Seaside Home Inspection

Serving Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Southeastern Massachusetts

Asbestos Abatement

Although asbestos isn’t banned in the U.S., its use is limited. However, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) still pose a danger to the public because they were common building products in homes, schools and other structures built before the 1980s.

Asbestos abatement involves the identification, removal, repair and encapsulation of materials or products in a structure to eliminate the threat of exposure to toxic asbestos fibers. It’s best handled by a professional asbestos abatement company.

Hiring an asbestos removal company, and not doing it yourself, is the wisest and safest decision when it comes to removing asbestos from any residential, commercial or public building. Asbestos abatement companies will properly test for the toxic mineral, follow strict regulations and processes, and carry the right abatement removal equipment to keep them, others and you safe from exposure.

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How to Sell Your Home: 10 Tips & Tricks

Duane

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

And remember….to get a pre-inspection by Seaside Home Inspection so you can take care of any repairs and address safety issues before your house is listed!

The Holidays are Here!

Seaside Home Inspection Holiday Lights

The Holiday Season is Upon Us…
When decorating your home it’s important to remember to check those old light display wires before flipping the switch and turning them on. They may be frayed and could be an electrical fire hazard…the same goes for the indoor Christmas tree.  Always check the light strands for signs of wear-and-tear from being stored all year.
Hang outdoor lights so that you keep the electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters.  You can buy some insulated tape or plastic clips to keep the lights in place.
If you buy new electrical decorations, light strings or extension cords, be sure to look for the certification mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure that the products comply with applicable standards for safety and performance.
If you are a real Christmas tree lover, make sure to keep it watered since dry trees can catch fire much easier.  When the New Year arrives check with your local town on how and where to dispose of the tree.
Happy Holidays and wishes for a wonderful New Year from Seaside Home Inspection!

Helpful information for Homeowners – Licensed Cape Cod Home Inspector – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

What Are Those Black Marks On My Roof!?

roof

What Are Those Black Marks On My Roof!?

Does your roof have black streaks running down it?  When I’m conducting home inspections on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, I frequently see what looks like ink which spilled on the roof and ran down towards the gutters.  Some homes only have a few streaks, and others looks like the roofs were painted black.
So what is this phenomenon? Has something changed in the shingle manufacturing process?  The black marks you see are what we call roof algae or gloeocapsa magma and it travels with the wind and tends to collect on north facing roofs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.  Gloeocapsa Magma has become more of a problem in the last few decades because shingle-makers now use limestone filler in the manufacturing process, which is food for this destructive algae.   These black streaks are roof stains and it means that your shingles are being eaten, which can result in a shortened lifespan for your expensive roof.  This algae can affect your roof’s reflective properties that will inevitably end up costing you more in energy bills as the algae grows and covers the roof’s surface.   There are roofing manufactures that now make an algae resistant (AR shingle) so when your roof needs to be replaced this is the shingle to choose.
How do I get rid of it? There are several local roof cleaning companies that can remove the algae with a chemical cleaner.  Remember to avoid the high pressure washers as this may cause more damage to your roof.

Helpful information for Homeowners – Licensed Cape Cod Home Inspector – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

Got Rain?

Seaside Got Rain

GOT RAIN? 

Then take a look at your gutters….

The gutter and downspout system is one of the most important, yet most neglected systems of your home!  The purpose of a gutter and downspout system is to help control the flow of rainwater from your roof to the ground to prevent rain damage to the exterior of your home. Gutters and downspouts also keep insects and moisture from entering your basement or crawlspaces, they protect your landscaping from eroding, and they help guard your foundation from damage.

For that reason, it’s important to keep your gutters in good repair and free from leaves and other debris that interrupt the intended disposition of excess rain water and melted snow which may cause water to leak into your attic or between siding layers of your home.  Having lived on Cape Cod for over 25 years and conducting home inspections on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard  I see damage caused by faulty gutters from: ice, snow, tree limbs, and squirrels.

The best time to check your gutters for damage is during the spring and fall before the snow flies. Either wait for a rain shower and circle your home watching where the flow is correct versus where the flow is stopped up or diverted by leaves and debris, or you can simply spray water on your roof, letting water cascade down to your gutters and then looking for leaks and other problems.

Seaside Home Inspection nailed gutter

If your gutters pull away from their mounting it may be as easy as hammering loose nails back into place.   You may need to pull a nail and start a new hole.  To plug the old nail holes, buy a tube of roofing cement and a “patch” of the same gutter material that is much larger than the hole itself. Simply clean the area, and use the roofing cement to connect the two pieces of material, which will solve the problem.

Keeping your gutters cleaned out and flowing properly can help to avoid problems with your foundation, wall siding, trim, windows and grading.

Helpful information for Homeowners – Licensed Cape Cod Home Inspector – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

Have You Tested Your Home for Radon?

If you’re buying a home in Massachusetts or live in a home that has never been tested, you should have a radon test done. While there are no requirements for radon testing in Massachusetts, the EPA recommends that all homes get tested for radon, regardless of where they are located in the state.

radon cape cod home inspection seaside

What is RADON? 

