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What a Home Inspection “Is” and “Is Not”

contract

For most of us, we buy a home maybe twice in a lifetime.  As with most experiences in life, if you only do it a couple of times, you are not well versed in the process; you are a novice.

I think this is one of the many factors that can make purchasing a home so stressful.  There are so many questions to ask and so many documents to read and sign.

This article is about a document most people sign but never really read (kinda like the apple update agreement – have you ever tried to read that one?):  the Home Inspection Agreement.  Fortunately, the Home Inspection Agreement is not anywhere near as scary or intimidating but there are a few points that are worth emphasizing.  These are points I prefer to share with my clients and their REALTOR (if they have one) at the beginning of each inspection.  It really helps to make clear what it is exactly that we are doing, and conversely, what we are not doing.

So here are the main points:

  • We are there to perform a single visit, visual inspection of the home on a specific date/time that is merely a snapshot in time of the condition of the structure.  We will inspect only the parts of the home that are visually accessible.  We cannot move furniture/storage, and we cannot see through walls (unless you pay extra for a Thermal Imaging inspection) or under slabs of concrete.
  • We choose to perform our inspections in accordance with the current Standards of Practice of the State of Oklahoma and the lnternational Association of Certified Home lnspectors (InterNACHi).
  • We will not test for the presence of environmental hazards such as mold nor radon (a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that may be harmful to humans).
  • We assume no warranty, guarantee, nor liability for the cost of repair or replacement of unreported defects or deficiencies either current or arising in the future.
  • We do not perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, or any other job function requiring an occupational license in the jurisdiction where the property is located.

One of the perks I offer as a home inspector (most inspectors in my area do not) is a 90 Day Buy Back Guarantee.  This offers the perspective home buyer a little extra piece of mind.  In regards to this perk, the buyer needs to understand:

  • Under the “We’ll Buy Your Home Back” program, lnterNACHl purchases the home, not the home inspector; the Home Inspector has no obligation to purchase the home under this program.

One additional feature in my contract is for any REALTOR associated with the transaction.  It states:

  • the signee agrees to “hold harmless” any and all real estate agents involved in the purchase of the property to be inspected and keep them exonerated from all loss, damage, liability or expense.

The bottom line is, as an ethical & licensed professional business person, home inspectors try to catch as many defects and safety concerns in a home as possible in the limited amount of time that we have to do so.  We want you to know what you are buying and, to the best of our ability, assure you and your family that you can live there as safely as possible.  Will we catch everything that is wrong with your home?  Probably not.  But, you will have a report that provides you with a very focused picture, or snap shot in time, of your perspective home.

When you compare the price of the home inspection to the cost of the home, it’s a bargain.

Click on the following link for a list of the aspects of a home that are inspected by InterNACHI certified home inspectors.

https://www.nachi.org/SOP.htm?loadbetadesign=0

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

 

 

 

 

The 10 Best Places to Hide Valuables in Your Home

burglary

Burglary is a crime of opportunity.  And burglars don’t want to spend a lot of time looking through a home to find things of value to steal, which is why there are obvious locations that they always check.  That means that there are ways to outsmart them by hiding your valuables in not-so-obvious places, and sometimes even in plain sight.

Depending on the size and type of item, the best places to hide valuables are those that burglars don’t want to search through or wouldn’t bother with, including places that are inconvenient or difficult to search, messy, or uninteresting.

Here Are the Top 10:

  1. hollowed-out books.  Criminals tend to be uneducated, which is why they’ve turned to crime to  make their living.  They’re practically allergic to books!  But if you have only a couple of books on a bookshelf, this may be a clue that they’re actually hiding places for your valuables, so make sure your library is large enough to serve as a tedious place to search.
  2. a false VHS tape or VHS carton.  Who watches VHS tapes anymore?  Again, follow the rules above for books.  A few can be a clue, but many can be a time-consuming distraction.
  3. false containers in the kitchen cupboard, under the sink, and in the bathroom, such as fake food cans and boxes, false cleaning product bottles, and personal hygiene items, and even in a heavy tub of “cat litter.”  Some false containers available on the market today actually look like false containers, so you might want to save yourself the expense and create your own.
  4. in the false bottom or under the plastic liner of a bathroom or kitchen trash can.  No one wants to go pawing through your trash in the slim hope of finding something worth pawning.
  5. wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil and stored in the back of the freezer.  This is also a good place to store documents and paper currency in case of a house fire.
  6. in a floor safe in the bedroom closet.  While this location may be obvious, a burglar would have to exert a lot of time and energy—and create a lot of noise—trying to break into a floor safe, which is also generally of the heavy variety, making it not only hard to open, but hard to steal whole, if the thief had plans to break into it later.
  7. inside a house plant.  Using the same method as for trash containers, a plant’s soil can be contained in a waterproof liner that can be lifted up to hide items underneath.  Just make sure the items you’re hiding are in a waterproof container, too.
  8. inside a false wall outlet.  Make sure it’s not a live receptacle or in the way of any electrical wiring.
  9. within hollowed-out/removable building components, such as wainscoting, floor panels, door jambs, window sills, and cabinet doors.
  10. in the garage inside boxes marked with mundane labels, such as “Xmas Ornaments,” “Kid’s Clothes,” “School Projects,” etc.  Again, the more boxes you have, the longer the burglar will have to search—if he’s so inclined—to find something worth stealing.

