US Inspect is a recently-launched online resource for homeowners, home buyers and home sellers.
Called the Agent Resource Center (ARC), the site is targeted at real estate agents but contains information that is useful to anyone who owns a home or is looking to buy a home.
With suggestions on everything from spring landscaping to preparing your final walk-through, a homeowner can find many useful tidbits to get a home ready to sell or advice on short sales and home inspections.
A recent survey done by the American Society of Home Inspectors reports that, in the minds of home owners, home inspections are as important today as they ever were. The findings of the report include the following:
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. homeowners surveyed believe home inspections to be a necessity, not a luxury.
72 percent of homeowners believe their home inspection helped them avoid potential problems.
64 percent of homeowners acknowledged that, in the long run, their home inspection saved them money.
Although it is clear that homeowner recognition of the benefits of a home inspection are high, their understanding of what is included in a home inspection is lacking, according to the findings. Many assume that home components like septic, electrical and plumbing are included in a standard home inspection, when commonly they are not.
For a complete list of what is included in a home inspection, go to the ASHI website.
Another interesting aspect of the finding? The majority of homeowners surveyed believed a home inspector has to be certified, when in fact this is not the case. A wise homeowner will do some homework before hiring someone for this important task.
As the boomer generation starts handing down some of their antiques to their children and grandchildren, it would be wise to insure these collectibles are safe. Whether it's lead paint on a dresser or chair or wobbly legs on that high boy, these items can be dangerous to you or your children if you are not vigilant. One of the most commonly overlooked items which often gets handed down are cedar or "hope" chests. They seem to last forever as they are not pieces of furniture that are used every day. Often, they have locking mechanisms that automatically lock when the tops shut or fall into place. These can be extremely dangerous for young children playing hide and seek. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPC) issued a warning in 1996 but it never hurts to revisit safety items whenever you receive a new item in your home. This rule of thumb also goes for older electrical items such as lamps that could have frayed wires and cause a fire or even other decorative items that have small pieces. Remember to always accept the items gracefully so as not to offend your relatives but ensure your children’s safety by updating or upgrading the finish, the wiring, the hardware or the stability of these gifts.
While the home improvement business is slowing down, plenty of contractors are finding work fixing abandoned homes, according to this story in The New York Times. Foreclosures are booming across the nation, but it is a process that, once underway, often takes years to conclude. And the longer a property sits vacant, the more wear and tear it endures from vandals and nature. Abandoned properties can also draw drug users and criminal gangs to an area. As a result, mortgage companies are under fire from state and local governments to maintain vacant properties, providing a booming business for some local contractors.
Want to know where your state ranks in the country's best and worst home inspection regulation laws? Host of radio's "The Money Pit," Tom Kraeutler, lists The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) 2007 state rankings in his blog. Here they are, from best to worst:
1. Louisiana 2. New Jersey 3. Arizona 4. Texas 5. Massachusetts 6. Connecticut/North Carolina 8. Arkansas 9. Indiana 10. Rhode Island/West Virginia 12. South Dakota/Tennessee 14. Mississippi 15. Virginia 16. Wisconsin 17. Oklahoma 18. Kentucky 19. Alaska/Illinois 21. Alabama/Oregon/New York 24. Maryland 25. Nevada 26. Florida 27. Pennsylvania 28. South Carolina 29. Montana 30. North Dakota 31. Georgia 32. California
Wondering why all 50 states aren't on the list? The ones that aren't have NO license requirement.
One of our very favorite fix-it guys has hit the stands with another volume worth buying— Dan Ramsey's The Home Owner's Manual is out and available for purchase. This book is new to the shelves as of March 2006 and features tips, drawings, and solutions for just about any pesky problem homeowners might encounter. Starting with the inspection, offer, and move, Ramsey looks at questions and concerns that plague all homeowners— new and seasoned alike. Want to know how to clean your water heater? Find the leak that's streaking across your ceiling? Take care of your foundation? This is the reference book you'll want to keep handy. Are we biased? Yup. Dan's been sharing his fix-it expertise in our Fix-It Club for a couple of years now. Check it out. We're guessing this is the manual they forgot to hand you at the closing.