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Easy Upgrades to Help Sell Your HomeTrying to sell your home comes with a set of challenges especially if it’s older or outdated.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!



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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.



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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.

 



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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®.



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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.



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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.



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3 Tips to Save Money on Heating Prices

Homeowner saving money on heating prices.As the temperatures drop this winter, your heating prices are bound to rise. The good news is that they don’t have to! Check out these 3 tips for saving money on heating costs this winter.

 

Seal Off Areas of Your Home

 

A great way to lower heating costs this winter is to eliminate using certain areas of your home and seal the windows in those rooms. If you have spare bedrooms, a basement, storage units, extra bathrooms, or other spaces that go unused for an extended period of time, simply close the vent in the room and shut the door. Paying to heat those unused spaces is the same as throwing money away. Also, seal off large windows or windows that have air leaks. Use window insulation film to create a barrier between the cold window and your heat. Adding heavy curtains over the window can also help to keep warm air in and cold air out, plus this will help you keep your heating costs nice and low!

 

Keep Insulation Up-to-Date

 

Poor insulation is another example of throwing away both heat and money. You wouldn’t wear a thin, non-insulated windbreaker in the middle of winter, so why would you suffer through the winter with poor insulation in your home? Updating the insulation in your walls or attic can make a huge difference in staying warm through a long, cold winter!

 

Turn Down the Thermostat

 

We get it. When the outdoor temps drop, it’s easy to get carried away and crank up the thermostat. Generally, most of us feel comfortable with an indoor temperature between 68–74 degrees, so most people tend to set their thermostat around 70 degrees year round. By dropping your thermostat just 2 degrees to 68 degrees, you will notice substantial savings on your heating bill. The exact savings will depend on the efficiency of your heating system coupled with the two energy saving tips we listed above.

 

Don’t let heating prices put a major dent in your bank account this winter. With these 3 tips, you can stay warm while keeping your checkbook happy. Another step you can take is to get an infrared inspection from Inspect-It 1st®. Our screenings will give you an idea of where heat may be escaping from your home. Remember, heat loss results in higher heating bills. Get in touch with Inspect-It 1st® today!



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6 Steps For Winterizing Your Home

Winterizing your home in the autumn.Winterizing your home is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner.  Harsh winter weather conditions can lead to a variety of damages to your home that can add up to thousands of dollars in repairs. Lucky for you, winterizing your home is relatively inexpensive and can be completed in an afternoon. Let’s take a look at 6 crucial steps of winterizing your home.

 

  • Roof. Your roof takes a beating over time, especially when the seasons change. Assuming you aren’t afraid of heights, head up to your roof and clear it of debris. While you’re up there, check for damaged shingles. Water can leak through damaged or missing shingles and freeze, which can cause significant damage to your roof.
  • Gutters. Autumn has taken its toll on the trees in your neighborhood, and now your gutters are full of leaves, twigs, and other miscellaneous pieces of debris. Clear the gutters to prevent excess build up through the winter. Installing gutter screens can keep your gutters clear in the future.
  • Windows. You would be surprised to know how much heat leaks through your windows during the winter. Plus, all of that lost heat adds up to a lot of wasted money. Foam weather stripping makes a substantial difference in winterizing your home, especially for homes with wood frame windows that may have warped over time. For additional sealing, plastic window wrapping adds an extra barrier to the outside elements.
  • Doors. Just like your windows, a lot of heat escapes through your doors. Use the same foam weather stripping on your doors that lead outside and retain that valuable heat.
  • Pipes. Most homeowner’s biggest winter fear is a bursting water pipe. A bursting water pipe can lead to a wide range of costly problems. One of the best steps you can take in winterizing your home is to insulate your pipes with fiberglass pipe wrap to help prevent freezing.
  • Outdoor Faucets. You won’t need to be watering your lawn when there’s snow on the ground. Unhook the hoses, clear out the water, coil them up, and store them away for the winter. Locate the water shutoff valves for the outdoor water faucets and turn them off. Next, turn on the outdoor water faucets to drain the remaining water. Lastly, cover the faucets with an insulated faucet cover to prevent freezing.

Winterizing your home now can save you the headache of thousands of repair dollars in the future. Are you trying to buy or sell a home this winter? A home inspection is the most important step you can take to ensure that you are comfortable with the home you wish to purchase. At Inspect-It 1st, we believe in providing thorough, honest home inspections, so you understand everything about the property before you commit to the purchase. Get in touch with Inspect-It 1st today!



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9 Best Tips for a First-Time Homebuyer

First-time homebuyers looking at a house.As a first-time homebuyer, you are about to enter a new, exciting chapter in your life. Going through the process of purchasing your first home can seem like an impossible challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a list of the 9 best tips for a first-time homebuyer.