Hiding Places to Avoid:

  1. areas that can damage your valuables with water or invasive matter, such as the water tank of a toilet, inside a mayonnaise jar that still has mayonnaise in it, or a paint can filled with paint.  There are high-quality waterproof containers on the market that will allow you to hide items in water (and possibly other places), but err on the side of caution.  Documents, jewelry and electronics that become wet or permeated with chemicals or food matter may be damaged beyond repair in your zeal to outsmart a tenacious burglar.
  2. a jewelry box.  This is a good place to store jewelry that you can afford to lose, but not your diamond tennis bracelet or your grandmother’s antique wedding ring.
  3. your desk drawer, bedside drawer, or underwear drawer.  Too obvious.
  4. inside CD cases.  It’s true:  burglars still prefer CDs to MP3s.
  5. inside DVD cases.  DVDs and Xbox-type games are worth between $2 and $10 at pawn and re-sale shops; count on being cleaned out of your collection during a home burglary, regardless of the titles.
  6. a wall safe.  Unless it’s high-end and professionally installed, a wall safe can be dislodged by cutting the drywall seam around it, and wall safes are typically small and light enough to easily transport off site to be opened later.  Opt for the heavier and harder-to-access floor safe.
  7. inside picture frames with false backs/interiors.  These tend to be thicker than typical picture frames, so they’re easy to spot as a hiding place.
  8. a cookie jar.  Put cookies in it, not your grocery money.
  9. an electrical item or heated area, such as a lamp base, toaster oven, or HVAC duct.  You could accidentally ignite your valuables and put your entire home at risk for a house fire.
  10. any locked box or locking file cabinet.  A box that has a lock on it will be stolen regardless of what’s inside, and the lock on a file cabinet can be popped out with the right tool and a little effort.

Other Precautions

For valuables that you can’t hide or lock up, such as a flat-screen TV, stereo system, and computers, make sure they’re insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  Unless you invest in a home security system (and sometimes even if you do), it’s not possible to protect every item in your home.  But you can take precautions to password-protect and GPS-activate laptops and smartphones so that their recovery is more likely, should they be stolen.

Also, firearms should be properly locked in an approved gun safe that is stored out of reach for the safety of the home’s occupants, as well as to deter theft.

Place a pole in the bottom track of your sliding glass patio doors so that they can’t be forced open wide enough to permit the entry of an intruder.  Install burglar-proof window locks that will allow you to leave your windows open slightly for fresh air, but not wide enough to allow a person to get through.

Remember that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so don’t tempt fate by leaving any exterior doors unlocked (including sliding glass patio doors, and the door between the garage and the living area), hiding a spare house key outdoors (under the “Welcome” mat, a large potted plant, statuary, or a solitary or fake rock), leaving the doors to your attached garage open (even when you’re home), or leaving the curtains or drapes open so that your valuables are in full view of prowlers and passersby.  Your personal safety is at risk as much as your personal property.

Also, don’t over-share personal information with the world by advertising your absence from home on social media.  When leaving on vacation, have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member monitor your home and bring in the newspaper, mail, and random take-out menus hung on your doorknob.  Install light timers indoors and security/motion detectors outdoors to illuminate your property’s exterior.  And go ahead and apply security company stickers to your windows/doors that advertise that your home is professionally protected, even if it’s not.

In short, do what you can to make your home a difficult, inconvenient and time-consuming target that will force a would-be burglar to move on.  And do your part to keep your neighborhood safe by reporting suspicious activity on your street to the police.

Article written by by Nick Gromicko and Kate Tarasenko

Source:  Nachi.org

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

http://www.home-runinspections.com/

Electrical Panel Safety

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Electrical Panel Safety

All homeowners should know where their electrical panel is located. When you open the door to it, you should find breakers that are labeled which correspond to the different rooms or areas of the home. Breakers will sometimes trip due to a power surge or outage, and the homeowner can flip the switch to reactivate the current to the particular room or area. Behind the breakers is the dead front, and it is this electrical component that should be removed only by a qualified electrician or inspector.