Radon is a cancer causing, radioactive gas. You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.  Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year.  Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates, so it’s important to get the home tested to determine whether you need to take steps to reduce the levels of radon in the home.  A radon test can be administered alone or in conjunction with your Cape Cod home inspection to detect and analyze the levels of radon in your home.
For the remainder of 2014, Seaside Home Inspection will offer a free radon test with your home inspection on Cape Cod! Certified Radon Residential Measurement Provider #NRPP ID107480RT
Learn more about the facts and dangers of elevated radon levels in your home by visiting EPA Radon Info

Helpful information for Homeowners – Licensed Cape Cod Home Inspector – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

Five Simple Ways to Winterize Your Home

snowflakes

Five Simple Ways to Winterize Your Home

Once cold air moves in, it doesn’t take long for heating costs to skyrocket and with cold weather around the corner, it is time to prepare and winterize your home. It’s never too early to start, especially as the best time to winterize is when the temperature is above 50 degrees.

There are many quick and easy things you can do to help conserve time, energy and money this winter.

Below are five simple ways to winterize your home.

Step 1 Fall Cleanup - Leaves in Gutter
Prepare for freezing temperatures.
• Clean off debris from the roof, gutters and replace loose shingles.
• Ice and snow can weigh down branches, so be sure to remove any that are hanging too close to the house.
• In addition, pipes can freeze in extremely cold weather, which can cause them to rupture. Use an insulating pipe wrap on pipes to keep them functioning in freezing temperatures.

Step 2 door drafts
Perform draft tests.
• Drafts can enter a house at a variety of locations. Performing a few simple tests to determine where drafts are entering the home can make a big difference. If a thin piece of cardboard can fit underneath a closed door, heat may be escaping, costing you money.
• To identify trouble spots, wet your finger and move it along the area in question to feel for drafts, or shine a bright flashlight around these areas to see if light shines through.
• Check wall joints, light fixtures, electrical outlets, window and door frames to interior walls, attic doors and ceilings, and plumbing penetrations.

Step 3  mbm_weatherstripping1
Seal off air leaks.
• Installing additional insulation or window replacements to conserve energy can prove to be expensive and time-consuming.
• For a quick fix, use weather-stripping to fill gaps and minimize air infiltration.

Step 4 change-your-home-air-filter
Check your heating system.
• Have a routine check done by a heating professional before the cold weather sets in.
• Vacuum vents and replace furnace filters if needed.
• If you use a fireplace as an alternative heating method, be sure to have it inspected and cleaned for proper efficiency or unsafe conditions.

Step 5 window
Insulate windows. Check windows and doors for drafts and efficiency.
• Unknowingly, about 30 percent of a home’s heat escapes through small cracks and holes around windows and under doors. This can translate into a 50-75 percent increase in fuel bills.
• One inexpensive and effective way to insulate is a roll-on window insulation kit, which is easy to install and covers your windows with a transparent film to help keep warm air inside and cold air out. Try window kits, they fit to a variety of window sizes and require no measuring and minimal cutting.

Once the temperatures start dropping, you’ll be glad you performed these quick and easy procedures to help winterize your home. Not only will you save time and money, but your house will feel more comfortable, as well.

Helpful information for Homeowners – Cape Cod Home Inspector – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

Is There a Hidden Fire Hazard in Your Home?

clogged_dryer_vent

Estimates put the number of house fires that can be attributed to lint accumulation in clothes dryers at over 15,000 per year. The flexible ducts made of vinyl or foil present the greatest risk, because both the interior ridges created by the ducts accordion design and the ducts propensity of sagging when not installed properly create greater resistance to air flow. The slower air flow causes lint to get caught inside the duct both on the interior ridges and in any low spots caused by the sagging duct. Over time as lint continues to accumulate the air flow is reduced further to a point where the hot air exhausted through the duct is moving so slow that it raises the temperature high enough in the duct to ignite the accumulated lint.

If your home has flexible vinyl or foil duct replacing it with either a rigid or semi rigid metal duct is a safer alternative. The metal ducts properly installed, not only stay cleaner, but if a fire does start a metal duct may contain the fire.

A clean lint screen and a clean exhaust duct will not only reduce the risk of fire, but will also allow the clothes dryer to operate more efficiently and lower your electric bills.

Dryer-Duct-reduced  dryer images

All exhaust ducts on clothes washers should be cleaned regularly…so add it to your yearly maintenance list.

Helpful information for Homeowners -Cape Cod Home Inspector  – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

Do You Know What Time It Is?

change-your-home-air-filter

It’s Time to Change Your Filter!

What Needs To Be Done:

The HVAC system heats your home during the cold winter months and keeps your home cool in the sweltering summer. Regularly changing the HVAC air filter is critical for its long life.

Why Do It?

The air filter keeps pollution and debris out of your HVAC system, ensuring proper and efficient operation. A dirty filter will slow down the air flow, making both the furnace work harder to heat your home and your AC work harder to cool it. This wastes energy and can result in higher energy bills.

How Often?

According to Energystar.gov, the filters on your home system likely need to be changed either once a month or once every three months, depending on the type you’re using. You should check the product information on the filters for the manufacturer’s suggested frequency of change.

Depending on where you live, the time of year, and how much you’re using your AC or furnace, you may end up having to change your air filter more frequently. For instance, during a steamy summer when you’re running your system constantly, you may end up having to change the filter more often than if the weather is nice and you’re relying on open windows.

Helpful information for Homeowners – Cape Cod Home Inspector  – Scott Hunt – SEASIDE HOME INSPECTION offering home inspections on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Southeastern Massachusetts

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