 

  • Check your credit. When is the last time you checked your credit? Many people forget that credit plays a major role in your interest rates and ultimately your monthly mortgage payment. Take the necessary steps such as paying down your credit card debt to make a positive change in your credit. Regardless of your credit situation, there is likely a mortgage program for a first-time homebuyer like you.
  • Get pre-approved. Before you begin your home search, going through the pre-approval process can be educational for a first-time homebuyer because it gives you an idea of what price range you can potentially afford. Keep in mind that what your bank qualifies you for may not be what you feel comfortable spending.
  • Organize. The minute you decide you want to become a first-time homebuyer is the time to get organized. Start looking at everything from your income to bills. Analyze everything including how much you are spending on those daily lattes. How much money are you making? Where is your money going? Create a spreadsheet to track of your expenses. Next, make a list of all everything you need in a house. Keep in mind that needs and wants aren’t always going to coincide. Take the list with you to every showing and check off items to see which houses actually fit your needs.
  • Figure out your down payment. Most traditional loans require a 20 percent deposit, which may be pretty steep for the typical first-time homebuyer. This means a $40,000 deposit is needed for a $200,000 home. If 20 percent is not possible for you, there may be other options, such as a FHA loan with as little as 3.5 percent down. Discuss your options and concerns with your Realtor or lender!
  • Learn about the neighborhood. During your home search, do your research on the neighborhood. Look into the local school districts, even if you don’t have kids. Also check out the local crime rate and the area’s accessibility to highways.
  • Think about the future. When buying your first home, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “here and now” mentality. However, we encourage you to think about your 5-year and 10-year plan. While it’s difficult to have everything planned out, having an idea of what you want for the future can help you keep things in perspective.
  • Create a budget in advance. Calculate your monthly expenses ahead of time to help budget for how much house you can reasonably afford. Keep all of those additional household expenses in mind things such as garbage service, utilities, phone, groceries, and homeowners association fees.
  • Research current grants. Ask your Realtor or search the internet for grants that are available for first-time home buyers. There might be some worthwhile grant options available to you based on your location or profession. A little research could save you thousands.
  • Understand the contract. Your mortgage contract is one of the most important contracts you will ever sign. As a first-time homebuyer, there may be terms and phrases that you don’t understand. Never sign something if you’re uncomfortable. Ask a parent or friend who has gone through the process to tag along and answer questions. Or, if needed, hire a real estate lawyer to help you understand the terms to which you are agreeing.

Before you dive into your search, some simple organization and prep work can make the first-time homebuyer process much more manageable and enjoyable. It’s also important that you make your purchase agreement contingent upon a home inspection. A qualified home inspector can answer any questions or concerns about your property so that you understand everything you need to know about the home. Get in touch with Inspect-It 1st® today for an honest property assessment.



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Protect Your Home With These 12 Tips

Protect your home with security systems and other tips.It’s important to protect your home not only when you’re out of town, but on a day-to-day basis. People often think that burglaries only happen at night, but many burglaries happen in plain sight while you’re at work or even at home! Protect your home and family with these 12 tips.

  • Close your blinds. Windows give the outside world a sneak peek of what’s inside your house and whether anyone is home. Close your blinds when you’re away to keep burglars from knowing for sure.
  • Trim your bushes. Bushes and other landscaping around the perimeter of the house provide easy hiding spots for perpetrators. Keep bushes neatly trimmed, and get rid of dead foliage altogether.
  • Install motion sensors. Motion sensor lighting is a highly-effective way to protect your home after dark. Lights draw attention, which no burglar will want when trying to enter a home.
  • Turn on the radio. Playing talk radio at a moderate volume while you’re away can protect your home by leading outsiders to believe someone is at home.
  • Turn off your landline phone ringer. A constantly ringing phone is a sign of an empty house. Disable your landline phone ringer!
  • Use device timers. When you head out for an extended trip, protect your home by creating the appearance of activity. Use device timers to turn on lights automatically at certain points throughout the day.
  • Keep recent purchases out of sight. Did you just purchase a new flat screen TV, stereo, or computer? Great, but don’t advertise it to the world! Instead of putting large electronic boxes next to the trash, cut the boxes into pieces small enough to fit inside the trash can. We also recommend keeping these purchases off of social media, as burglars have found ways to use social media as research for houses to hit.
  • Update your locks. Have you recently moved into a new home? It’s important to change the locks to be certain you control the only set of keys. It’s also a smart idea to make sure all exterior doors have deadbolts.
  • Lock your windows. People almost always remember to lock the doors, but often forget about the windows. It doesn’t take much effort to open an unlocked window, and burglars know it.
  • Install a security system. Perhaps the best way to protect your home is with a home security system. In addition to the added security, the security companies will often place signs and stickers around the home to advertise that the home is protected.
  • Have a family member check on the home. Ask a close friend or relative to check on the home when you’re away for an extended period of time. Ask them to empty the mailbox and remove fliers that may be stuck in the door as these are two signs that someone is home.
  • Get a dog. Man’s best friend is also a great home security system. A barking dog draws attention to the home and can also pose a threat to intruders.

Protecting your family and valuables is incredibly important. With these 12 tips, you can protect your home and give yourself peace of mind. Before you move into a new home, the best way to protect your investment is with an inspection from Inspect-It 1st. Our licensed home inspectors will give you an honest assessment of the property so you can understand any issues before you commit.



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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.

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