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Termite/WDO inspections


When buying a home, your lender may require homeowner’s insurance, which in turn usually means a termite inspection. Even if your lender doesn’t require homeowner’s insurance, most lenders still require a termite or Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspection.

Termites may be small, but they typically live in large colonies. It’s possible to go for years without knowing they’re destroying your home. Termites need food (such as wood), moisture, and warmth to survive. Wood building materials in and around homes can provide the perfect food source, and insufficient grading that allows puddles to form near your foundation or air conditioning units that create run-off moisture can offer the perfect amount of moisture for termite colonies.

Some indications you may have a termite infestation:

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in or around the foundation of your home
  • Cracked or bubbling paint (which may indicate termite droppings)
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
  • Mud tubes on beams or in crawl spaces

A termite inspection will let you know if you have any infestation. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more!

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Home inspections—when should you run for the hills?

Home inspections can be scary. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect house, an inspector comes along and tells you everything’s that’s wrong with it. Though most things that turn up during a home inspection aren’t deal breakers, some are more serious. Here are a few items you should watch for; problems in these areas can end up costing you a lot of money:

  •  Electric panels: Some brands of electrical panels should be replaced due to safety issues, including Federal Pacific, Zinsco, and Bulldog Pushmatic. All of them have issues around not tripping properly when excess current goes through them.
  • Decks: Decks are built to last 12–15 years. Older decks may present issues with the fasteners, which can corrode and lose their hold on the house.
  • Chimneys: If a chimney is cracked and is beginning to separate from the house, it may need to be taken down and rebuilt.
  • Trusses: Broken or altered trusses are always an expensive problem because they can affect the structural integrity of a home.
  • Environmental hazards: A professional should address hazards like asbestos insulation or floor tiles, termite damage, mold, or lead paint.

Always attend your home inspection and use the time to talk with the home inspector. Knowing the problems ahead of time will allow you to make a good decision about purchasing a home.

To learn more about asking a seller to repair or replace an item found during a home inspection, read our blog post from 9/20/2018. It also talks about our latest agent tool: Repair Request Builder.

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Cheap and easy ways to winterize your home

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for about 48%
of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. When winter winds start blowing, taking time to
winterize your home can result in significant savings―and it doesn’t need to be expensive
or time consuming. Where should you start? Here are some quick and money-saving ideas:

• Install weather stripping or draft guards on exterior doors
• Seal attic and garage cracks with foam or caulking
• Add extra insulation to your attic or garage
• Install a programmable thermostat and keep it low when no one is home, or
overnight
• Replace your furnace filters
• Lower your hot water temperature to around 120 degrees
• Set your ceiling fans to move in a clockwise direction

Spending some time completing these easy tasks will keep the cold out and extra money
in your wallet this winter

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Remove toxins in your home with these six houseplants

 

Once colder weather hits, people tend to stay inside. When a house is closed up inside, airborne toxin levels actually become higher. Before you panic and run out to buy an air purifier, consider adding houseplants for a natural fix. The leaves and roots of plants digest contaminants in the air.

Benefits? People who work or live near plants tend to have lower blood pressure, recover faster from illness, and have improved mental clarity and fewer headaches. Here are six plants that do a great job of purifying the air:

  • Bedroom: Gerbera Daisy
  • Bathroom: Dracaena Janet Craig
  • Kitchen: English Ivy
  • Hallways: Peace Lily
  • Laundry Room: Boston Fern
  • Attached Garage: Golden Pothos

Think about adding a few plants to your rooms and watch the benefits blossom!

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Stucco Homes

One of the biggest benefits of stucco is that it can help make your home more energy efficient. However, if a stucco exterior is poorly installed or not maintained properly, several serious issues can arise. The most serious problem stems from water-related issues—specifically, excess moisture that becomes trapped in your home.

One thing you can consider to protect your investment is a stucco inspection. Only a professional stucco inspector will truly be able to tell if your home may have problems. Here is an overview of what this inspection may include:

  • Visual inspection: The inspector will first walk completely around your home and look for telltale signs of moisture—such as staining, cracks, and stucco running below grade.
  • Moisture probes: This method of identifying the amount of moisture in specific areas involves drilling small holes and inserting a moisture probe into an area. The probe holes are then filled with a silicone caulk that ideally matches the color of the stucco and generally blends into the system.
  • Thermal imaging: An infrared image of the home can often show areas with levels of moisture that can cause problems.

If the inspector notes areas of concern, you should call a professional stucco expert to remediate and repair those areas.

As with all home maintenance issues, stucco needs attention. Each year, conduct a visual check to look for cracks and gaps in caulked areas. Homeowners should inspect stucco homes annually for holes, significant cracks, or separations. Washing your stucco once a year with a mild cleaner and water will remove most stains.

Call our office to learn more or to schedule your appointment! 703-771-8374