Home Fire Safety Tips and Preparation

Home fire safety is practiced at a grill.Since May is National Barbecue Month, now is the time to brush up on your home fire safety knowledge. As you roll out the grill and invite neighbors over for a backyard cookout, a fire accident is probably the last thing on your mind. The summer has arrived, and it’s time to enjoy it! But stepping into the situation without concern for home fire safety or any preparation could lead to disaster. Whereas, if you have gone through the necessary preparations, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever happens.

So to give you and your family peace of mind this summer, consider these six home fire safety tips pertaining to grilling:

  1. Give Your Grill Space – Rain or shine, your grill should never be positioned beneath an overhanging tree, awning, etc. In addition, it’s best to have at least two feet of cleared space around the grill on all sides. That means you should keep it away from wooden railings and house siding, too.
  2. Assess Your Equipment – Before your first barbecue of the season, check for a rusty tank, cracked hose, or corroded couplings. Each of these would send out dangerous fumes that could lead to a yard or house fire.
  3. Kindle a Dead Flame – If your flame is dying, avoid using lighter fluid to revive it. Instead, opt for kindling. This home fire safety tip will help you keep the fire within your control.
  4. Be Vigilant – Don’t leave your grill cooking unattended, even for a few minutes. Keeping an eye on it allows you to shut the lid and suffocate the fire if anything seems awry.
  5. Proper Ash Dispersal – Ashes should be removed after each use and dumped into a bucket full of water. Make sure the bucket is metal. After a day has passed, bury the watery ashes in the yard.
  6. Extinguisher at the Ready – Knowing where you have a fire extinguisher in the house isn’t sufficient if the grill were to flame up. The minutes spent fetching it could mean the difference in salvaging your yard, deck, or entire house. It’s important to instead keep the extinguisher outside and ready in case of a problem.

Following these six home fire safety tips for grilling is a good foundation for a safe summer home. Another measure you can take in fire preparation is to inventory your belongings.  Normal household spring cleaning is the opportune time to create a log by taking photographs. The photos should be stored online or away from the house. If fire, flood, or theft occurs, they can then be used to calculate the loss for insurance purposes. You can also use the log as a visual reference for things you’ll need to replace.

For further home fire safety improvements, consider an electrical inspection from Inspect-It 1st.



Top ∧

Summertime Prep: A Comprehensive Pool Inspection

Woman relaxes after getting a pool inspection.A pool inspection is highly recommended at the beginning of each summer, or optimally in the spring. That way, a swimming pool can either be deemed safe and clean for your enjoyment or you can proceed with the proper repairs to ensure that it’s ready for summer use! Yearly repairs also help maintain a pool so that the expenses for upkeep remain manageable. Otherwise, a pool that is left to fall into disrepair could produce a hefty fee for replacement or removal.

 

Typical pool inspection includes an assessment of the following key safety and health components:

  • The presence, absence, and state of child-safe barriers
  • The security and safety of handrails, slides, ladders, and diving boards
  • Proper cleaning system function
  • The maintenance of interior and exterior finish materials (EX: steps, decks, and coping)
  • Checking for cross-connections within the water supply system
  • Ensuring the external bonds between pump motors, heaters, blowers, and other equipment
  • The operation of electronic circuits, underwater lighting, circuit interrupters, and conduits
  • System-wide observation of valves, piping, pumps, filters, drains, heaters, and safety controls

Do you think your home pool and spa may be out-of-date or need repair? Before you jump in this summer, Inspect-It 1st! That way, you can have peace of mind that your family and friends will be safe as they enjoy pool parties and daily swims.

 

A pool inspection is also beneficial when buying or selling a home. Aside from being a way to ensure safety, it also protects your interests as a seller or buyer, much like a typical home inspection for things like roofing, siding, paint, foundation, patio, plumbing, electrical, and ventilation. If you’re in the middle of a home sale or purchase, consider Inspect-It 1st. With Inspect-It 1st, you can group your inspection needs for features inside and outside of the home, including the comprehensive pool inspection. Inspect-It 1st does it all!



