Thursday, May 18, 2006

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants: "'I keep seeing big, black ants in my house, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. I spray the ones I see, but they keep coming back. What kind of ants are these, where do they come from, and how do I get rid of them?'

USDA Insect and Plant Disease Slide SetThese are the questions typically asked by homeowners who have carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are one of the most common ants found in Kentucky. They are also one of the most difficult to control. This publication will help you determine if you have carpenter ants, and provide tips on how to control them."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What to Expect

"Most inspections take about three hours and involve a visual inspection of the property.
'We can't take a house apart, but if it's in the open, we'll take a look at it,' Cope says.
Buyers should anticipate a written summary of the inspection, but they should participate in the process..."
Home inspection a must to ferret out defects before you buy - Nashville, Tennessee - Sunday, 04/09/06 -

Items to be Inspected

Essential items a home inspector will look for when inspecting a home
CourierPress: Home & Garden

Pre-Sale Home Inspection?

Many home inspectors advise sellers to get their homes inspected before selling.
I usually don't. I remind a seller who requests a pre-sale inspection that I usually work for home buyers. Generally, real estate regulations require that anything I uncover during a pre-sale inspection must be disclosed by the seller to every prospective buyer. Some sellers prefer to be informed & forearmed.

Is It Really Energy Efficient?

Home inspectors do not typically measure the energy efficiency of a house. You can hire an enery auditor to assess the house & recommend improvements. Here are some additional ideas:
KRT Wire 04/13/2006 Home energy Q&A

Handyman's List

Common problems noted by home inspectors. HOME Q&A: A checklist for getting your home ready to sell: "Don't worry if you don't have time to do all the repairs you want to do. While you want your house in good shape, we've noticed that houses in perfect shape end up with bizarre nitpicking complaints on the inspection report because it appears the inspector is trying to show the value of his or her services by mentioning something."

Hidden Rot - Inspector's Cost Estimate Too Low

Inman Consumer News
Some home inspectors include cost estimates in their reports. A home inspection is "visual" only and does not cover hidden defects. These home buyers have a much bigger repair bill than the inspector guessed. Their contractor discovered damage that was not visible during the inspection.

Buyers Can Use Inspection Report to Back Out - Local / Regional News: Clearly spell out everything in the offer
Buyers DO sometimes use the inspection report to back out of the deal. This buyer lowered his offer price based on a lot of little problems that the inspection revealed.

2nd-Hand Inspection Report? Sorry, No.

Occasionally I'll get a call from a prospective home buyer who wants a copy of the report I did for a different client on the same house. I always say, "Sorry, No."

Crawlspace Moisture & Mold

Bare soil in a crawlspace should be covered with vapor barrier & ventilation should be provided.

Problems Months after Inspection

Customer Service Is Still Job No. 1

Some buyers want their home inspector to take responsiblity for unforseeable future events. Sometimes the report will indicate a possible problem or recommend that a minor defect be fixed. It really is necessary for buyers to take the report seriously, weigh their options and get more information, if needed, before settling on their new home.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Understanding an 'as-is' home sale

A reminder that there are risks and possible hidden 'gems' when buying an "as-is" house.

I totally agree with the author: a buy should attend the home inspection and follow the inspector through the property. Ask questions. The inspector can help you 'get to know' the house so you are better prepared to make decisions during the home buying process.

Bradenton Herald 04/09/2006 Why home buyers, sellers must understand 'as-is' sales

Friday, March 31, 2006

Mold - resources

As a home inspector I often hear questions about mold. This article by Rebecca Cruse gives a couple perspectives on mold and ends with a list of resources for further information.

The Capital Journal - Pierre, SD newspaper since 1881

"...dampness and mold go hand-in-hand. Mike Meyer, an environmental consultant employed by Geotek Engineering & Testing of Sioux Falls, said that mold problems are always related to moisture problems - bad drainage and bad ventilation."

A home inspector shouldaddresss dampness and moisture infiltration in a home. Dealing with the causes of moisture infiltration is vital when attempting to fix mold problems.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Laars Products - Residential Hydronic Boilers

Look at the name plate on your heater. Do you have a Laars boiler? Here's the company website with details, pictures and manuals.
Laars Products - Residential Hydronic Boilers:
"Residential Hydronic Boilers A list of residential hydronic boilers."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inspection: Not Just for Purchase

Here are some "other" reasons to have a home inspection.The Sun News 03/14/2006 Inspections unveil home's ills:By Suzette Hackney, Detroit Free Press
Real estate myth No. 33:
You only need to have a house inspected before you purchase it.

While I've never given readers a list of real estate myths (it was just my attempt at cleverness), I do think it's important to debunk the idea that your home needs only one inspection. An inspection can be helpful for those buying, selling or simply maintaining a home. But guess what? Every homeowner falls into one of those categories.
There are already positive statistics showing that homeowners of the future understand the importance of a house inspection. According to the Homeownership Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting homeownership opportunities, 10 million Americans will enter the housing market by 2013. Of those, an estimated 77 percent understand the benefits of a home inspector and will work with one, according to a 2004 study by the alliance."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Fireplace Smell

What causes a strong fireplace odor to pervaded the house, even when the there's no fire?
Fireplaces always smell a little. For further explanation:

Laars Mini-Therm II Boiler

This morning I saw a Mini-Therm II boiler by Laars heating a row home. Click for the manufacturer's manual in PDF
A very cute little boiler.