if there is not a lot of junk in the way. You don’t want your buyer to get frustrated by not being able to see past piles of clutter in the photos of the inspection report.
Any improvements that you have made to your home should be backed up with documentation. If you had a new roof put on 2 years ago or replaced the HVAC system recently, provide that information for the inspector. Proof that you invested in your home will help it look more favorable to your buyer.
Ways to Keep Seniors Safe at Home
Tips to Keep Seniors Safe Around the Home
If you have aging parents or elderly loved ones, you may be concerned about them living alone. A senior’s home should be comfortable and safe to help them maintain their independence. Falls are the most common accidents and cause of injuries in the older population. To help keep seniors safe in the home, reduce the risk of falls.
Safety in the Bathrooms
The bathroom can be especially hazardous for older family members. Install grab bars near the shower and toilet and make a plan to deal with slippery floors.
If you have the budget, install a walk-in tub that is easier for seniors to use. These tubs have a door on the side so you don’t have to step over the bathtub wall. Place a rubber mat on the shower floor to prevent slips and falls. Depending on the individual, a shower chair can make bathing easier and safer.
For an elderly family member, the bed itself should have a firm mattress for more support. Some seniors even use a hospital-style bed that can be adjusted up or down to help them get in and out of the bed. There are also grab bars designed to be installed bedside. You can find styles that reach from the floor to the ceiling and others that attach directly to the bed.
Dressers, closets, and nightstands should be easy for seniors to access. Many seniors have trouble gripping knobs or turning doorknobs. Install handles on doors instead of round knobs. Another option is to replace drawers with shelving that keeps everything within easy reach.
Keep Seniors Safe in the Kitchen
The kitchen is another area that will need attention in order to keep seniors safe. Use lower shelves and under-counter storage to keep things within reach. Make sure older family members don’t have to use a stool to access items in the kitchen.
Install rubber grips on faucet handles. These are usually red and blue to distinguish between hot and cold water. Choose appliances that automatically power themselves off to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Also, consider placing a rubber mat on the floor under the sink. This will prevent slippery conditions in case water from the sink splashes onto the floor. Just make sure that the mat isn’t so thick that it becomes a tripping hazard.
Keep emergency information written down and next to the telephone. The list of phone numbers should include close family and friends, doctors, and the number to local emergency services.
Make sure your elderly family member has a landline in their home. An older person may forget to charge their cell phone or could misplace it altogether. A landline ensures access to friends and family and emergency assistance, if necessary.
Keep an up-to-date list of medications and a medical history available in case an accident happens. Medical professionals will need to understand current medications in order to safely treat your family member. You can also order personalized pendants and bracelets that include this information.
Common Sense to Keep Seniors Safe At Home
Because houses are different and people have different needs, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to keeping the home safe. Factors like the age of the home and how it has been maintained will impact safety around the property. Grab bars, good lighting, and access to help in case of an emergency are important in any home with elderly family members.
When to Hire a Pro for Home Improvement Projects
Home Improvement Projects that are Best Left to a Pro
When it comes to upgrades and renovations, homeowners often tackle DIY projects to save money. There are many things around the house you can do yourself, but there are a few things that are better left to the experts. For the best results, assess your skill level and know when to hire a pro for your home improvement projects.
By hiring a professional to improve your home, you can raise your home’s value and enhance its appeal. Renovations are a significant commitment of time and money, so it can be easier and faster to hire someone to do the job.
Leave Electrical Wiring to the Pros
Any projects dealing with electricity, such as rewiring or troubleshooting electrical issues, can be dangerous without the proper training and equipment. Never attempt to rewire your home or install things that need to be hardwired into your home’s electrical system. Call a licensed electrician who has the training and equipment to perform these jobs safely. A certified electrician’s work will be in compliance with the current building codes for your area.
Call a Plumber
Plumbing is another job that’s best left to the professionals. Well-meaning homeowners can damage pipes or fixtures when trying to fix a plumbing issue on their own. Call a plumber if you have a slow draining sink, leaky faucets, or if you are having issues with your garbage disposal. A professional plumber has the right tools to make quick work of a job that would take the average homeowner all day.
Hire a Pro for Tree Removal
Tree and branch removal is a dangerous job. If you have a tree that needs to be pruned or removed from your property, hire a professional to do the work. They have the proper equipment to get the job done safely and you won’t risk damaging your home by trimming tree limbs.
To Build On, Hire a Pro for Home Improvement
If your family needs more space but relocation is out of the question, building an addition to your home is a great solution. Constructing an extra bedroom, additional bathrooms, or expanding your garage or attic takes careful planning and consideration of your home’s structural foundation. Unless you are a licensed contractor, it’s best not to tackle this job on your own. A professional will also know building codes and have insurance coverage to guarantee a job well done.