Top ∧

DIY Spring Curb Appeal Landscaping

Curb appeal landscaping helps in a house sale.Curb appeal landscaping should be top priority now that the winter months are blowing away and spring is on the horizon. An overgrown or neglected garden may make the first impression in your potential house sale, turning buyers off before they ever make it through the door. That means less money in your pocket as well as a longer time on the market.

 

To remedy the situation, you have options. You may choose to hire a professional landscaping team. This option reduces your net profit on the sale but also reduces the time spent on preparations. However, with a little research and a free weekend, you can turn a drab yard into an appealing green oasis.

 

In getting your property ready to go on the market, utilize these five steps for DIY spring curb appeal landscaping:

  1. Assessment – Start your curb appeal landscaping endeavor by assessing the size and scope of the project. How much ground do you have to cover? Which areas present hazards or need complete revamping? Are there any features that work or should be highlighted, such as a particularly lovely oak tree? Make a plan for each area, but don’t overdo it. You want to showcase the yard as beautiful to many different tastes, and that means letting the buyer fill in the blanks, so-to-speak. Give them some freedom of movement with your choices. And ultimately, showcase the house!
  2. Cleanup – Your yard may include dead or fallen branches and trees to clear away or grass that needs to be ripped up. Maybe the soil should be tilled or weeds need clearing. Whatever green you take away, consider sending it to a green waste recycling facility.
  3. Irrigation – Now that the yard is primarily clear and uncluttered, you may want to assess or upgrade the irrigation system. Are there sprinkles in appropriate places? If not, are they needed? Perhaps you are building a low-maintenance yard or the house is in a dry climate. Take note of these things before proceeding.
  4. Planting – Finally, it’s time to plant! Follow your plan from the assessment step, adding life and color to your yard in a way that would catch your eye if YOU were seeing it for the first time. It need not be an expensive upgrade. A few flowers around a tree, in front of the house, or along a stone path can be a nice, welcoming touch!
  5. Fertilizer and Finish – Step back, take a breather, and congratulate yourself on a job well-done. Observe how the yard develops within the next week or two. If grass, plants, flowers, etc. need a little nudge to get going, add some fertilizer. Also, if your house was already on the market, be sure to ask your realtor to use updated house photos.

Are you ready to sell? Along with proper preparations and staging, don’t forget to Inspect-It 1st! A house inspection by the current owner goes a long way toward encouraging a quick and profitable house sale. Contact Inspect-It 1st today at (877) 392-6278.



Top ∧

Tackling Termite Season

Tackling Termite SeasonTermite season is upon us, meaning your home may be at risk of termite damage or is already experiencing it. Termite season runs March-November. While termites technically are around all year, in colder climates they tend to slow down between December-February. Discovering that your home has termites can be a scary thing, but addressing the issue and preventing termites from taking over your home in the first place can be the best strategy. 

 

How do I know if my home has termites?

Although it is termite season, your home may not be at risk depending on the location and upkeep of your home. But knowing how to recognize a termite problem can save your home if they ever decide to pay you a visit. Termites tend to gather in dark, humid environments, meaning you most likely won’t find them on a wood surface because they are actually inside the wood. If wood sounds hollow or empty, it could be because termites are inside eating the wood. Other signs of termites can be groups of winged insects, known as swarmers, gathering around the exterior of your home. They will build mud tubes in corners of your home to provide themselves with moisture while they search your home for food.

 

How do I get rid of termites?

Getting rid of termites can be an easy process if they haven’t completely invaded your home, but it also can be a complicated process. Identifying which type of termite has moved into your home and then removing its food source are the first steps in creating a solution. To eliminate termites, there are wood treatments and also liquid pesticides that you can apply to the soil around your home. More importantly, it is imperative that you properly identify the type of termite that is causing damage or invading your home in swarms. If you think your home has termites but are unsure, bring in Inspect-It 1st. We can quickly identify the type of termite as well as how to get rid of these pests for the long haul.

