Let the Summer Sales Season Begin
As we welcome in warmer weather and anticipate a hotter real estate market, your friends at A-Pro Home Inspection want you to know that we’re here whenever you or your clients need us for a world-class home inspection.
In our latest issue of From the Rafters, we’ve included a few good reasons to convince your selling clients that having a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection is a cost-effective, win-win proposition for all parties involved. There’s also a rundown of some common heat-related problems that often end up on home inspection reports. And we dive into the deep end to answer a question about inspecting swimming pools and spas.
On the lighter side, we’ve once again shared a few fun summer facts to use at your next open house. You won’t believe how many gallons of water it takes to fill the world’s largest swimming pool!
We sincerely thank you for recommending A-Pro Home Inspection to your clients. We remain as dedicated as ever to providing comprehensive home inspection services delivered with the highest degree of skill and integrity. Let’s make it a great summer together!
Founder and President, A-Pro Home Inspection
Home-Seller Fixes that Don’t Cost a Fortune
Homeowners who decide to hire a professional to perform a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection prior to listing have a significant advantage over competing sellers in the market. Why? Not only does this pro-active approach show the seller’s transparency about the property (a confidence-builder for careful potential buyers), but such an inspection allows the seller to learn about problem areas that can be fixed before the first open house.
Of course, some of these problems may be unpleasant and costly, such as the need to replace a furnace or a roof. But making a big difference in the condition of a home doesn’t always have to put an atomic hit on your clients’ wallets.
You can encourage your sellers to get a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection by explaining that many issues that end up on the report can be remedied at a relatively small cost. When showing the home, these upgrades can be highlighted, further enhancing the appeal of the listing and knocking down possible buyer objections and price-negotiation stumbling blocks on the road to closing. Here are a few cost-effective repairs courtesy of your friends at A-Pro Home Inspection:
Lot Grading: Improper grading around a home is an often overlooked villain when it comes to foundational damage, basement flooding, and mold growth. When the slope of the ground directs rain toward the base of the home (“negative” grade), water pooling around the foundation can accelerate deterioration. In most cases, changing the grade to “positive” by adding soil to create a proper slope is a relatively inexpensive and easy job. Further, soil can be added or removed to remedy conditions in which grading next to the foundation is too high or low.
Junction Boxes: An exposed junction box presents a fire and shock hazard that will certainly be noted by the home inspector. The good news: Junction box covers are readily available online or at your local home improvement store, don’t cost much, and are easy to install.
Tightening Fasteners/Applying Caulk: Oftentimes, annoyances such as loose door handles, unstable cabinet doors, and bathroom fixture issues can be resolved with a screwdriver and some elbow grease. The same goes for fixing missing or cracked seals around fixtures and windows, in which a caulking gun and some effort will be enough to get the done.
Gutter Cleaning/Fixing Downspouts: There’s no point in having a gutter system if it’s clogged with debris, allowing water to cascade over the edge toward the home’s foundation. Even when the gutters are clean and rainwater flows freely, downspouts with missing or crushed extensions (perhaps from a vehicle driving over them) aren’t doing your home’s foundation any favors. Replacing or adding extensions is a simple fix for even the least handy homeowner.
Roof Repairs: Not all roof leaks are cause for major panic if you’re selling a home. A home inspector will point out minor issues (that could become serious if not addressed) such as unsealed or damaged pipe boots or simple flashing fixes.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): The inspector will note the absence of GFCIs in dampness-prone spots as recommended by the National Electrical Code (kitchens, laundry facilities, utility rooms, crawlspaces, bathrooms, pool/spa areas, exterior outlets, garages, unfinished basements). Costs will vary if you need to hire an electrician, which is highly recommended unless you really know what you’re doing around an electrical outlet.
Vegetation: If the inspector notes tree limbs overhanging the roof or a large decaying tree close to the house that needs removal, you may be looking at a more significant cash outlay if a professional needs to be called in. However, trimming back or removing moisture-retaining shrubs that are in contact with the building (a problem that can lead to structural damage, mold growth, and insect issues) may be accomplished at little cost.
Also on the not-too-expensive repair list are fixing minor plumbing leaks, making small electrical repairs, and replacement of dirty furnace filters.
In a perfect world, all essential repairs would be easy on the budget, but as professionals doing our best to serve our clients, we understand the importance of identifying major problems as well (e.g., a collapsed main sewer line found during a Sewer Scope Inspection). Uncovering significant defects before the buying/selling process goes too far is another vitally important reason to recommend a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection.
Ask your local A-Pro Home Inspection team about Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspections for sellers in Austin. To schedule one, call 423-273-5950 or click here to schedule an inspection.