Hire a Professional to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors
While it’s possible to refinish hardwoods yourself, unless you have years of experience refinishing floors, hire a professional to do this job for you. As with any home renovation, there are many factors to keep in mind. Sanding will remove the finish and cover your home in dust. If you aren’t skilled using a sander, you can damage the floors and end up spending a substantial amount of money in repairs.
Home Maintenance Services to Schedule for Your Property
When you own a home, you’re responsible for keeping the property in good shape. You may complete some upgrades and improvements yourself, however, many homeowners prefer to hire professionals for tasks around the house. Here are a few home maintenance services you should schedule for your property.
Chimney Cleaning is One of the Home Maintenance Services Best Performed by a Professional
When a fire burns in a fireplace, soot, smoke, and water vapor travel up the chimney. These by-products sometimes condense on the cooler walls of the upper chimney and form creosote, a flammable substance. Over time, creosote accumulates and can lead to a chimney fire. Pine needles, leaves, and even animal nests also become lodged in the chimney and pose a fire hazard.
Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue at least once every year. Fall is the perfect time to have this service performed to prepare your fireplace for use during cooler weather.
HVAC Duct Cleaning
Your HVAC system circulates heated and cooled air throughout your home. It can also circulate indoor air pollutants like dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander. Especially if you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, have your air ducts cleaned every few years.
A professional will remove vent covers and clear materials from the ducts with specialized equipment. This service will help improve indoor air quality and your service provider may also find damaged areas of the air ducts that need to be repaired or replaced.
Inspect Propane-Powered Appliances
Propane is one of the most common types of fuels used in the home. Your household may have a propane-powered water heater, clothes dryer, and/or a gas log fireplace. If your household uses appliances that are powered by propane, it is recommended that you have the propane tank, hoses, and connections inspected at least yearly.
Home Maintenance Services: Tree Care
Trees that overhang your roof or your driveway pose a risk to the property and residents. Pruning overgrown trees and removing those that are dying or dead will help to protect your home and cars from damage.
However, pruning can be a difficult and dangerous job. Hire a professional to take care of tree maintenance. An arborist has the training, safety equipment, and necessary tools to safely remove overgrown branches, or remove a tree entirely if needed.
How to Declutter Your Home
Spring is a great time to declutter your home. Decluttering can feel overwhelming, but here are a few things to do before, during, and after the process. Before you start your annual spring cleaning, use these tips to declutter the house first. Prepare to Declutter Your read more
6 Small Signs of Major Home Problems
Most people believe that major problems in the home are obvious, but this isn’t always the case. Something that seems minor often leads to major issues. Homeowners should watch out for small signs of major home problems. The following are some signs that should get your attention and be investigated.
A Door That Won’t Close
When a door has trouble closing, it may be one of the small signs of major home problems. It could be the result of a termite infestation or a problem with the foundation. Whether the cause is termites or structural shifting, either is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Bubbling paint on the surface of a wall or ceiling is a possible indication of an underlying mold infestation. If the mold continues to grow, it could damage the wall to the point that it has to be replaced. More importantly, mold is bad for your health.
A Burning Odor From an Electrical Outlet
A strange smell coming from an electrical outlet may mean serious problems with your wiring. Any unexplained burning odors should prompt a call to your electrician.
Flickering Lights are Signs of Major Home Problems
Flickering lights throughout the home may signify a problem with your home’s electrical system. If you have an older home that hasn’t had a wiring update in recent years, your household’s electricity use may be too much for the electrical load capacity.
Water Stains on the Ceiling
Water stains that appear out of nowhere on your ceiling mean you’ve got a leaky roof. Homeowners sometimes choose to ignore these stains if they’re small, but this situation will only get worse over time. Minor roof leaks usually become major during heavy storms.
Cracks in Windows are Signs of Major Home Problems
If you suddenly have a cracked window, it could mean that your home has experienced structural shifting. These types of window cracks usually appear as a relatively straight line that goes from one side of the window to the other.
These are just a few of the small signs of major home problems. Detecting small changes in time for a proactive approach often saves homeowners significant amounts of money and hassle. Don’t hesitate to call a professional over a seemingly minor problem.
Rewarding House Cleaning Projects for Spring
The sun is out and the flowers are beginning to bloom, which means it’s time for some spring cleaning. Enjoy the warmer weather while spending some time improving your home. Here are a few rewarding house cleaning projects for spring.