 

Termite season can cause many issues for the exterior and interior of your home if you aren’t prepared. Taking precautions to prepare your home for termite season is recommended and will keep your house ready to sell when the time comes. If you are concerned that termite season has taken a toll on your home, call Inspect-It 1st. We can help you recognize the signs of termites and identify a solution to get rid of termites for once and for all.



Top ∧

8 Easy Upgrades to Help Sell Your Home

8 Easy Upgrades to Help Sell Your HomeTrying to sell your home comes with a set of challenges especially if it’s older or outdated. Some buyers relish the opportunity to transform a house into their dream home while others may want it updated to their standards on your dime before they even make an offer. To meet your buyers in the middle, here are eight quick DIY home upgrades to help increase appeal and value before you try to sell your home.

  1. Update the Front Door: First impressions are everything when trying to sell your home. A front door can give the exterior of your home its own personality and make a bold statement. Update your front door by painting it a fun color and install an imaginative new door knocker or consider upgrading to an entirely new door. A front door is the first thing your potential buyers see, so keep it looking fresh and welcoming!
  2. Replace Kitchen Hardware: Nothing can boost your chances to sell your home quite like a kitchen upgrade! Take your kitchen from the 1990’s to the 21st century by updating your cabinets handles and knobs. You can find a variety of stylish handles and knobs that have patterns, different shapes, glass, wood, and various metals to give your kitchen the updated look it needs.
  3. Update the Lighting: Light fixtures can say a lot about the age of your home. Spending the money to upgrade light fixtures can not only make your home look good, but can also increase the value. Allow yourself time to shop around and find the perfect colors and metal finishes for your home to ensure that the new fixtures don’t stand out too much, but feel right at home.
  4. Add a Kitchen Backsplash: Bring color to your kitchen by adding a cool backsplash. A backsplash is a unique focal point that brings the space between your cabinets and counter to life. Sticking to neutral tones will help sell your home quickly but don’t be afraid to step out of the box when it comes to patterns and designs.
  5. Small Bathroom? Add Wallpaper!: Small bathrooms are the perfect place for patterned wallpaper and stylish accents to bring a tiny space to life. Sell your home faster by upgrading this small space with your favorite pattern and spark interest from potential buyers.
  6. Update Faucets: Dated or dirty faucets are an extreme turnoff to potential buyers. When it comes time to sell your home, it’s important to make sure buyers know you took care of your home. If your faucets have permanent water spots or old caulk, upgrading them will make your kitchen and bathroom look cleaner and pricier.
  7. Plants. Plants. Plants.: Nature makes people feel calm and welcome. Planting outdoor flowers and bushes will increase curb appeal and draw buyers to your home. Also, try placing some fresh plants throughout your home to give off that comfortable feeling.
  8. Choose an Accent Color: Bring your home to life by choosing an accent color that will flow throughout each room. Easily add this accent color throughout your living room by updating curtains, throw pillows, vases, and other home decor to pull the room together. Having colors from the same palette throughout your home will easily give your home the breath of life it’s been needing!

After you tackle these eight projects, you may find that the value of your home will go up or an increase in foot traffic during open houses. Take the time to focus on what your home needs before it hits the market. This can help you sell your home fast and for a higher price. To give potential buyers an added piece of mind, have Inspect-It 1st give an honest property assessment so everyone is on the same page! Set up your property inspection today!



Top ∧

How to Select A Home Inspection Company

How to Select A Home Inspection CompanySelecting a home inspection company can be a daunting task, as you want to make sure you are choosing a reliable and honest service. Many different factors contribute to a quality home inspection company. Our VP of Business Development explains the best ways to choose a home inspection company in our Whitepaper guide. Let’s take a quick sneak peak into her best tips right here! Choosing a qualified home inspection company can help you select a home based on investment factors and not your emotions, leading to buying a home that may have a greater financial return in the long run.

