8 Exterior Fall Cleaning Tips

Exterior Fall Cleaning TipsWe’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but fall cleaning? The change of season is the perfect time to take a look at the interior and exterior of your home. Depending on where you live, it’s likely that you will soon be experiencing cold temperatures and more harsh weather conditions. Whether you are selling your home or happily hibernating in your home for the winter, a thorough fall cleaning is a great idea.

 

  • Gutters. With the change of season comes a change of scenery, and often that means leaves and debris are falling into the gutters and downspouts. Clearing them out a few times per year, especially during your fall cleaning, will help prevent water from getting backed up and entering the home. Make sure the downspouts help guide water away from the house.
  • Windows. Spray down the windows with a hose or cleaning product to help clear away nature’s build-up. Use this fall cleaning tip to help your windows shine.
  • Deck. If you’re looking to sell your home during the next few months, a poorly-maintained deck can appear as a negative to potential buyers. Your deck can get worn and weathered by falling branches, leaves, and other debris from the autumn weather. Clear off the deck and hose it down to keep a clean look and extend the life of your deck.
  • Pool Maintenance. Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance you won’t be using your pool after September. Take the proper steps to ensure that your pool will not be damaged during the winter and will function properly next spring. Drain the pool and clean out the filtration system.
  • Patio Furniture. If you don’t plan on spending time on the patio during the cold winter months, clean up your patio furniture and place it in storage. Take a few minutes during your fall cleaning to store it in the garage or a shed to prolong its life and protect it from the snow.
  • Check Seals. Go around to the windows and doors on all exterior walls and make sure that all weather-stripping and caulking is still doing its job. Proper sealing can keep out the elements of a cold, harsh winter that you don’t want entering the home. If you’re planning to sell, small details like such as new weather stripping can go a long way for potential buyers.
  • Hoses. Before freezing temperatures arrive, you’ll want to make sure that you disconnect the water hoses and shut off the outdoor water flow. This will help prevent frozen and bursting pipes that can lead to major headaches.
  • Check Siding. Fall cleaning is a good time to check all aspects of the exterior including the siding of the home. The siding is the first point of contact with the outside elements. If small parts are beginning to show signs of fading, cracking, or other wear, you may want to look into a repair or partial siding replacement.

No matter where you live, we all experience the change in seasons. A good fall cleaning is a great idea whether you are trying to sell your home or happily staying put. When it’s time to buy or sell a home, get in touch with the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. We pride ourselves on our thorough and honest property inspections for both buyers and sellers.



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Common Issues Found in a Property Inspection

Performing a Property InspectionThinking about skipping a property inspection? We encourage you to think again. No home is flawless; and although it may look like a dream home on the surface, there are often a handful of issues that you may not see. Here are a few common issues that may pop up during a property inspection.

  • Roofing. The average roof should last about 20 years, but that’s never a guarantee. Over time, storms, snow, and wind can put serious wear on the roof and shorten its life. During a property inspection, your inspector will give you an objective assessment to give you an idea of how much longer the roof will last. If it needs a replacement right away, we recommend that you work out a deal with the seller to either have it replaced or adjust the selling price accordingly. No matter what size the house is, the cost for a new roof is expensive.
  • Poor Outdoor Water Drainage. While your inspector is taking a look at the exterior, they will check over the gutters and downspouts. It’s an easy thing for buyers to overlook, but a crucial thing to keep in mind. Gutters play a huge role in keeping water out of your home. Damaged gutters can lead to leaks in the ceiling and puddles in the basement. Downspouts should guide water down and away from the home to help keep things dry.
  • Faulty Electricity. Perhaps one of the most important things that we check in your property inspection is the electricity in the home. Faulty wiring or panels can be incredibly dangerous and lead to a fire. This reason alone makes the inspection worth your while because there is far more to it than lights turning on and off. Your Inspect-It 1st inspector is knowledgeable of legal guidelines to help keep you safe.
  • Plumbing Issues. When you walk through a home, it’s a good idea to see if water runs to the sinks and toilets. However, during a property inspection, your inspector will locate leaks that might not be easily visible.
  • Cracked or Shifted Foundation. A shifting foundation is inevitable over time, but it should happen at a very slow rate. If the house you’re looking at is fairly new and already showing major shifts, that should draw a red flag. Repairing a home’s foundation is expensive and should be brought into serious consideration before committing to the purchase.

