Spotting Termites

Termites and other pest can cause expensive damage. Here's what to look for: sawdust-like accumulations of frass indicate the presence of termites. An exterminator can spray or set traps to eliminate the infestation. A clean hole without cobwebs or leaves indicates an access hole for rodents. An exterminator can set a trap for them, too.
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Strong Roofs

How you put the roof together is just as important as the materials you use. When framing and sheathing the roof, for example, how many nails you use and where you put them may determine how well your roof stays in place. Fasten your roof incorrectly and it may blow away in a high wind or collapse under a heavy snow load. The same applies to the roof covering itself. Whether you install asphalt shingles, wood shakes, slate, tile, or a low-slope membrane roof, the fastening details can make the difference between success and failure. Roofing details such as underlayment, flashing, and edge detailing must all be accomplished with care for your roof job to succeed. You must also be aware of underlying structure. Heavy materials like slate and tile need a beefier frame under them than lighter products such as asphalt shingles or sheet metal; so, be sure to have the supporting structure evaluated before reroofing.
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Tool Purpose

Don't use a tool for anything other than its intended purpose. Using a wrench as a hammer may seem like a quick fix, but it may cause damage to the tool, the project, and possibly yourself. Remember, always use the right tool for the job.
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Workshop Ventilation

Make sure that you have an adequate way to remove dust and fumes from your workshop. If your workshop has two windows that face each other, open one and put a fan that blows outward in the other. If not, an exhaust fan should be installed.
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Home Walk Through

In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, consider the following: Is there enough room for both the present and the future? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Is the house structurally sound? Do the mechanical systems and appliances work? Is the yard big enough? Do you like the floor plan? Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these qusetions) Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items? Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year? Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint. Using a scorecard to keep track of the homes you see is a great way to keep organized.
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Earnest Money

Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you must forfeit the entire amount.
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Escrow Account

Established by your lender, an escrow account is a place to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for homeowner's insurance, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes. Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments. If you use an escrow account to pay property taxes or homeowner's insurance, make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender's responsibility to make those payments.
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Final Walk-Through

This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture, giving you a clear view of everything. Check the walls and ceilings carefully, as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection. Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller's responsibility to fix them.
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