 

State Certification & Compliance

Many states have home inspector legislation that requires specific training, continued education, and insurance for home inspectors and home inspection companies to comply with and keep current. Choosing a company or inspector that complies with these state rules will ensure your inspection will be of top quality. Some home inspectors let their continued education or particular certificates go unrenewed, creating gaps in their ability to provide clients with a qualified home inspection. Always look for companies that are labeled as ‘state certified.’

 

Training

Training is key in any professional service, and home inspection is no exception. Home inspection company employees are trained in many areas that are most likely unseeable to the untrained eye. If a home inspection company neglects to train their inspectors adequately, small details and even major issues can go unnoticed. You can request specific information from a home inspection company or inspector about proof of training; number of hours spent training, hands-on field training and ongoing education.

 

Insurance Coverage

During a home inspection, there is a small chance that an inspector could make a mistake or cause damage, just like any professional doing a very particular job. You should make sure they have two major types of insurance to cover any related damage that may occur during a home inspection. This is known as Errors & Omissions/Professional Liability Insurance and General Liability Insurance. Ensuring that the home inspection company is covered by these types of insurance will save you from damage risk factors. To learn more about these particular types of insurance, read the full version of the Whitepaper guide.

 

Report Format & Delivery

The report you receive should be detailed, understandable and comply with general standards. There is a variety of specific questions you should ask of your home inspection company and inspector, including; what is the report format, does the report include digital photography, and more. Your home inspection company should also provide you with a variety of options on how to deliver the report.

 

Franchise vs. Independent

When choosing a franchise or independent home inspection company, it’s important to make sure each one complies with training standards, certificates, and more. Prices may vary between a franchise and an independent, but making sure you are getting a qualified service for the amount you are spending is a critical factor to keep in mind.

 

Choosing a home inspection company can be easier than expected with the Whitepaper guide. Each of these sections, provides further information to help you make a smart decision with your home inspection company. Realtors can help you choose a qualified company as well. If you want to read more about how to choose the right home inspection company head to the Whitepaper guide, otherwise learn more about home inspections with Inspect-It 1st online.



Top ∧

4 House Maintenance Tips

4 House Maintenance TipsWhen shopping for a home, it is likely that the owner before you had a home inspection conducted to make sure everything was up to code with no major issues. Even with a previous inspection, you should get the home professionally inspected before your purchase. We suggest that after you purchase the home, it’s wise to maintain or improve upon the state of the property to ensure that it will be sellable in the future. You also want to be sure that it’s a safe place for you and your family to call home. Here are a few key elements that should be checked during home maintenance and some tips on what to specifically look for when maintaining your home.

 

#1 Electrical

Electrical wiring throughout the home can become a dangerous issue if not properly maintained. Most homes have been updated, and proper home maintenance will keep your electrical wiring safe. There are three locations that you should check: your main electrical panel, indoor wiring, and outdoor wiring. Home maintenance on your central electrical panel should include tightening all fuses and labeling all circuits. If you notice that your panel is warm, wires are burned, or aluminum wiring needs to be tightened, a qualified electrician should address these issues immediately. Indoor wiring should be replaced if damaged or frayed, and loose outlets should be tightened. Outdoor wiring should also be checked for frayed or loose wires. Outdoor outlets need to be covered properly and replaced if the circuits aren’t grounded. 

 

#2 Heating

Heating units can be a complicated aspect of home maintenance, but we’ve got a few tips on what to look for. A condensate drain line emerging from the ductwork above the furnace should be checked during the cooling season for leaks or water build up. The unit should be on a stable/level spot outside. Other key locations to check are the refrigerant lines; debris should be cleared away and left uncovered to prevent rusting. If your unit is excessively loud, we encourage you to have a HVAC professional inspect it.