Just because a house has some issues, it doesn’t mean you should head for the door. However, learning about these issues up front can save you money and heartbreak down the road. A property inspection is a small investment that plays a big role in your hunt for a new home. With Inspect-It 1st, you will receive a thorough, objective property inspection with honesty and integrity. We assess the property from all angles and present you with an easy-to-understand report. You’re in good hands when you inspect with Inspect-It 1st. Contact us today to set up your property inspection!



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DIY Home Improvements Under $500

Couple performing DIY home improvementsWhen trying to sell your home, simple DIY home improvements can add value and appeal to potential buyers. You don’t need a massive remodeling budget to do this. In fact, many DIY home improvements can be done for under $500, or even $100! Let’s take a look at a few.

  • Paint. A fresh coat of paint can bring new life to any room with a typical cost under $50 per room, depending on the size. If you have dirty walls or crazy colors that may not appeal to a broad audience of buyers, this affordable DIY home improvement is a no-brainer! We suggest that you choose neutral colors that are gender-neutral and appealing to everyone.
  • Ditch dated wallpaper. Still have that 30-year-old duck wallpaper in your bathroom or bedrooms? It’s time to get rid of it once and for all. Old, dated wallpaper can be difficult for potential buyers to look past and will leave a bad impression. Pull it down and throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls for an updated look! This DIY home improvement is a must before you try to sell.
  • Spend an hour or two with a designer. Need inspiration for DIY home improvement and decorating ideas? A professional designer can give you tips and ideas to make your house shine when it comes time to sell. The price will differ depending on the designer, but a designer will typically come to your home for $100/hr. Make a list of questions before the visit to get the most out of your appointment.
  • Low-maintenance landscaping. Not all home improvements are inside the home. Maybe it’s time to think outside the box and take a look at your landscaping. Before potential buyers set foot into your home, they’ll have an initial impression based on the curb appeal. Do you have patchy grass or bushes that are dying? Patch up the grass with some seed, remove the bushes, and plant a few low-maintenance flowers and bushes to boost curb appeal!
  • Ditch Popcorn Ceilings. What’s wrong with popcorn ceilings? They’re dated and are unappealing to buyers looking for a modern look. For a cheap DIY home improvement, head down to the hardware store and pick up the product to soften the popcorn texture. Simply follow the instructions and scrape it away. Although this won’t greatly add value to the home, it will make the space more visually appealing.
  • Update fixtures and ceiling fans. Give your house a facelift with new light fixtures that are aesthetically pleasing. If you can only afford one room for this DIY home improvement, we recommend you choose the kitchen or another common area that is heavily used.
  • Update cabinets. Can’t afford to replace your kitchen cabinets? Try refreshing them with a few updates such as a fresh stain or coat of paint, and new handles for an affordable DIY home improvement.
  • Ditch clutter. Before a move is the ideal time to get rid of the clutter that you no longer need or want. Go through each room in your home and decide what items you are okay with parting ways. Set them aside and either hold a garage sale or donate the items! Next, try to look at your home as a potential buyer will see it. Box up anything that doesn’t play a role in the room including personal treasures, photos, etc. Rent a small storage garage to store these items while your house is on the market. Depersonalizing and decluttering the house will help potential buyers visualize their family in the home.

With a few small DIY home improvements, you can not only increase the appeal of your home, but you can also increase the selling price! Set aside some time before you list your home to determine which areas could use improvement. For a deeper look at your home, contact the inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. We can help you prioritize your home improvements with a thorough inspection of your property. Contact us today!



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When To Skip the DIY Home Repair

Tools for home repair.When it comes to home repair, it can be difficult to decide between doing it yourself and hiring someone to get the job done. There are many cases when a DIY home repair makes sense, but when should you step back and leave it to the pros? Here are a few things to consider before taking on new projects around the house.

