Yearly home maintenance

I know, home maintenance, not your favorite topic. But, without it, it becomes house maintenance or worse, the banks issue. Actually, home maintenance shouldn’t be a chore, rather a way to mindlessly block out the normal day to day. Don’t look at it as a challenge but a goal. Most homes here in sunny southwest Florida are a one story ranch style with not more than 10′ to the gutter. Others may need more ladder and nerve , otherwise, maintenance covered here is the same.

If you had the mindset to have a home inspection and your report is still available, use it. The inspection has every aspect covered and, if you go section to section you can spot trouble areas before they get worse or perform the basic maintenance needed at that time. A visual inspection can save you time and money in the long run. Neglect costs money, isn’t your time valuable?

A typical 30 minute walk around the house inspection can make you aware of potential failures just by sight. Many are cosmetic, some only by sound and still others that just fail. You can usually spot the warning signs of failure before deficiencies make the checklist.

  • Look at your roof and roof components such as vent pipes and ridge vents
  • Check your trim boards and soffits, look for loose damaged sections
  • Exterior walls, chalky paint, damaged siding, cracked stucco, dirty surfaces
  • Windows, doors and trim. Any damaged glass, rusty doors, missing caulking?
  • Gutters and downspouts, clean and seal. Extend diverters where needed
  • Landscaping, cut and remove if close to structure. Trees 20′ and bushes 2′ away from structure which will help keep moisture away from home.
  • Grading. If water is pooling against structure, regarding and more drainage is needed
  • Driveways/walkways/patio surfaces. Clean all surfaces, seal cracks or reset pavers
  • Screen cages or enclosures. Check anchor bolts and screening, replace as needed
  • Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical components, if visual looks like it needs attention, consult a licensed professional for advise on repair or replacements.
  • Pools, seawalls, docks and decks all require annual maintenance. Check each component and repair/replace as needed
  • Pests such as ants, termites, rodents and bees can all be spotted and deterred if caught in the early stages.

Keeping the exterior will help ensure the interior will stay dry and comfortable for many years. As always, many components of your home will require proper permits and/or a Licensed contractor to perform some of your annual maintenance. Pay a little today or pay a lot later, your choice.

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New construction home inspections

Do newly constructed homes need Home Inspections? A professional home Inspection of a new home is very important. I can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. As a qualified home Inspector, I may find problem areas where the sub-contractors have taken shortcuts or have exhibited poor workmanship.

The good news is that hiring a professional licensed home inspector can pay for itself many times over both monetarily and with peace of mind.

New construction homes have many problems. Building a home is a complex orchestration involving many different subcontractors and their employees each working on a different system of the house usually without regard to the other house systems. With all the separate activities occurring at the same time, it is nearly impossible for the builder to carefully check all phases of construction.

The job of municipal building inspectors is to check for compliance with applicable building codes. Building codes are minimum standards. While most municipal building inspectors are doing their best, factors beyond their control prevent these inspections from being enough.

Problems found before you buy can be fixed before moving in to your new home. You won’t have to deal with the dust and noise from repairs, or the inconvenience of having to stay home from work while workers are in your house. While there will likely be some minor touch-ups that will need to take place after you move in, you will want the builder to fix any significant repairs right away.

Defects can be repaired before they result in serious consequences or costly damage. Safety items such as gas leaks need to be addressed to protect you and your family. Missing attic insulation that will result in higher utility bills can be installed. Raised shingles which can lead to rotted roof sheathing can be repaired before purchasing your new home.

When you decide to sell your formerly new home, the buyer will likely get a home inspection. Problems that date back to the original construction will be discovered even if you never knew they existed. At this point, it’s too late to get the builder involved. You now own those problems.

Should I be at the Home Inspection?

Should I be there for the Home Inspection?
You are not required to be there for the home Inspection. However I recommend that you be present. It’s a valuable learning experience for most people and will help you get the most benefit from the home Inspection. By following your home inspector you can ask questions directly and the home inspector can explain maintenance tips for specific areas. I feel you will be able to better understand the finished home inspection report and get the most benefit from it by having attended the home Inspection. I will not leave the property until you are satisfied I have answered all of your questions.

