Why Getting a Home Inspection Will Save You Money
By: Jennifer Buchanan

Why is a Home Inspection so Important?  Have you ever thought about saving the money and skipping on a home inspection?  For your sake, I hope not!  Let me tell you why.

As a buyer you want to buy a home with good investment possibilities.  If you didn't why would you buy a home.  These days you can rent for nearly the same price as owning a home.  But you know that owning a home brings you options that you can't get when renting; Investment options.  You can add-on, landscape, update, remodel, and other endless possibilities.  Do you own a home now?  If so how many things have you changed in your home without a licensed contractor?  Okay, you don't need to answer.  The truth is realistic, you own your home right?  Of course you have don some DIY work, understandable.  And did you know that most of the things you have done probably needed a permit.  Well, you are not the only ones.  Most likely so did the sellers that are selling you a home.  Some sellers have gotten the proper permits and went by the book.  These are the owners that get the most profit from the sale.

A home inspection can find hidden things that can cost you a lot of money.  I know $300 to $500 seems like a lot of money to just throw out on the table, but the amount you will be spending if you don't get that inspection and buy a home with hidden issues can be ten times that amount or more.  An inspector can find many hidden problems like dry rot, infestations, mold issues, past leaks, and many other things you can't see with an untrained eye.

Jill and Herb, a married couple with children, found their dream home.  It was perfect.  A three bedroom, three bathroom home with a 10X10 walk in closet, beautiful big kitchen, and all on three acres.  They were so excited that they hurried to get their offer in understanding that they were offering fifteen thousand less that the sale price and they asked for the seller to pay closing costs. They knew it was far fetched buy this is all the could afford.  They were in shock to find out the seller had accepted with in two hours without any counter offer.  Jill and Herb ended up getting into a little spat about how Herb could save money by performing the inspection on his own.  Jill wouldn't have it and made sure they hired a professional.  Herb's ego was a little crushed, but after the inspector found water damage all over downstairs and in the crawl space, he easily for gave Jill.  The inspector explained that to repair the damages more that fifteen floor boards, that were dry rotted, would need to be removed and two cornering walls would need to be replaced.  One of the walls was a supporting wall.  Jill and Herb didn't have the money to make these repairs and thankfully backed out of the sale with earnest money in hand.

Most damages to a home will show up on a seller's disclosure, but when a home is foreclosed on and the bank has taken possession the bank has no legal obligation to provide a disclosure because the bank has not lived in the home.  Brand new homes have the right of exemption also, because the contractor has not lived in the home. Brand new homes don't always sell right away and may have been sitting unoccupied for quite awhile and it is beneficial to have an inspection.

Don't make a decision you will regret.  An inspection may save your investment money.  Don't be the investor stuck in a damaged home that you can't get rid of.  Be the investor that hired the inspector and found that costly damage before you bought the home

15 Tools That Every Homeowner Should Own

By Nick Gromicko and Rob London Standard plunger
The following items are essential tools but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.
1.  Plunger
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most disturbing problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these troubling plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers -- one for the sink and one for the toilet.


2.  Combination Wrench Set

One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes and because both varieties are widely used, so you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers

Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable WrenchCaulking gun

Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.
6.  Flashlight
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.
7.  Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure, not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy. 

8.  Hacksaw
These are great for cutting metal objects such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Torpedo levelHacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.
9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in viewfinder must be exactly in the middle, not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flat-head and a Phillips- head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers areWire cutter sometimes convenient, but they're no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw. 

13.  Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The “side-cutting” (unlike the stronger "end-cutting" style) style is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings have become less toxic (and lead-free) over time, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally getting them in your lungs. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty or dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not not stop. 

15.  Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.
In summary, the above is a list of tools that every homeowner should have. 




Not all kitchens are created equal, give yours an edge
(ARA) - A place for everything and everything in its place. This seems like a lofty goal for many homeowners, but with a few kitchen storage accessories and some insightful tips, this goal is easy to achieve.

“Ingenious storage solutions can add function as well as convenience to any area of the kitchen,” says Paul Radoy, manager of design services for Merillat. “With a little planning, any homeowner can create a clutter-free space, even in today’s cluttered lifestyle.”

According to Radoy, the best way to approach kitchen organization and storage is to look at the room in sections. All kitchens have a cooking zone and a cleanup zone, and some kitchens may have an island or pantry. Each of these areas lend themselves to various storage opportunities.

Cooking zone storage

Food preparation and cooking are the primary functions of a kitchen, which is why keeping cooking items organized and within easy reach is key. Storage solutions could include a spice drawer organizer next to the cook top or a drawer organizer kit that accommodates everything from tableware to larger cooking utensils, adapting to any homeowner’s specific needs.

“Another storage option is a top hinged wall cabinet,” says Radoy. “The hinge mechanism can be locked into position so contents can be easily removed while cooking.”

Extra wide or deep drawers are a perfect storage solution when installed under a cook top. A deep drawer organizer, which features solid hardwood pegs, is ideal for storing bulky items like pots, pans and mixing bowls. In addition, extra wide pull-out trays make retrieving large pots and pans effortless. Awkward items can also be stored on a lazy Susan or a swing-out base cabinet, both of which take advantage of a tricky blind corner situation. The swing-out base cabinet allows full access to the entire cabinet with its two adjustable roll-out trays.  

Another option is to install a utensil hanging system on the back splash, or a pull-down knife rack under the wall cabinet next to the cook top. Having these items close at hand saves time digging through drawers. Plus, grouping all these organizational conveniences near the cook top provides a space for easy prep work.

Cleanup zone storage

Organizing the cleanup zone can minimize clutter and make cleanup easier. From the location of the sink and dishwasher to various organizational accessories, any cleanup zone can shine.

Things like a tilt-out sink tray, which keeps soaps and sponges out of sight, an under-sink tote and a base wastebasket help to keep things well organized. Also, a cutting board kit close to the sink makes for easy cleanup during food prep.

Kitchen island storage

Kitchen islands offer much more than visual appeal. They lend themselves to multiple functions including storage, convenience and additional workspace.

According to Radoy, “An island with a great focal point like a wine storage and serving base is classy and yet very practical. Adding spice drawers to hold napkins or small utensils like corkscrews is another great idea.”

The island workspace can become even more streamlined when essentials such as sinks, cooktops or dishwashers are incorporated into the design. Also, open shelves in an island allow for space to store functional items like cookbooks or display decorative touches.

Pantry storage

“The pantry is one of the most popular kitchen features and one of the first things on a homeowner’s wish list for their kitchen,” says Radoy. “It’s no wonder; the pantry is a great storage solution.”

A pantry or utility cabinet lets people store many different items in one central location and at different levels, making some things more accessible or inaccessible for children. Flanking the refrigerator with two pantries can add storage in a convenient location. Also, pantries can be perfect for storing seasonal items and other large pieces that are not used as frequently.

“People today are using their kitchens for everything from cooking to crafting, and this means there are going to be a lot more items in the kitchen to accommodate all those tasks,” says Radoy.  “While all these items can lead to chaos, smart storage solutions can bring order not only to the kitchen but to your life.” To learn more about organizational solutions, visit Merillat.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


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