 

Questions to ask yourself before you decide to tackle a home repair yourself.

  • Do I understand the repair? First and foremost, it’s important to research the repair and gather all the information you can before you begin. Google and YouTube offer valuable information and can give you a good idea of what to expect. If you don’t feel 100% confident after learning more about the repair, we recommend not handling the repair on your own.
  • What’s my time worth? Saving money is always a great thing, but the time it takes for a DIY repair could outweigh the money that you save. Although it may be more costly, a quality repair technician will be able to complete the project in a fraction of the time.
  • What’s the worst case scenario? When assessing the home repair, take into account the worst case scenario if the repair were to go wrong. Is there a possibility for injury or damage to the home? These are things to keep in mind.

Projects to leave to a professional.

  • Electrical. Electrical projects can be dangerous and extensive. We recommend that you hire a licensed electrician for any home repairs involving electricity.
  • Plumbing. The occasional clogged toilet is bound to happen and can usually be fixed with a plunger. However, when you’ve got a basement full of water because of a burst pipe, that’s a different story. Don’t try to handle major plumbing repairs on your own. Even the smallest leak or a loose pipe can lead to thousands of dollars in damage.
  • Roofing. The unfortunate truth is that you will need a new roof at some point if you own a house long enough. If you are not skilled and knowledgeable, trying to repair or replace a roof by yourself can lead to a variety of problems. Your roof is one of the most important elements of your home, don’t cut corners with this home repair.

Before you take on a DIY home repair, it’s important to keep these suggestions in mind. Ultimately, if you are uncomfortable with a repair, we always recommend hiring a professional that can get the job done right. It’s important to get a home inspection before purchasing a new home so that you can understand all of the home repairs you will need to make. At Inspect-It 1st, we believe in providing thorough home inspection services with the utmost integrity. Contact us today to set up your home inspection!

 



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Getting More out of a House Inspection

Technician performing house inspection.A house inspection can be the best move you make when shopping for a home. You’ve patiently shopped around for weeks, or even months, and you’re looking to make an offer on a new house. This is a critical point in the process where some people forget, or even opt out of a house inspection because everything looks fine on the surface. But the truth is that even new construction homes should always receive a thorough house inspection. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your next house inspection.

  1. Give the home a thorough look for yourself. Once you’ve had a chance to walk through the home, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look past the bells and whistles. This should be done before you make an offer on the house. Turn on the lights, flush the toilets, look at the appliances, and even walk around the outside of the home and look for cracks in the foundation. If you notice several issues as you walk around the home, then that should raise a red flag. A little inspection on your own may be all that it takes to notice a few major issues and save you some money by walking away.
  2. Choose the right inspector. When it’s time for your house inspection, do some research to find the right inspector. Choose a licensed company that has an outstanding reputation for offering thorough, honest services to ensure that you are getting the best value. Although your friends or family members may be knowledgeable, we strongly encourage you to find a professional who can provide an honest, unbiased assessment of the property.
  3. Attend the house inspection. We’re not expecting you to take notes on every inspection detail; that’s what the inspection report is for. However, we do encourage you to attend the house inspection so that your inspector can answer any questions you may have.
  4. Make a list of repairs. An honest and complete house inspection will likely shine a light on a handful of needed repairs. Some repairs may be large while others may be small DIY projects. Regardless, make a list of all the repairs, along with estimated costs to help determine if you can afford them.
  5. Always make your offer contingent on a house inspection, and don’t be afraid to walk away if the issues are too complicated and costly. Too often, home buyers fall in love with a home and choose to go through with a purchase, even after their house inspection shows major issues with the property. Don’t be afraid to walk away if major issues, such as a cracked foundation, are brought to your attention during the inspection.
  6. Get creative with negotiations. Once you have your house inspection report, you have a chance to counter offer your original offer on the house. Take this opportunity to negotiate repairs that need to be done to the home. Often the seller will be willing to either make the repairs or lower the selling price of the home to balance out the cost of repairs.

