Lately many of our customers look at us like we have 3 heads when we ask for a check for payment. The reactions are all the same, blank stare, mouth open…”ohhh a check? Didn’t think about that. Can you take an ATM card?” YES WE CAN!Â We are now accepting credit card and debit card payments at the inspection. Safe secure processing just like any point of sale purchase. But you can still pay with those pieces of paper called “checks” and of course we still accept cash.
All inspectors should inspect electric service panles when they are under load. That means equipment should be turned on, running and drawing electrical current. This can reveal dangers that may not otherwise be detected. We are not allowed to dismantel things and can only do visual inspections. But don’t just use your eyes. Use all youir sences. Here are some other clues that may be a red flag for problem electric panels. The sound of sizzleing or buzzing inside a panel. Breakers feel hot when touched. Visual evidence of scortching or smoke trails. Heat tempering and discoloration of terminals. Melted or distorted wire insulation are just a few things to look for.
Here are a couple of examples of electrical panels that were inspected under load.
Â Anybody find a use for the QR codes? With the advent of “smart phones” and tablets, the more you’ll see the use of these QR codes. The concept is quite simple and intended to make it easy to capture information.Â You scan the code with your bar-code reader on your cell phone or tablet and it will instantly deliver the coded information such as a website, Vcard contact info, video or just about any other info you want to deliver quickly and easily. For example, you could print the QR code on your business card and they can scan it with their smart phone and boom! all your contact information is put into their phone accurately and with one click. I actually have a picture of my contact info QR code on my phone which makes it easy for another person to scan with their phone and get my info.
How do you get these QR codes, you ask? Very easy as there are many websites that offer free QR code generators. You just typ in the information and it will generate the code. Then you can download and save to your computer.Here’s a simple QR site I used.http://www.qrstuff.com/
I’ve been using them in several different ways. I put it in the signature line of my email stationary so they can easily scan it off their computer screen and straight into their cell phone contacts.
Another nifty use is you can put them on brochures, business cards or other paper that they can’t click on. Now they can just scan it and open a website, get contact info, open Facebook, etc, etc.
In this example I put it on the inspection certificate and when they scan it the inspection report for that house will open.
There’s really no limit on how these codes can be used for fun or business. I see them as a real time saver, especially if you don’t like typing all that info on those tiny little keyboards.
Pre-Listing Home Inspections
Sell your home for more money, faster, with less aggravation
I’m surprised that more Virginia Beach sellers are not getting pre-listing home inspections. They can just about eliminate the trauma of the home inspection contingency by reducing everyone’s concerns to nil. “Take the bull by the horns” as they say. Confront that contingency head on and neutralize while you can. An inspection, is an inspection..is an inspection But.. who ever gets it done first wins. Every pre-listing home inspection I’ve done has had nothing but positive results. It just makes the Hampton Roads home more marketable. Have you ever bought a used car with an expired inspection sticker? Makes you wonder why it’s expired and it just feels better to see a current inspection sticker on the window. It’s allot about perception. But the listing inspection does have very tangible benefits as well. It gives Sellers & Listing Agents the advantage when marketing their home in a buyers market. It provides a selling edge over the competition by assuring the buyer they are getting a house that has been thoroughly examined by a professional. Not to mention it gives the seller advance notice and control over any defects found. You can wait for the home buyerâ€™s inspection but youâ€™ll be at the mercy of their inflated & costly demands, or you can be proactive by taking control of this vulnerability up front by getting your home pre-inspected and certified.
The Home inspection must be through and the report professionally done. A poor inspection could backfire and A scratchy check list won’t impress the buyer.
What is a seller’s home inspection? The actual inspection process is the same as a buyer’s home inspection. Each system is closely scrutinized in an effort to uncover any potential hidden problems so the seller has control over repairs or how the dispositions of problems are addressed. Note: It’s very important that you use a company that’s thorough and provides a professional detailed report. This will give you the credibility and leverage you need in marketing your Certified pre-inspected home.
What are the advantages?
- It’s a powerful tool for marketing your home.
- Great sale feature handout to provide the potential buyer.
- Puts you a cut above the market competition
- The computer generated easy to follow; color report is a credible, professional sales tool.
- No more round 2 negotiations after a buyers inspection.
- No more deals that fall through when the inspector finds a problem.
- No more does the Seller have to deal with inflated repair estimates that costs extra money or even worse, Escrow deductions at closing.