Before touching the electrical panel to re-set a breaker, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have an escape path? Make sure that you know where you can safely turn or step if you must escape a dangerous surprise, such a bee or a spark. An unfortunately placed shovel or extension cord, for instance, can turn a quick jerk into a dangerous fall.
Is the floor wet? Never touch any electrical equipment while standing on a wet surface!
Does the panel appear to be wet? Check overhead for dripping water that may have condensed on a cold water pipe.
Is the panel rusty? Rust is an indication of previous wet conditions that may still exist.
Are there scorch marks on the panel door? This can indicate a past or very recent arc, and further investigation should be deferred to a licensed electrician.
Here is a list of defective conditions that a homeowner may see that may be called out during an electrical inspection:
insufficient clearance. According to the 2008 National Electrical Code, most residential electrical panels require at least a 3-foot clearance or working space in front, 30 inches of width, and a minimum headroom clearance of 6 feet, or the height of the equipment, whichever is greater.
sharp-tipped panel box screws. Panel box cover screws must have blunt ends so they do not pierce the wires inside the box.
circuit breakers that are not properly sized.
oxidation or corrosion to any of the parts. Oxidized or corroded wires will increase the resistance of conductors and create the potential for arcing.
damage caused by rodents. Rodents have been known to chew through wire insulation in electrical panels (and other areas), creating an unsafe condition. Rodents have been electrocuted this way, leaving an unsightly mess inside the panel.
evidence of electrical failures, such as burned or overheated components.
evidence of water entry inside the electrical panel. Moisture can corrode circuit breakers so that they won’t trip, make connections less reliable and the equipment unsafe to touch.
a panel manufactured by Zinsco or Federal Pacific Electric (FPE). These panels have a reputation for being problematic, and further evaluation by a qualified electrician is recommended.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

http://www.home-runinspections.com/

 

Fire Safety for the Home

FireSafety

Fire Safety for the Home

The National Fire Protection Association’s fire prevention program promotes the following eight tips that people of all ages and abilities can use to keep family members safe, especially during the threat of a house fire.

  1. Plan and practice your escape from fire.
    We’ve heard this advice before, but you can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is. Panic and fear can spread as quickly as a fire, so map out an escape route and a meeting place outdoors, and involve even the youngest family members so that everyone can work as a unit to make a safe escape. If you live in a condo or apartment building, make sure you read the signs posted on your floor advising you of the locations of stairways and other exits, as well as alarm pull stations and fire extinguishers.
  2. Plan your escape around your abilities.
    Keeping a phone by your bedside will allow you to call 911 quickly, especially if the exits of your home are blocked by smoke or flames. Keep a pair of shoes near your bed, too. If your home or building has a fire escape, take some time to practice operating it and climbing it.
  3. Smoke alarms save lives.
    If you don’t already have permanently installed smoke alarms hard-wired into your electrical system and located outside each bedroom and on each floor, purchase units and place them in those locations. Install them using adhesive or screws, but be careful not to touch your screwdriver to any internal wiring, which can cause an electrostatic discharge and disable them. Also, install carbon monoxide detectors, which can protect family members from lethal poisoning even before a fire starts.
  4. Give space heaters space.
    Whether saving on utility bills by using the furnace infrequently, or when using these portable units for spot heating, make sure you give them at least 3 feet of clearance. Be sure to turn off and unplug them when you leave or go to bed. Electrical appliances draw current even when they’re turned off, and a faulty unit can cause a fire that can spread through the wires in the walls at a deadly pace.
  5. If you smoke, smoke outside.
    Not only will this keep your family members healthier and your home smelling fresher, it will minimize the chance that an errant ember from your cigarette will drop and smolder unnoticed until it causes damage.
  6. Be kitchen-wise.
    This means monitoring what you have on the stove and keeping track of what’s baking in the oven. Don’t cook if you’re tired or taking medication that clouds your judgment or makes you drowsy. Being kitchen-wise also means wearing clothing that will not easily catch on the handles of pots and pans, or graze open flames or heating elements. It also means knowing how to put out a grease fire: water will make it spread, but salt or baking soda will extinguish it quickly, as will covering the pot or pan with a lid and turning off the stove. Always use your cooktop’s vent fan while cooking. Also, keep a small, all-purpose fire extinguisher in a handy place, such as under the sink. These 3-pound lifesavers are rated “ABC” for their fire-suppressing contents. Read the instructions on these inexpensive devices when you bring them home from the store so that you can act quickly, if the time comes.
  7. Stop, drop and roll.
    Fight the urge to panic and run if your clothes catch fire because this will only accelerate its spread, since fire needs oxygen to sustain and grow. Tamping out the fire by rolling is effective, especially since your clothes may be on fire on your back or lower body where you may not be immediately aware of it. If ground space is limited, cover yourself with a blanket to tamp out any flames, and douse yourself with water as soon as you can. Additionally, always stay close to the floor during a fire; heat and smoke rise, and breathable air will normally be found at the floor-level, giving you a greater chance of escape before being overcome by smoke and toxic fumes.
  8. Know your local emergency number.
    People of all ages need to know their emergency number (usually, it’s 911). Posting it near the phone and putting it on speed-dial will save precious moments when the ability to think clearly may be compromised.
    Keep your family safe by following these simple tips!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

http://www.home-runinspections.com/

Buy Back Guarantee

Buy_Back_Guarantee copy

If your participating inspector misses anything, we’ll buy your home back.

Honored for 90 days after closing.

  • Valid for home inspections performed for home buyers by participating InterNACHI members.
  • We’ll pay you whatever price you paid for the home.
  • The home must be listed with a licensed real estate agent.
  • Excludes homes with material defects not present at the time of the inspection, or not required to be inspected per InterNACHI’s Residential Standards of Practice.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-Runinspections.com
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/HomeRuninspect2