A house inspection is arguably the most important step of the buying process. Once you find your next dream home, get in touch with your local Inspect-It 1st location. We will provide you with an honest and thorough house inspection so that you can better understand everything about the home before your purchase. Buying a house is a big step! You can trust Inspect-It 1st to help you take that step with the highest standard of professionalism in the business.



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Best Home Renovations for Value

homes-for-sale-326998_1280Not all home renovations yield the same results. When you’re considering a home renovation, no matter how big or small, it’s important to analyze the reasons why you are doing the remodel. Many people choose to customize areas of their home to fit their needs and desires. This is great while you’re living in the home, but it may not always be the best option for resale. Here are a few home renovations that will give you the best return on investment.

 

  • Kitchen. Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “you’re not selling a home, you’re selling the kitchen.” This is because the kitchen is often a make-or-break feature for many home buyers. If you have a substantial budget, opening up a kitchen with a complete renovation can make the space feel larger and more inviting. Even if you have a smaller budget, updating appliances, cabinets, and a fresh coat of paint can help you see a decent return on your investment.
  • Bathroom. An outdated bathroom can be an eyesore for potential buyers. Get rid of any dated hardware, faucets, and tile, and upgrade to something clean and neutral. Try not to get too gender specific with coloring, especially in a master bathroom.
  • Attic Bedroom. Some homes have the perfect layout for an attic bedroom. While these can be expensive, they can return a fair amount of your investment, especially in a smaller home with few bedrooms.
  • Basement. An unfinished space in the home, such as a basement, is often the best place to enhance your property with a home renovation. Adding an extra bedroom and bathroom to a basement can increase the value of your home significantly.
  • Flooring. While this may not seem important, an outdated space with old carpet can feel stodgy. Renewing the home, or even just a few rooms, with a flooring upgrade can make everything feel clean and fresh.

Things to keep in mind when choosing home renovations:

  • Styles change quite frequently. Don’t renovate your home in a style that will be outdated by the time you want to sell. On the other hand, if you’re looking to sell right away, choosing something that is currently trendy may actually attract more potential buyers.
  • Don’t overdo it. It’s easy to get carried away with home renovations. Going over the top with updates in an older neighborhood won’t yield as high of a return as you might expect. Updates are good, but it’s important to know when enough is enough.
  • Keep things in balance. An updated room is great, but it can quickly be forgotten if the rest of the house falls short. If you have a budget for home renovations, commit a small amount to updating the rest of the home with a fresh coat of paint. Pain can make a huge difference.

Home renovations can be an exciting project or a major headache. If you are uncomfortable handling a project, we highly recommend you hire a licensed contractor. Also, before you start any home renovations, it’s important to research any permits you may need to acquire. When it does come time to sell, the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st® will be happy to give you an honest and thorough inspection of your home.



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6 Things to Avoid When House Hunting

House hunting for the perfect home.House hunting can be an exciting experience, but it comes with its challenges. No matter how new the property is, there may still be issues that can lead to large expenses. An Inspect-It 1st home inspector can find issues with a property and inform you about repairs the house may need. Here are 6 problems we recommend that you avoid when house hunting.

  • Foundation issues. The foundation is critical to the structural integrity of your home. The problem is that many foundation issues are not visible to the buyer. Foundation repairs can cost several thousand dollars, and can lead to further issues down the road if not repaired promptly. If your home inspector mentions any issues involving the foundation, your best bet may be to walk away and continue house hunting.
  • Roof repairs. Take notice of any visible damage on the roof. While you’ll still want an inspector to investigate, problems such as missing shingles or other roofing damage can give you an idea of how well the house has been maintained. A damaged roof can also lead to water damage throughout the home. The total repair costs could easily reach over $10,000.
  • Siding replacement. The outside of a home can really take a beating from nature’s elements. Take a walk around the exterior of the home and give the outer shell a critical once-over. If the siding appears to be rotting, damaged, or rusting, be sure to factor that into your house hunting plan.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Another issue that you may not notice until you bring an inspector on board is the HVAC system. Does the home have a ventilation system, and if so, is it damaged? These are important things to note when house hunting. Replacing a furnace, air conditioner, or repairing ventilation can cost you thousands in unexpected costs.
  • Deck repair. If the home has a deck, take a look for rotting or cracks. A deck is a major perk for many people, but a damaged deck can pose safety problems and a hefty repair bill.
  • Driveway. When you’re house hunting, remember that you are investing in more than the house itself. If the driveway is damaged and cracked, it’s likely that a repair or replacement will be needed soon. If not repaired, it can cause damage to your vehicles over time.