- No more will you spend countless hours and dollars in energy and advertising to save a contract that is “blown out of the water” by surprise defects.
- Many buyers will waive the inspection contingency altogether when buying a certified pre-inspected home.
- It will help substantiate your asking price.
- It will show buyers your good faith effort and attempt at honest disclosure
- It will help protect the seller by relegating disclosure liabilities to the home inspector.
- It will allow the Seller to shop around for the best price to repair (not an inflated price that a Buyer would use for â€œround twoâ€ contingency negotiations.)
- It streamlines the entire inspection contingency process.
- It will allow YOU to decide what items should be fixed and what should not.
What to look for in a marketable sellers / listing home inspection package?
- A full ASHI compliant home inspection covering all the major systems of the home.
- A termite inspection and consultation by a licensed exterminator.
- Full color photo report following the ASHI standards of practice.
- Public access to report from any web browser.
- Links to your report from any sales listings web sites or directories..
- Featured photos of positive inspection findings.
- The ability to share limited viewing of your report to invited guest.
- Return visit by the inspector to review and confirm repairs.
- Report update showing after repair photos and positive comments.
- Home Inspection videos included in report where needed.
- Photo slide show embedded into the report.
- Online photo album showcasing inspection photos.
- Home Inspection certificate and yard sign or rider for display.
- A Sellers warranty through a credible warranty company. Usually a limited 120 day warranty that covers Structural and mechanical equipment until you close escrow or 120 days.
- Home Inspector support and consultation until the house is sold.
See more about sellers/listing home inspection here
An appraisal is an opinion of market value rendered by a real estate appraiser.
It’s the appraiser’s job to research multiple listing and other data sources to compare the sale price of the subject property to those of recently sold homes in the area. The determination of value is based on a side-by-side comparison of the subject property to a minimum of three comparable properties.
To be considered a “comp” the other properties will preferably be the same type of property, apples to apples, so to speak. So one can’t compare a detached condominium to a single-family detached home, even though they may look alike. Once qualifying comps have been located, the appraiser compares aspects of the most similar properties which have recently sold and makes adjustments, based on market data, to determine the final estimated value of the property.
From time to time a lender may refer to an appraisal as an “inspection” because from their perspective, the appraiser acts like the eyes and ears of the lender when they visit the property site. Even though it’s not their primary purpose, if the appraiser notices items such as shoddy construction, a worn or potentially leaking roof or inadequate electrical wiring in the course of their visit to the property, they will remark on that to the lender and will recommend a property inspection, or defer to the property inspection if one has already been performed.
A home inspection is performed by a professional individual who checks the property for condition and likelihood of potential problems (or not) based on the overall condition of the structure, roof, siding, plumbing, electrical, as well as other systems such as heating and cooling.
Depending on what types of inspections they have been hired to do, they may also sub-contract out to check for wood-destroying insects, septic, water and radon testing.
Today, the standard types of commonly requested inspections are worded directly into the purchase and sale agreement. The vast majority of home buyers have a home inspection done as a routine part of purchasing a property.
Appraisals and home inspections are both useful tools in determining a property’s value and condition, but they are two distinct types of reports.
Virginia Beach, VA. 12/27/2007 – After finishing a nice Christmas dinner at my sisters house, I decided to help out with the dishes. OUCH! The hot water tap was so hot that the reflex of jumping back almost caused me to elbow my Mom in the stomach. Of course my warnings of “That’s a scald hazard!” where drowned out by family laughter followed by antidote justifications of “Mom’s got Teflon hands and teenage shower worshipers need more hot water. But what do I know? I’m just the brother visiting. Experience and expert safety advice seems to fall on deaf ears when it comes to family.The next day I was back to work inspecting a brand new upper end home for a very nice young professional couple with 2 small girls , two car garage, and a dog. Everything seemed perfect. But unknown to them, danger was lurking. I turned on the hot water tap which seemed to more like a steam vent. The temperature reading was a scalding hot 153 degrees F.
Now I’m not one to be too superstitious, but wisdom and mostly age has taught me to heed the messages I receive from the universe. Are two back to back incidents like this a coincidence? I don’t know but I decided I should write about it anyway. It better to be safe than sorry. If I can save one person form getting hurt, it’s worth it.
Each year, approximately 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths occur in the home due to scalding from excessively hot tap water. The majority of these accidents involve the elderly and children under the age of five. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to preventing accidents, this decrease in temperature will conserve energy and save money.
