Got Termites?

One type of pest that homeowners really fear is the termite.  Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also like paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners.  Termites can enter your home through the tiniest cracks.

Spring is when winged termites, known as “swarmers,” may emerge inside homes. People often confuse winged termites with ants, which often swarm at the same time of year.

Signs of infestation include mud tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, floor joists, etc. These mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes thicker.

Wood damaged by termites is typically hollowed out and shows bits of dried mud or soil. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects will not look this way.

There are a few things you can do to prevent termites from invading:

  • Make sure your rain gutters are clear of any debris.
  • Minimize mulch in planters.
  • Seal windows, doorframes, and cracks in the exterior of the home.

Another option is to contact a pest management company. They will be able to provide additional options to keep your home pest free.

 

Pests have no place in your home!  Be informed and aware!

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New builds…4 types of inspections to consider

Buying a newly constructed home, may be a dream come true and a home inspection is one sure way to protect your investment while it’s being built and after.  It will allow you to hold your builder accountable as well as provide assurance that your home is being constructed correctly.

What types of inspections are available?

  • Footers and Foundation Inspection: This inspection would take place first once the foundation is poured and footers are in.
  • Pre-Dry Wall Inspection: This inspection occurs following the installation of framing, plumbing, and electrical rough-ins and just before placement of insulation and drywall.
  • Final Walk through Inspection: This inspection would take place before the builder completes their final walk through.
  • One Year Warranty Inspection: After living in your home for a year, it’s possible that some issues may arise. This type of inspection will document any problems within the home that involve plumbing, electric, structural concerns, windows, doors, etc.  It’s great to know the issues before your builder walks away.

For peace of mind, checking out these types of inspections is key.  Each provides a different type of documentation throughout the building process.  New communities and homes go up very quickly.  Hiring an inspector secures your investment and makes sure your builder is doing the job correctly. You won’t be sorry!

An important area, but one that is typically given little attention…your roof

Whether you are planning on selling your home, or even if you’re not going anywhere, summer is the perfect time to give your roof a little TLC.  Where should your start?

  • Clean off debris: Remove twigs, leaves, and limbs.
  • Inspect the flashing: Visually check that your flashing is solid and not deteriorating. Seal it if need be, remove old caulk and scrub the area clean.
  • Inspect the soffit: Look for cracks, holes or rotting to avoid an easy entry by water, insects, or small animals.
  • Inspect the fascia (roof trim): Look for signs of rot or damage. Contact a roofing contractor immediately if you notice an issue.
  • Secure loose shingles.
  • Clean and secure gutters: Clean and wash gutters if there are signs of deterioration, replace them.
  • Repair the mortar on the chimney: Work on your chimney should be done by a professional.
  • Prune trees: Trim any trees near or touching your roof.By doing these things yearly, you can save your roof as well as $$.

Two words that every home owner hates to hear…water damage

Water damage can occur for several reasons including leaks, clogs, broken pipes/hoses, or overflowing appliances.  Other reasons include leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, or foundation cracks.  Additionally, weather events such as heavy snow or rain can cause water damage. The possibility this type of damage will occur is high.

What’s the problem?  Moisture!  It promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, which in turn increases the risk for serious health problems

You can’t control the weather, but you can address issues in your home that may lessen the chance flooding or leaking will occur.  Let’s take a look at what you can do to help prevent water damage:

  • Improve the grading around your home: When the grade around the foundation slopes towards the home, problems are inevitable. In the short term, water pooling near your home can lead to rot and mold.  Over the long term, the house’s structure could be compromised due to movement of the foundation.
  • Check plumbing and appliances for leaks.
  • Check your roof for worn areas or missing shingles.

Don’t let water issues cause expensive problems.  Keep up on maintenance, watch for leaks, and address problems immediately.

Tips for getting ready to sell your home

If you’re starting to think about selling your home, there are some things you can do to get ready even before contacting an agent.  Attacking this list will benefit you when sale time comes!