These are not necessarily a deal breaker for everyone, however avoiding these while on your house hunting journey can save you thousands of dollars. Some issues are visible, but there are many things that may not be so obvious. Although it’s good to check for issues when house hunting, it’s still crucial for every home buyer to get a home inspection before making the purchase. At Inspect-It 1st, our experts provide you with a thorough, honest inspection so you have all the information you need about the property. Get in touch with us today!



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7 Home Staging Tips to Sell This Summer

Get your house ready to sell with these 7 home staging tips.Everybody has an opinion about the best time to sell a home. In our opinion, the best time is whenever you are ready. Once you’ve made the decision to sell, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of selling quickly and for the best price. We’ve put together a list of 7 home staging tips to help you sell your home this summer!

  1. Set a good first impression. It’s no secret that first impressions are everything. Catch the eye of potential buyers by keeping the outside of your home clean and maintained.
  2. Ditch the clutter. One of the biggest turn-offs for potential buyers is clutter. When trying to sell, one of the most common home staging tips you hear is to box up anything you can live without for a couple months. Doing so will help keep rooms tidy and appear larger. When rooms are full of stuff, especially personal belongings like photos and memorabilia, it can be difficult for people to visualize their family in the home.
  3. Give the home a deep clean. Set aside a day to clean every nook and cranny in your home. Much of a home’s appeal is in the cleanliness. Throw away all those old newspapers, scrub the floors, and even clean the toilets. If there is a stain or smell, do everything you can to get rid of it! The home should be as fresh and clean as possible.
  4. Style common rooms as neutral as possible. Now that you have cleaned your home, it’s still important for the space to have character. This is where our home staging tips become a bit more fun. It’s best to keep “common” spaces such as the living room, kitchen, and bathroom fairly neutral and functional. A fresh coat of paint can bring life to a room, but make sure not to get too crazy. Neutral tones tend to appeal more to buyers.
  5. Arrange furniture to make rooms appear larger, as long as it makes sense. Furniture tends to get moved around for holidays or activities, but they don’t always get put back in the best spot. Try moving your furniture around to create more open space. Open space gives the illusion of a larger room. However, be careful that the furniture placement makes sense. If your furniture is outdated, or large and bulky, you can rent staging furniture to help boost the appeal.
  6. Style your master bedroom. Style your master bedroom to be gender neutral. This is one of the home staging tips that people often forget. A master bedroom is the homeowners’ sanctuary. It’s best to set a neutral tone, so either gender feels welcome.
  7. Keep pet evidence in check. You love your pet, we know, but evidence of pets in the home can turn away potential buyers. Keep toys in a storage bin when not in use and always clean up after your pet. Also, don’t forget to clean up any waste your furry friend may leave in the yard!

Staging your home to appeal to a variety of potential buyers can make a huge difference. With these home staging tips, you will be setting yourself up for a faster sale, and hopefully at your asking price! Before you sell, contact the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. We can make sure your home is ready to sell with an honest inspection!



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Home Buying Checklist

 

Home buying checklist for your next home.A home buying checklist can make a huge difference in your search for a new home. How do you know which house is the right house for you? Once you are preapproved for a home loan, the next step is to create a checklist. A well-thought-out checklist can help you make rational decisions based on your wants, and more importantly, your needs. Here are a few items we recommend you keep in mind when creating your home buying checklist.