Remove Debris from the Roof and Gutters
Depending on where you live, your roof may be put to the test during the winter months. Snow and fallen branches can damage your roofing. Springtime brings more rain and you’ll want to have clean gutters to handle the showers. Take the time to scoop leaves and debris out of your gutters. Inspect the roof and remove pine needles, twigs, and tree branches. Replace any broken or damaged shingles.
Windows Should be One of Your Cleaning Projects for Spring
Windows get dirty during the year. Clean them inside and out with spray cleaner. Cleaning the exterior is easy with a window cleaning attachment connected to your garden hose. You’ll be able to easily reach top floor windows and cleaning the lower windows will be a breeze.
Service and Clean the Air Conditioner
It’s important to prepare your air conditioner for warmer weather. Make sure it’s in good working order. Call your HVAC professional to service your system. You can change the filter, check the hose connections for any leaks, and check the drain pans. Regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of the system.
After a long winter, your lawn may have downed branches, decaying leaves, weeds beginning to grow, and fallen pine needles. Take a weekend to clean up the yard. Now is a great time to test your sprinkler system and outdoor faucets. Service the lawnmower, buy some gas for it, and make sure it is working properly.
Cleaning Projects for Spring: Get the Grill Ready
Prepare the grill for warm weather cookouts. Check your grill’s burner jets for clogs. Scrub the grates with a sturdy grill brush. Make sure the hoses and connections are working properly. If you have a propane grill, purchase propane so you’re ready for the first barbecue of the season. If you have a charcoal grill, clean out any residue and ash.
As you work to get your home in great shape, enjoy the time outdoors with your family. Spring cleaning helps you prepare your home for entertaining family and friends in the warmer months ahead.
10 Easy Ways to Be a Better Homeowner
Your house may be your biggest financial investment. Take steps to maintain and even increase its value. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to be a better homeowner.
Be a Better Homeowner by Being Mindful of Water Use
Using too much water isn’t simply wasteful. It will also affect your bank account. Here are some ways to save water at home.
- Install a low-flow showerhead.
- Switch to soaker hoses outside and eliminate your lawn sprinkler system.
- Add a rainwater collection tank and store runoff to use in the garden.
- Simply turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth can make a big difference.
Research Which Improvements Make the Most Sense
Be a better homeowner by doing a little research before taking on any major remodeling projects. Some renovations bring a better return on investment than others. For instance, you’ll typically recover the price of a new garage door more easily than the cost of installing a new hot tub.
Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Save on utility costs and lower your home’s carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency around the home. Caulk drafty doors and windows and add insulation in the attic and garage.
Be a Better Homeowner by Checking the Gutters
It’s common to overlook gutter maintenance. Twice a year, remove all debris from your gutters. Fall is the most important time to clean the gutters. It can help prevent ice damage to the gutter system during cold winter months.
Start a Neighborhood Watch
Keeping an eye out for all your neighbors is a great way to make sure your home is safe too. Get the neighbors together and form a neighborhood watch group with the aid of local law enforcement.
Develop a Few DIY Skills to Be a Better Homeowner
Learn how to perform some of the smaller home maintenance tasks on your own. You’ll save money when you paint the living room, replace a leaky faucet, or refinish the staircase by yourself.
Improve Curb Appeal
Boosting your home’s curb appeal isn’t something you should only do when selling it. Make your home more attractive at any time. Here are easy some ideas to improve the exterior.
- Paint the front door a bold new color.
- Trim overgrown shrubs and trees and add mulch to the flower beds.
- Stain or paint the wooden fence.
- Pressure-wash the sidewalks and driveway to tidy them up.
Inspect for Termites
Termites are pests that can do a tremendous amount of damage to your home, especially if they eat through major supporting beams. Look for telltale signs of termites and bring in a termite professional if you have concerns.
Change to Energy Efficient Bulbs
Are you still using incandescent bulbs? Replace your bulbs with more energy-efficient options like LEDs or CFLs. The bulbs will last longer and you will save money on your utility bill.
Check Smoke Detectors for Bad Batteries
Keep your family safe. Test your smoke detectors every month and replace their batteries twice every year. This way you’re sure to be alerted in case of smoke or a house fire.
7 Signs That You Have a Plumbing Problem at Home
No one wants to discover a plumbing problem at home. However, identifying any issues as soon as possible helps you mitigate repair costs before too much water damage can occur. Here are some signs of plumbing problems to look out for.
Slow Drains May Indicate a Plumbing Problem at Home
Don’t ignore a slow drain for too long. Unclogging one drain is usually a simple fix. Make sure the problem doesn’t exist farther down the line. If you can unclog that one drain with a drain snake easily, then you probably fixed the problem. If you start experiencing slow drains throughout the home, it is a deeper issue that a plumber should look at.