  • Wash the windows.
  • Make small fixes: Correct any issues in your home that can be fixed relatively easily for example, repairing cracks or repainting worn walls.
  • Clean and declutter: Remove excess items such as furniture or knickknacks.
  • Exterior maintenance: Trim bushes, clean out flower beds, add new mulch, and trim trees. Your yard should also be clutter free.
  • De-personalize: Remove family pictures.
  • Pre-listing inspection: Consider hiring a home inspector to inspect your house. This will provide you with a detailed report outlining any major issues that need to be addressed.
  • Paint: Walls with nail pops, chips, or marks should be fixed and repainted.  A fresh coat of paint can go a long way to make your home look good!
  • Clean your carpets: Address stains or dirt that may make buyers turn away. If the stains are too severe, consider replacing the carpet.
  • Make sure your lights are working: A properly lit home can sparkle in the eyes of a buyer.

Now you can find your agent and get your house on the market!

Can a colorless, odorless gas be affecting you right now?

One of the last things you may be thinking about as you sit in your home is radon.  It may be something you’ve heard about, but it can actually be affecting you now!

What is radon?  Radon is a cancer causing radio-active gas.  You can’t smell, taste, or see it.  Radon naturally forms within the earth and is literally everywhere.  People can be exposed to radon in several ways.  These include:

  • Cracks in solid floors and walls
  • Construction joints
  • Gaps in suspended floors
  • Gaps around service pipes
  • Cavities inside walls

What’s the big deal?  Over time, exposure to radon can and will affect your health.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General’s office estimate that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.  Also, people who smoke have an even higher risk of lung cancer from radon exposure than people who don’t.

The best way to determine the existing level of radon in your home is to schedule a radon test.  If your radon level is confirmed to be 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher it’s recommended that you install a mitigation system.  According to the EPA, mitigation systems can reduce radon levels by up to 99%.

Breathe free, protect your loved ones, and check for radon in your home!

Do you have mold issues?

Mold is everywhere, but what do we know about it?  Mold loves moisture.  In your home, it could be found around leaky or flooded areas.  It can grow on a variety of surfaces such as wood, ceiling tile, and paper.  You may or may not detect noticeable signs of mold in your home.  However, these signs may include:

  • Strange odors: Mold has a pungent smell. It can live within walls or behind wallpaper.
  • Discoloration: Mold may appear black, white, gray, green, red or blue.
  • Change in health: According to the CDC, exposure to mold can cause respiratory problems in otherwise healthy people.

That’s a pretty extensive list!  Where should you start to determine if you have a mold issue in your home?  Consider getting an Air Quality Mold Screening (AQMS) it’s the most comprehensive test on the market. It tests the concentration of mold spores in your home’s air and identifies the type. It also can identify allergens. An AQMS can determine if you have a mold problem even if you can’t find the mold.
Whether you are buying a home or currently living in your dream house, mold is something that you should take seriously.

Real Estate Agents…Should you be recommending home inspections to your clients?

 

For your clients buying a home could be the largest single investment they will make. To minimize any surprises or difficulties, you should recommend a home inspection.

A home inspection will help your clients to learn as much as they can about their dream house before purchasing it.  Inspections can identify the need for major repairs, pinpoint builder oversights, or address maintenance problems within the home. For you as an agent, it will provide valuable information to use during negotiations.

What can you expect? A home inspection is an examination of a home by a certified inspector who will examine both interior and exterior elements including the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.

Specifically this includes:

  • The heating system.
  • The central air conditioning system (temperature permitting).
  • Interior plumbing and electrical system.
  • The roof, attic and visible insulation.
  • Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors.

A good home inspector will take time to answer questions during the inspection and once the report is received.  Many agents attend the inspection with their clients.  Many companies (including ours) supply a report after the inspection that is filled with pictures and narratives highlighting what areas of the home are considered acceptable, marginal, or defective.

For further information about what is and what is not included in a home inspection, check out https://www.nachi.org/sop.htm

The bottom line…home inspections are a win-win for all parties involved!