  • Location: One of the most important points on any home buying checklist is where your future home will be located. The main factor to keep in mind is where the members of the household will need to commute to, for example, work or school. Other things to note are the city property taxes, crime rates, and school district ratings. Sit down and determine that the area fits your situation best.
  • Layout: Now that you’ve determined the area in which you’d like your next home to be, determine what type of layout is important to you. Do you need all bedrooms on one level, or would you prefer to have a master retreat away from the kids? Would you like an open floor plan, or do you prefer clearly separated rooms? These are important details to note on your home buying checklist.
  • Number and size of rooms: How many people will be living in the home, and do they all need their own bedroom? Is a guest room important for the in-laws, or would you rather they stay at a hotel when they come to town? Make sure you have enough room, without buying more than you need.
  • Bathrooms: There’s very little appeal to a ten bedroom home if there’s only one bathroom. Adding bathrooms later can be expensive, so decide how many you need to live comfortably.
  • Windows: When walking through your potential new home, pay attention to the window size and placement throughout the house. Windows let in natural light and help the space feel more open and inviting.
  • Lot size and grade: Walk around the property and take note of the lot. Keep in mind, a large lot will take more maintenance, but a small lot will often result in close neighbors. Also, to help keep water out of the home, you’ll want the terrain to slope away from the home.
  • Parking: An easy-to-overlook detail is the parking situation. Does the home have a garage? Will you need to park on the street? Depending on the area, this could be a major issue.
  • Heating and cooling systems: Depending on the climate of your location, heating or air conditioning could be essential. Take note on your home buyer checklist of the heating and cooling situation in the home.
  • Laundry room location: Seems like a silly thing to put on the home buyer checklist, right? Well, you’d be surprised how important it is. Would you prefer the laundry room to be in the basement, far away from the bedrooms, or would you prefer it to be on the main living level or even on an upper level?
  • Organize and prioritize: You could spend months, or even years, searching for the dream home in your budget. Taking notes on your home buying checklist regarding what’s most important will help you compromise where needed and make a calculated decision.

Finally, once you’ve found the house that you hope to purchase, set up a home inspection to make sure everything is in good condition. When you’re ready, contact the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. Even if everything looks good to the eye, it’s crucial to let a professional look at every aspect of the home to assure that you are making a good purchase. We’ll set you up with an honest top-to-bottom inspection!



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Tips to Prevent Water Leaks in Your Home

Water leaks from faucet.There’s nothing worse than coming home to a flooded house. Water leaks from inside or outside the home can lead to mold, structural issues, and major repairs if not properly treated in a timely manner. The good news is that there are check-ups you can do on a regular basis to locate water leaks before they become a larger problem. Spring is upon us, and when seasons change you are at higher risk for outside water coming into the home. Here are a few places that we recommend checking for water leaks.

Inside Your Home:

  • Annually check the hoses and connections to all of your appliances that use water. Often you can catch leaks and make affordable repairs when they’re small. If you find small puddles or damp spots on the floor, it’s likely that you have a small leak. We recommend that you isolate the source and make the repair as soon as possible.
  • Regularly check under sinks and around the toilet. One of the most common places for water leaks to begin is in the bathroom. Remember that even if you don’t see a water leak in the bathroom, it may still be dripping to the level below. If you notice a water leak coming from your bathroom at any point, we recommend finding the source and shutting off the water via the shut-off valve as soon as possible. Make the repair while the leak is small.
  • Locate the master water shut-off valve to your home. In the event of a major water leak or pipe burst, knowing how to shut off the water can spare you a major headache caused by an unexpected lake in your basement.

Outside Your Home:

  • Let’s take it from the top. A faulty roof is often a major culprit of unwanted water leaks in the home. Inspect the roof annually by searching for any missing or damaged shingles. If it looks like water could seep through, it can.
  • Get your mind in the gutters. As seasons change, gutters and downspouts tend to get clogged with anything you can imagine. Clean out the gutters a few times per year to assure that they do their job in directing water away from your home.
  • Walk around the perimeter of the home and take note of any cracks that could allow water to seep in. Filling the cracks with a foam sealant can be a huge help in preventing water leaks.

A water leak can be just the beginning of a major problem. Check these items around your home often. If you find water where it shouldn’t be, don’t ignore these first signs of a problem. Find the source of the problem and take care of it right away. Catching leaks early can save you loads of time and money. For a professional and honest assessment, contact the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. One of our qualified inspectors can come to your home and check for water leaks and damage. Take care of your home, and it will take care of you.



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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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