 

#3 Plumbing

Home maintenance for your plumbing system is essential to prevent flooding, bursting pipes, and more. Any part of the home that has pipes or fixtures that contain any form of liquid should be checked regularly. You should conduct standard visual inspections to keep an eye out for cracks, puddles of water, and valves that need to be tightened. When performing home maintenance on your water heater, turn off the power or fuel supply before draining any water from the tank. We also recommend having a water quality test conducted to ensure your family’s water supply is healthy and up to standards.

 

#4 Structure

The most important part of a home is its structure and a solid foundation is critically important. When completing home maintenance for the structure, you should look in four key locations: foundation walls, wood framing, wall/ceiling surface cracks, and door frames. When completing home maintenance for the foundation, you should look for deterioration, dampness, and movement. If you see cracks and holes, fill them. Wood framing should be checked for evidence of rot, insect infestation, or sagging. Wall and ceiling cracks should be monitored for significant movement that could suggest damage.

 

For more house maintenance tips check out our maintenance checklist online. If you come across something that may require a professional’s opinion, don’t hesitate to contact Inspect-It 1st for a full inspection. A safe home is a happy home.

 



Top ∧

Home Inspection: Infrared Thermography

Checking home with Infrared Thermology.Infrared thermography goes beyond what an inspector can visually see in a home inspection and exposes deeper issues. Infrared thermography captures and measures surface temperatures by creating videos and still images to display the temperature variations within the home and its exterior. The temperatures displayed on the infrared thermography inspection, shown in different colors, can mean a variety of things. Let’s take a look at what can be found during an infrared inspection and why you should get one done.

 

Energy Loss

An infrared thermography inspection has the power to detect areas in your home that are causing your energy consumption to be higher than it needs to be. Specific areas where energy loss can be detected are broken seals in double-paned windows, air-conditioner leaks, damaged heating systems, any structural problems, heat loss in walls, windows, ceilings, floors, doors, and anywhere else in your home that could be allowing energy to escape.

 

Electrical Errors

This is one area that can be quite dangerous if not addressed. Remember that most electrical problems increase the risk of fire. The infrared thermography inspection can see overloaded and undersized circuits, overheated electrical equipment, electrical faults, and circuit breakers that need to be replaced ASAP. Electrical issues can be costly if not taken care of promptly. This is an important inspection to include before purchasing a home to determine if you are getting quality electric wiring within the walls.

 

Moisture

Infrared thermography inspections can detect moisture problems before they get too far out of hand. If there has been any leaking or moisture penetrating an area of your home, the film and still image will catch it. Some issues that could lead to moisture issues are damaged and wet insulation, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, and foundation leaks. Identifying these areas as soon as possible can reduce the risk of mold build-up.

 

Before you schedule your infrared thermography inspection, there are a few tips and tricks to make sure your inspection reads as accurately as possible. Move furniture away from exterior walls and remove drapes. To get the most accurate inspection, schedule it for when there is a large temperature difference between indoors and outdoors. In the northern states, the winter is best while you have the heat on, and in southern states, summer is best, while you have the air conditioning on. Save on energy and maintain the safety of your home by setting up your infrared thermography inspection today with Inspect-It 1st®.



Top ∧

DIY Yearly Home Inspection Tips

A man completing a home inspection.It’s a new year, meaning it’s time for you to take control of your home with a yearly DIY home inspection, completed by, you guessed it, yourself! Whether or not you are selling your home in the near future, don’t forget about the importance of an annual home inspection. This will keep you aware of your home’s normal wear and tear, while also keeping you informed about needed repairs and updates. Doing this can make it easier to sell your home down the line. Tackling your own inspection might seem like an intimidating task because it involves looking at areas of your home that you may not fully understand. With these tips, you can get started on your DIY home inspection.