Can I just do the home inspection myself?
Chances are that even If you happen to be very familiar with home construction, you still do not have the knowledge, training and experience of a professional Home Inspector. I have inspected thousands of homes. I are not only familiar with all of the systems and components of a home, how they work and need to be maintained, but I also know what to look for warning signs for potential problems. But beyond the technical expertise and experience a professional home Inspector brings, it is important to remember that the home inspector remains an impartial third party. If you are involved in buying or selling a house, it’s impossible for you to remain completely unemotional about the house, and this may cloud your good judgment. As your professional home inspector I will provide unbiased, objective reporting of the facts.

 

11th Month Warranty Inspection

11th Month Warranty Inspections

An 11th Month Warranty Inspection is conducted specifically to benefit new homeowners that have lived in their residence for slightly less than one year.

Builders and selected subcontractors typically extend a one year warranty to the first/new homeowner covering many aspects of a new home. This warranty will typically cover structural components (including the roof), electrical systems, mechanical systems (including appliances that were furnished as a part of the home), and possibly other structures such as pools, spas, and even landscaping.

Many homeowners forget that their warranty is about to expire, missing the opportunity to have the builder correct defects that they are liable for. Most builders typically do not warn the new homeowner that their warranty period is about to expire.

An 11th Month Warranty Inspection creates a “punch list”, where items that need attention are called out. This punch list might then be discussed with the builder before the warranty period expires. In many cases, items might be discovered during a warranty inspection for which the builder is not responsible (for example, adjustment to a garage door opener installed by the homeowner), but it nevertheless presents a safety hazard that needs attention. Warranty inspections, unlike a real estate buyer’s inspection, might call out cosmetic deficiencies.

If your home is currently under a builder’s warranty that is about to expire, an 11th Month Warranty Inspection is money and time well spent.

11th Month Warranty Inspection 11th Month Warranty Inspection

For a small fraction of what you paid for your new home, a professional home inspection can pay dividends in peace of mind and in helping to identify and correct minor problems before they can become major ones.

 

Home Inspections

What is a Home Inspection? A home Inspection is a professional, complete visual examination of the all of the systems and physical structural elements of a home. My emphasis is on identifying existing or potential problems that would affect a purchaser’s buying decision, or provide them with information they can use to their advantage when negotiating with the sellers.

Why do I need a Home Inspection? A home is by far, the largest purchase most people will ever make. Learning as much as possible about the house you are interested in before you make that final financial commitment only makes sense. You can avoid costly repairs and problems with your new home if you are informed about all of these problems prior to making the huge financial commitment. Our thorough, accurate home inspection report will also advise you of what maintenance is required to keep your home in top condition for many years to come. A home inspection by a certified, professional home inspector will give you a clear picture of the many systems, components and structural elements that make up the property. If you are selling your home, a listing home Inspection will point out any problems that might be uncovered later by the buyer’s home inspector. Discovering them early will give you the opportunity to address them before listing your home, in preparation for a quicker and smoother sale.

What does a Home Inspection Include? My home inspections cover all of the major systems, components, and structural elements of the house such as ceilings, windows, walls, floors, doors electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, structure, grade and drainage plus a visual mold and wood destroying insect inspection. Items cosmetic in nature are not reported, but may be discussed. Maintenance is an ongoing part of home ownership and will be discussed throughout the inspection.

How long will the Home Inspection take?
The time will vary depending on the size, condition and age of the home. For most homes, 2 – 3 hours Is an average time. I will not leave the property until my client has exhausted all questions and feels comfortable with my inspection.

What is the cost of a home inspection? Costs vary depending on size and additional services that may be needed. Check my pricing blog or my website for a list of prices and services.

Roof Certification

What is a Roof Certification? A roof certification is a visual inspection to determine the age and condition as required by the Insurance Industry. A basic inspection takes a few minutes and is required to be accompanied by several photos.

All roofs must be in good condition with no damage including curled or missing shingles, or visible signs of leaking to be eligible for homeowners insurance coverage. Additionally, all roofs, regardless of age, must have at least three (3) years of useful life remaining.