Four Ways Heat Can Damage a Home
In past blogs and newsletters, the home inspectors at A-Pro have talked extensively about the destructive nature of water and the importance of being vigilant to thwart this major foe. In honor of the summer, we’ll be looking at another enemy that can cause serious damage to both the interior and exterior of a home—heat and exposure to UV rays. During countless 500-point top-to-bottom inspections performed over 27 years, A-Pro has reported on numerous heat-related problems, from the foundation up. Let’s start at the top:
Shingles: Excessive heat can significantly cut short the lifespan of shingles, particularly those composed of asphalt. Heat damage to asphalt shingles includes shrinkage, curling, cupping, blistering, balding, deteriorating, and cracking, all of which can lead to water leaking into the house. Shrinkage can cause nails to pop, making the covering vulnerable to wind lift. Darker roofing materials are more prone to absorb heat, baking shingles and diminishing their useful life. Poorly vented roof structures and attics that fail to properly exhaust heat to the outside are particularly problematic for asphalt shingles and black underlayment. Additionally, heat is known to cause cracks in plastic flashing.
Other factors that accelerate heat-related roof damage include lower-angled slopes that expose more of the roof to the sun, thermal shock caused by frequent expansion and contraction from temperature variations, and excessive heat combined with high humidity. Hot and humid attics can cause other issues as well, such as deterioration of insulation.
Vinyl Siding: One of the most popular of all exterior claddings, vinyl siding is not immune to extreme weather conditions, including excessive radiant heat. While homeowners who have installed vinyl siding may not have to worry about color fading and corrosion, other conditions such as buckling, rippling, bending, and warping can occur due to intense sun exposure or even reflected sun. An experienced home inspector may be able to find evidence that heat is the likely culprit when such damage is present.
There are a number of factors that may cause heat to affect a home’s vinyl siding while leaving a nearby property unscathed. These include the shape of the building, age of siding, installation angle, orientation of walls, type of backing, coating and color, and underlayment properties, which may either promote absorption or reflection of heat.
Sealants: Excessive heat is no friend of sealants, which are critical in preventing leaks and moisture penetration throughout a home. While it is difficult for an inspector to entirely lay blame on extreme temperatures for cracked or deteriorated sealing discovered around windows, doors, fixtures, etc., it’s no secret that heat and humidity can expedite sealant damage.
Foundation: Heat combined with dry weather over a period of time can have a serious effect on the soil around a foundation, drying it out and causing it to shrink away from the foundation. This often leads to foundation settling and cracking.
Too much heat may also cause shrinkage and gaps in hardwood floors; cracks in drywall (due to high humidity and temperature swings); development of mold and mildew in vulnerable spots such as crawlspaces; and other issues.
Real Estate Question Corner
I have a client with a swimming pool and spa. Are they included in a traditional home inspection?
At A-Pro Home Inspection, a thorough safety, functionality, and conditional checkup of the swimming pool/spa is not part of our 500-point roof-to-foundation home inspection. However, many of our home inspectors are certified by InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) to perform swimming pool/spa inspections as an added service outside of the regular home inspection.
Per InterNACHI, this inspection entails evaluating a long list of potential issues, including:
- Inadequate fencing, gates, barriers, alarms, and/or other protective devices
- Lack of storage space for equipment
- Cluttered deck areas
- Absence of slip-resistant surfaces leading to the pool
- Failure to adhere to minimum safety standards, such as having decks on all sides of the pool
- All ladders, stanchions, chairs, rails, treads, plates, and other deck equipment that are not tightly secured
- Steps, treads, ramps, ledges, and any other protrusions into the pool that are not marked with a contrasting color coating or tile on both the top and vertical rise
- Unclean water
- Presence of unpleasant odors and algae growth
- Missing drain covers
- Main drain grates that are not bolted securely to the pool’s bottom
- Presence of regular outlets rather than recommended GFCIs
- Inadequate clearance around pool heater
- Defects in the pool shell
- Damage to diving board
- Bacteriological water analysis not performed on a regular basis
- Dangerous electrical wiring that passes over the pool and spa
- Emergency shut-off switch for the spa is not installed and clearly labeled
- Leaking pipes and fittings
- Numerous other checks and potential problems
FUN FACTS FOR SUMMER 2021
- While we’re on the subject of swimming pools, we thought we’d ask the obvious question: “So where is the world’s largest one and just how big is it?” For our answer, we travel south to San Alfonso Del Mar, a resort in Santiago, Chile. Built in 2006 at a cost of $2 billion, this is definitely not your average backyard venue for neighborhood games of Marco Polo. It’s the size of 16 football fields, as deep as 115 feet in some places, and fed by a rather impressive body of water—namely, the Pacific Ocean, which provides the saltwater lagoon with 66 million gallons of filtered water. If you’re thinking about traveling there to take a dip in the 20-acre behemoth, best to reserve a room at San Alfonso Del Mar since the pool is only accessible to guests of the resort.
- Continuing with this theme, we cast our minds back to those scorching summer days of running through sprinklers and engaging in epic water balloon battles. No matter how great your memories, your efforts in water balloon warfare likely didn’t match what occurred on August 17, 2011, when nearly 9,000 University of Kentucky students pelted each other with 175,141 water balloons, the world’s largest water balloon fight as recorded by Guinness World Records.