Do You See Discolored Pipes?
Inspect the pipes under the kitchen sink and in the basement periodically. Do you see any discoloration? If so, you’re looking at one of the signs of a plumbing problem at home.
he discoloration indicates moisture on the outside of the pipe. It might be coming from a sink or drain line that is dripping water. It could also be a more serious issue, such as a supply line leak. Supply lines contain pressure, so a slow leak has the potential to turn into a substantial problem quickly.
A Sewer Odor is a Sign of a Plumbing Problem at Home
There is a system of traps and drains in your home that is designed to keep sewer gas out of the house. Smelling sewer gas means that there is a crack in the vent line or that the trap has run dry.
Fixing a dry trap is relatively simple. It needs to be inspected for a possible leak or it might only need to be refilled with water. A cracked sewer vent is more problematic. It’s likely that you’ll need to break through a wall, fix it, and then repair the drywall.
Multiple Areas With Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure in one area is typically an issue with the fixture or faucet. However, if you notice low water pressure in multiple areas around your home, then you have a bigger issue. It could mean you have one of these problems:
- Supply line leak
- Water heater issue
- Problem with the water main
A High Water Bill Points to a Plumbing Problem at Home
A sudden increase in the water bill is a sign of a plumbing problem at home. Call a plumber to see where the issue lies. One issue might be a toilet that is constantly running. Toilets make up a majority of a household’s water use, so if it is malfunctioning it will waste a lot of water. One running toilet can cost you hundreds of dollars on your water bill.
Bubbling Paint on the Walls
Moisture will cause paint to peel or bubble. It’s likely that you have a leak in the plumbing system if you’re noticing this problem. Look for brown spots that may accompany bubbling paint.
Green Areas in the Yard
You might be dealing with a sewer problem if you notice a patch of yard that is greener than any other area. If the patch is located between the street and your home, then this is even more likely. Sewage acts as fertilizer for your grass, so a leak may make the grass look more lush in one area.
If you see any of the above signs of a plumbing problem at home, call a plumber immediately.
Common Causes of Mold in the Home
Indoors or outside, mold and moisture go hand in hand. Outdoors, mold is an important type of fungi that helps with decomposition. In the home, mold is unsightly, destructive, and unhealthy, especially for those with mold allergies. This article explains the common causes of mold in the home.
Poor Ventilation in the Bathroom
Bathrooms often get warm and steamy after showering. This humidity creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Over time, you may notice discoloration on the ceiling and walls or in the grout between shower tiles. Help prevent mold in the bathroom by installing a ventilation system or simply opening the bathroom window for 10-15 minutes after bathing.
Moisture in the Crawlspace Can Cause Mold in the Home
If your home has a crawlspace, you have an environment conducive to mold growth. The reason being most crawlspaces have exposed earth that allows groundwater to seep in. The area doesn’t have to flood for moisture to accumulate.
Reduce moisture beneath your home by maintaining proper drainage away from the foundation, installing a moisture barrier, and sealing the exterior of your home’s foundation.
Unrepaired Leaks Lead to Mold in the Home
Don’t ignore leaks under sinks, behind toilets, and beneath appliances like the fridge, dishwasher, and washing machine. Small puddles of water are enough to cause mold in the home. The same is true of roof leaks. The best way to prevent roof leaks is with regular maintenance. Check frequently for cracked or missing shingles and replace them. Keep gutters clear of debris to prevent roof damage.
Homeowners often overwater houseplants. This practice is not only bad for plants, but it can also cause mold growth in and around the plants. Houseplants should only be watered when the top inch or so of soil is dry. If you notice a fuzzy white layer on the soil, you have mold growing that will release spores into the air. Scoop the moldy layer away and replace it with fresh soil.
Leaving Spills on Carpets and Rugs
You may not think too much about a small amount of water or other liquids that get spilled on rugs and carpets. But even the smallest puddles can cause mold in the home. The liquid seeps into the fibers and dampens the padding, creating the perfect environment for mold. Blot up spills on carpets and rugs right away.
Wet Clothing Left on the Floor Contributes to Mold in the Home
As family members shower and rush out the door, damp items often get left in piles on the floor. Encourage family members to hang wet clothing and towels to dry before putting them in the laundry bin.
Stacking Firewood Indoors
It’s convenient to have a stack of firewood indoors, but as freshly-cut firewood ages, it releases moisture. Only bring firewood inside if it has been seasoned for six months after being cut.