Sometimes a roof can naturally reach the end of its useful life without experiencing a roof failure. It just looks old and worn, and you are doing preventive maintenance on your home. If replacing an old roof is delayed, however, it could result in bigger problems down the road. So watch for the warning signs to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to add the project to your TO DO list.

Potential signs that your roof may need to be replaced:

    • Shingle edges are curled or shingle tabs are cupped
    • Bald spots where granules are missing
    • Cracked shingle
    • Your roof is at least 20 years old; while many shingles today are produced for durability, many factors can accelerate the aging of shingles. For example, if your roof is not properly ventilated, it can negatively impact your shingle
    • Neighbors are getting new roofs. Homes built around the same time period can experiencing the same types of weather conditions can mean that your roof is nearing its useful life
    • The roof just looks old and worn
    • Dark streaks. Airborne algae cause dark streaks on roof decks. While this may not necessarily harm the roof shingles, it may not look good. Algae streaks can be removed using a 50:50 blend of water and bleach sprayed on your roof. It is important to use a low volume garden hose so you do not knock the protective granules off your shingles. It is also important that you protect your landscaping from the bleach run-off
    • Moss. Moss can grow on roof surfaces that don’t get much sunlight especially in cool, moist climates. Moss growth can be more than a cosmetic issue. Moss holds moisture against the roof surface and overtime in freezing climates can cause damage to the granules on the top of the shingles. Moss can be brushed off but it won’t prevent it from growing again; take care not to damage the shingle surface. You may need to contact a professional roofing contractor.

 

 

 

4 Point Insurance Inspection

What is a 4 point Insurance Inspection?

Usually, a four point will be required if the home is 25 years or older, regardless if it’s a new policy or one that may be up for renewal.

What the Inspection Covers

This type of inspection covers four basic areas: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC, Electrical, plumbing, and roof. Any of these components could be a potential source of a home owner’s insurance claim. If they’re in good condition, the insurer can feel more confident about issuing a policy. Otherwise, the Insurer can request failed components be updated prior to issuing the new policy.

What can be a red flag during a four point inspection?

Over the years, building techniques and materials have changed. What was once a new and innovative product 25 years ago may now be todays problems.

What is a 4 point Insurance Inspection?

This type of inspection covers four basic areas: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC, Electrical, plumbing, and roof. Any of these components could be a potential source of a home owner’s insurance claim. If they’re in good condition, the insurer can feel more confident about issuing a policy. Otherwise, the Insurer can request failed components be updated prior to issuing the new policy.

What can be a red flag during a four point inspection?

Over the years, building techniques and materials have changed. What was once a new and innovative product 25 years ago, may now be today’s issues.

HVAC Systems; Older systems may still be in use but not energy efficient. Many HVAC systems will last 15 to 20 years. What I find is the a/c component was replaced but the air handler was never serviced or upgraded.

PLUMBING; Polybutylene, usually a gray or white plastic is a form of plastic resin that was used in the manufacture of water supplies from 1978 to 1995. A series of reports have suggested that increased use of choloramines inhibit corrosion to not only the polymers in the plastic but to the metal connections as well. It isn’t inherently bad. It does not make you 100% uninsurable. It will not definitely fail. It does, however, put a homeowner at a potentially higher risk for serious plumbing leaks.

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM; Most homes today are up to date and have approved panels and wiring. This is not the case when it comes to some specific panels and manufacturers.

Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in North America from the 1950s to the 1980s. Millions of their panels were installed in homes across the country. Yet, as the years passed, electricians and home inspectors often found Federal Pacific Electric panels failed to provide proper protection to homeowners and their families. Experts now say that FPE panels can appear to work fine for years, but after one over current or short circuit, they can overheat and become fire hazards. I advise upgrading.

ROOFING; There are many options for roofing. Many types have a life expectancy averaging 25 to 40 years. Most problems associated with inspecting for a four point is that the roof has not been updated and many have reached the life expectancy. Here are some life expectancies;

asphalt shingle (3 tab) = 15 to 25 years
asphalt shingle (architectural) = 20 to 40 years
roll roofing = less than 10 years
built-up roofing = 10 to 20 years
single-ply membrane roofing = 10 to 20 years
metal roofing (shingle and sheet) 25 to 50 years
clay and cement tiles = 25 to 50 years