Most adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150 degree water for two seconds. Burns will also occur with a six-second exposure to 140 degree water or with a thirty second exposure to 130 degree water. Even if the temperature is 120 degrees, a five minute exposure could result in third-degree burns.
Various procedures for lowering water temperature in the home exist, depending on the method of heating. Here are some suggestions:
Electric water heaters. Call your local electric company to adjust the thermostat. Some companies offer this service at no-charge. Hot water should not be used for at least two hours prior to setting. To make the adjustment yourself, start by shutting off current to the water heater, then turn off the circuit breaker to the heater or remove the fuse that serves the heater. Most electric water heaters have two thermostats, both of which must be set to a common temperature for proper operation. To reach these thermostats you must remove the upper and lower access panels. Adjust the thermostat following the instructions provided with the appliance. Hold a candy or meat thermometer under the faucet to check water temperature.
Gas water heaters. Because thermostats differ, call your local gas company for instructions. Where precise temperatures are not given, hold a candy or meat thermometer under faucet for most accurate reading first thing in the morning or at least two hours after water use. If reading is too high, adjust thermostat on heater, according to manufacturers instructions, and check again with thermometer.
Furnace heater. If you do not have an electric, gas, or oil-fired water heater, you probably have an on-line hot water system. Contact your fuel supplier to have the temperature lowered. If you live in an apartment, contact the building manager to discuss possible options for lowering your tap water temperature. Reducing water temperature will not affect the heating capacity of the furnace.
The CPSC notes that a thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) may be necessary for residential water heaters to reduce or eliminate the risk of most tap water scald injuries. Consumers should consider lowering the thermostat to the lowest settings that will satisfy hot water needs for all clothing and dish washing machines.
Never take hot water temperature for granted. Always hand-test before using, especially when bathing children and infants. Leaving a child unsupervised in the bathroom, even if only for a second, could cause serious injuries. Your presence at all times is the best defense against accidents and scaldings to infants and young children.
More information about water heater safety is available CSPC
Many people are under the misconception that new homes don’t need an inspection because after all, they are new and the city municipal inspection should cover that right?…..Wrong!
Experienced home inspectors have learned that all new homes have defects of one kind or another, regardless of the quality of construction or the integrity of the builder. This is because human imperfection prevents anything as large and as complex as a home from being constructed flawlessly.
A commonly held fallacy is that all construction defects will be discovered by municipal building inspectors. This view is highly mistaken, but not because of professional shortcomings on the part of those inspectors. The purpose, scope, time allotment and procedures for municipal inspections are not the same as for home inspections.
Municipal inspectors inspect primarily for code compliance, not for quality of workmanship. They can cite a builder for improper structural framing or for noncomplying drain connections, but a poorly fitted door, an uneven tile counter top and slipshod finish work are not included in the list of concerns.
Municipal inspectors rarely inspect an attic or a crawl space. They come to the job site with a clipboard and a codebook, not with a ladder and overalls. Construction defects in such areas can escape discovery.
Municipal inspectors typically inspect a roof from the ground or possibly from the builder’s ladder. From these perspectives, roof defects are not always apparent. And final inspections are performed before the utilities are turned on, so municipal inspectors cannot determine if or how well the appliances and fixtures truly work. They don’t test outlets for ground and polarity because this can be done only after the power supply is turned on. Nor, without power, can they test the performance of GFCI or AFCI safety breakers.
The lack of utilities also prevents the testing of plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, tubs and dishwashers, and of gas fixtures such as furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters.
Those who buy new homes should not forego the benefits of a thorough home inspection. Just be sure to find an inspector with years of experience and a reputation for thoroughness.
A Holiday House Poem
to a house that’s now your home,
More than just sticks and bricks
but a place that’s all your own.
Where life unfolds with dreams untold
your castle of memories will forever holdMay your home be filled with Christmas joy,
days of happiness and love.
May each year bring to you and yours
new blessings from above.
May family and friends who gather there
fill the rooms with laughter and cheer
creating memories that grow more treasured
with every passing year.
Happy Holidays from our house to yours.
Sincerely, Dan Rogers
- Easy Things to Do That Pay Off BigWhen it comes to home maintenance, you’re not theÂ Energizer bunny. Sound like you?Â Zipping off the mortgage check on time isnâ€™t enough. The health of your home depends on routine check-ups â€“ simple, must-do chores to keep your house running like a fine-tuned machine and holding its value. So muster up the motivation and get moving with this basic guide.