 

  • Outdoors. The outer area of your home, whether small or large, is a good place to start. The grading of your home should slope away from your foundation at least six inches within the first ten feet. If anything, the slope should be even greater than this. If you are experiencing any water or flooding in your basement, there is a possibility of poor grading outside. Other key issues to look for outdoors are standing water, branches or shrubs scrapping the house, fence condition, and concrete slabs with cracks.
  • Indoors. Throughout the interior of your home, there are a variety of places you should be examining when completing your DIY home inspection. Start in your attic. Check for stains on the ceiling (which could indicate a leak), decaying or rotting wood, and take a look at the electrical wires. Also, keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. If something doesn’t look quite right, call a professional. As you move through your home inspection, look at the walls and ceiling for cracks and whether they are level. All doors and windows should open and shut without force, and heating and cooling should be flowing throughout each room. Also, make sure that the lights are working properly and all water sources are running efficiently. Check for stains underneath sinks indicating possible water leaks. Keep in mind that there are other areas to review during your home inspection, these are just a start.
  • Miscellaneous. There are a few things to check no matter what room you are inspecting. Look for caulking in good condition, evidence of moisture where it shouldn’t be, and check for surface cracks. Check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, visible wiring, and be sure that heating and cooling systems are operating without excessive noise and with a clean air filter. Also, walk around to see if you detect odors coming from your heating and cooling systems. This is a possible sign of improper care that should be addressed by a professional.

Now that you have these tips, walk around your home and look for signs of general wear and tear. It’s important to catch small issues before they become big problems. Being proactive about maintenance can help you save on repair costs when you decide to sell your home at some point in the future. If you come across an issue that doesn’t seem right, consult a professional. It’s better to be safe in your home, than sorry that you didn’t address an issue when it first arose. If you come across any issues that require further inspection by a professional, set up a home inspection with us at Inspect-It 1st®! We will inspect the interior and exterior of your home to make sure you and your family have a safe and happy space to call home.



Top ∧

Selling Your Home Around the Holidays

Selling your home around the holidays can be a challenge.Selling your home around the holiday season isn’t always the easiest task. Colder weather is rapidly approaching, but that doesn’t mean that house hunters are in hibernation. With these 7 tips, you could be closing the deal sooner than later. Let’s take a look.

  • Go easy on decorations. Holidays are festive and come with an array of home decorations. When it comes to selling your home around the holidays, it’s important to keep your decor in check. A few festive decorations are totally acceptable, but avoid going over-the-top. Excess decorations can give the home a cluttered look and turn away potential buyers.
  • Price to sell. People generally don’t prefer to move in the winter, which means there tend to be fewer buyers. Attract buyers by pricing your listing to sell. Pricing slightly below market value can even help start a bidding war!
  • Increase curb appeal. Selling your home starts at the curb before anyone even steps foot into the home. Around the holidays, there tends to be less greenery. Increase the curb appeal by keeping the driveway and walkways clear of snow and keep the lawn free of any debris or leaves.
  • Show high-quality photos online. Seeing is believing. Hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos and videos of the property. Also, if you have good photos of the outside of the home when the weather is prime, post those as well. Quality photos and videos make the process of selling your home much easier and faster.
  • Create the right atmosphere. Give the home buyers a warm and inviting atmosphere by keeping the heat at a comfortable temperature, turning all the lights on, and even leaving on some soft music. Doing so will instantly please the house hunter who has just come inside from the cold outdoors.
  • Hire a reliable agent. Schedules get crazy around the holidays, even for real estate agents. Hire a local agent with a good reputation to ensure that your listing will get the attention that it deserves.
  • Be flexible. Perhaps one of the most difficult task when selling your home around the holidays is to be flexible for showings and open houses. Most showings happen in the evening and on weekends. Keep your house in top shape, and be ready to vacate the house at any moment. You never know when the right buyer will want to see your property!

No matter what time of year, selling your home can be a bit of a challenge. Use these 7 tips to help increase your chances of attracting the right buyer and closing the deal! When it comes time to buy or sell, make sure you Inspect-It 1st®. Our qualified property inspection experts can give you an honest assessment of the property so that you’re in the know before signing the final papers.



Top ∧

Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

http://blog.inspectit1st.com © 2012. All Rights Reserved.