OUTDOORSÂ Divert water.Gutters do their job best when clean. Check yours for foliage build-up, particularly if trees hover over the roof. The rainy season is a prime time to ensure all drainage areas remain unblocked by leaves and/or debris. Trapped moisture can leave a house susceptible to moss and mildew and cause major damage to your roof and walls. While youâ€™re at it, make sure the downspout is clean and pointing 2-2 Â½ feet away from foundation walls.Maintain the roof.
Itâ€™s easy to take for granted the one thing that shields you from the elements. But doing so could cost you unnecessary repair costs. Be diligent about roof maintenance. After the next rainy day, inspect your ceiling for wet spots. Ask a licensed professional to inspect your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling, or crackling, itâ€™s time to replace the roof.
Check your paint job.
Look for chipped, cracked paint along the exterior of your home. The worse thing you can do is leave wood exposed, because thatâ€™s when it will begin to rot. Scrape off any failing paint. Sand it down so there are no rough edges, prime the bare wood surface and paint it with a high quality paint product. Donâ€™t wait until siding accumulates too much dirt. Brighten up the house with a good power washing.
Cut shrubs and trees.
Trim overgrown trees and hedges away from your home to discourage the growth of mildew and moisture. Branches should be at least 7 feet away from the exterior of your house to prolong the life of your siding and roof. Get rid of out-of-control vines, as they can help crack siding and allow moisture and pests entry into your home.
Love your lawn.
Rake up the excess leaves you didnâ€™t get around to last fall. Too many can suffocate your grass and stop it from growing. Pull up weeds, and remove foilage from the lawn, shrubs and any plants. Pull up dead flowers, and replace them with a low-maintenance variety such as pansies, begonias or mums.
Keep the air fresh.With warm, sticky days ahead, do yourself a favor and give your air conditioning unit a little TLC. Not only does it cool you down, but an efficient air conditioner removes moisture and humidity from your home, which in excess, can damage its foundation. So if you arenâ€™t changing air filters monthly, start now. A unit free of dust and dirt runs more efficiently, saving you money on your energy bill. While youâ€™re there, check duct connections for leaks. Make sure the condensate and drain pans are draining freely. If you suspect a problem, contact a certified technician.
Watch windows and doors.
Investigate all doors and windows for leaks and drafts, particularly near the corners. Look for peeling and chipping paint, which can signal water intrusion. Seal any open areas between the frame and the wall to keep out water, which can deteriorate building materials. Neglecting these tasks can open up potential for environmental hazards like mold growth, experts say.
Keep garbage and debris under control around the exterior of your home. Do what you would do inside, and get rid of junk. Check the house for entrances and gaps where mice and insects may be tempted to come through. Seal up cracks, even if you just did so in the winter. Mulching the yard this spring? Use a liner underneath. “Itâ€™s good to keep a barrier between your mulch and your home.
Take a peek at the plumbing.
Except for a coffee maker, anything dripping in your house is a bad sign. Check for leaking faucets or “sweating” pipes, clogged drains, and faulty water drainage systems. On laundry day, look at the washing machine hoses for bulges, cracks or dampness. Check under the kitchen sink for leaks, and make note of wetness around the dishwasher. Inspect your water heater for leaks and corrosion.
Tackle the tiles. While youâ€™re in spring-cleaning mode, pay attention to worn grout between floor tiles in the bathroom or kitchen. A small crack in the grout or caulk can lead to an expensive repair later. If necessary, re-seal as soon as possible. For the bath, get into the habit of wiping down shower walls and tub after each use to eliminate soap and scum build-up.
The bottom line is a message you hear about your automobile time and time again: Preventive maintenance is crucial. Keep your home happy and in tip-top shape with regular check-ups to save you the headache of emergency repairs from season to season.
Take care of your home and it will take care of you.
Spring inspection discount
When home buyers are caught up in the emotional mist of finally finding the home of their dreams, they may be willing to skip a few steps to make sure they acquire their dream home. They’re suddenly willing to pay a few thousand more than they had intended. They’re willing to go for a quicker closing date. They’re even willing to skip the home inspection process. But all to often these dreams quickly dissapear into a puff of smoke, revealing what could be a nightmare.
Don’t fall in love with a house until the house had been examined by a professional. The house could have any number of problems in structural, roofing, exterior, foundation, heating, plumbing, electrical, insulation etc. Continue reading