10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Want to make 2019 the best year yet? It all starts with a happy home. Putting even one or two of these 10 household New Year’s resolutions into practice can help you create a healthy space for making all your dreams realities.

1. Improve your indoor air quality.

Make clean air a priority in 2019. Poor indoor air quality is a leading cause of respiratory issues, like asthma and allergies. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and general malaise. That’s because indoor air can harbor mold spores, dust, pollen and other nasty stuff you don’t want to be cooped up with all day.

Changing your furnace filter at least once a year can go a long way toward improving indoor air quality. Make sure your ventilation system is up to par, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms. You should also use low-VOC paint and burn real firewood instead of pressed wood logs. This will help keep risky chemicals out of the air for extended periods of time. As an extra measure, portable air cleaners are available to help purify air in single rooms.

2. Declutter, room by room.

The beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate your belongings. What do you actually use? What brings you joy? What feels stale? Since de-cluttering can get overwhelming quickly, and breaking tasks down into manageable chunks is key to achieving big results, it’s best to go room by room. Try designating one room for one weekend day until the job is done.

3. Simplify a chore that stresses you out.

We all have that one chore we dread. Maybe your vacuum just isn’t cutting it anymore, or putting away dishes is way more difficult than it should be because your cabinets are over-stuffed. Give yourself a break and simplify! This might mean hiring outside help, treating yourself to simply figuring out a new approach to organization. Whatever it may be, make your own happiness a priority and tackle it just because it’ll make your day-to-day life easier.

4. Volunteer your time in the neighborhood.

Nothing feels better than giving back to your community. You can do one better by taking on a special task in your neighborhood, like cleaning up a park, founding a community garden or organizing a neighborhood watch group. You’ll make new friends and creating a last positive impact.

5. Take tangible steps toward saving energy.

We’ve talked about saving energy time and time again on the NPI Home blog. If you haven’t taken steps toward energy conservation, the start of the new year is a great time to turn over a new leaf. Here are a few steps you can take this weekend to help:

• Use weather stripping to seal cracks and fix drafty doors and windows
• Switch out traditional lightbulbs for energy-saving lightbulbs
• Insulate your HVAC system’s ductwork
• Be diligent about keep lights off in unused rooms
• Set your thermostat to kick on only when you’re home

6. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

When’s the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? If you can’t remember, the chore is probably past due. Go ahead and do it right away and make a note on your phone calendar or planner of the next date you’ll need new batteries. This way you’ll never miss another change.

7. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy ingredients.

To keep your energy up and feel your best in the coming year, you need to fuel your body with healthy food. Make a point to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks, as well as a few pantry staples that will allow you to throw together a nutritious meal in a snap. For healthy snacks, try string cheese, fresh fruit, nuts and crudités with hummus. For a meal in a pinch, keep black beans, eggs, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta and frozen veggies on hand, plus a protein of your choice. With a basic spice arsenal, these items can be leveraged into stir frys, casseroles and an array of one-pot dishes.

8. Treat yourself to something fresh and new.

If you haven’t updated your space in a hot minute, why not try something new? It doesn’t have to be big or expensive to create a fresh look and feel. You might try:

• Shopping Etsy or your local secondhand shop for a new art print
• Snagging a new houseplant (the easier to care for, the better!)
• Upgrading your sheets—bonus points if you pick a new color palette
• Swapping out your curtains
• Choosing some fun new throw pillows for your couch

9. Create a filing system for important documents.

Unorganized paper piles are Enemy Number One for the dedicated de-clutterer. This is the year you nip those sloppy stacks in the bud once and for all. Whether you opt for a full-blown filing cabinet, a portable accordion folder or a desktop file sorter will depend on your space, needs and budget, but any of these solutions will go a long way toward keeping your important documents organized and easy-to-find. If you’re stuck setting a few hours aside to sort and toss old documents, make sure you take the time to dispose of them the right way. If you have a shredder, you can shred them from the comfort of your own home. Otherwise, you can pay a fee (typically around $1 a pound) at most shipping and office supply stores, or wait for a free community shredding event.

10. Watch your water usage.

Did you know that even though 71% of earth is covered in water, only 0.5% is available for drinking? With rising populations, saving water becomes everyone’s responsibility. Not only will this minimize the effects of droughts, it helps preserve the environment for years and years to come.

If taking long, hot baths or showers is your favorite way to relax, it’s worth it to find a new way to treat yourself. Try a little aromatherapy with a scented candle or essential oils. Yoga and meditation are also great alternatives when you need a little alone time and rejuvenation.

Call National Property Inspections for a full home inspection today.

Our NPI inspectors are professionally trained to assess your home’s major systems and create a comprehensive report of its condition. Call us today.

Home Inspection 101: Inspecting a Home’s Grading

New House + Landscaping_iStock_000002119557Small

An important component of a home inspection that is not always obvious to the home buyer is the grading of the yard. I have seen homes that are meticulously maintained inside but have poor grading, even holes in the yard. Unfortunately, grading is often considered a low priority, but the effects of improper grading can be disastrous.

Rainwater ponding outside, or worse, running toward the house, can wreak havoc. Basements can flood, damaging items in the basement, as well as drywall, carpet and more. Even a slab-on-grade house with no basement is susceptible to water damage, as it could develop mold from water seeping into the walls, and the moisture could attract termites. Furthermore, standing water in cold climates can freeze and damage brick paver decking and other hardscapes.

The ideal grading that the home inspector should look for is for the ground to slope away from the house in all directions a half inch per foot. Other factors besides the slope of the ground can cause problems, including downspouts that disperse water right against the building, instead of directing it away, and vegetation that holds water and keeps it from draining away.

If the property looks like it has drainage problems, then the best way to know for sure is to check during or immediately after a rainstorm. When this is not practical, the inspector could try running a hose in the questionable area.

While the best and most foolproof way to remedy the grading is to build up the ground to slope away from the house in all directions, it’s often just not possible. Small lot sizes, the elevation of the house, where the house transitions from foundation to framed wall, the elevation of the neighbor’s land, existing vegetation, hardscape and accessory buildings, and especially cost are all factors in the equation.

Remedies for improper grading include connecting downspouts to a pipe to direct the roof rainwater further away from the house and French drains, which are basically a trench filled with gravel or perforated pipe that catches the water in the yard and directs it away from the house.

For more information about grading, read our previous post, “What’s Your Grading Grade?

Submitted by Ken Roleke, NPI Franchise Owner, Tucson, Arizona

Home Inspection 101: Electrical Panel Inspection

Wire Box

When you’re buying a house, you want to know it’s safe. One of the main safety concerns is a home’s electrical system. Old wiring, improper outlets and an outdated service panel are problems often found in houses. Although older houses are at more risk for these issues, even newer houses can have electrical problems. This is just one more reason a home inspection is a good idea before you buy your dream home. Your home inspector will check all visible aspects of a home’s electrical system.

Inspection of the electrical panel should be performed only by either a licensed electrician or a trained property inspector — don’t try to inspect the panel yourself. Removal of the outer panel cover, and even removal of the panel-cover screws, poses a potential risk for electrocution. Your home inspector will approach the panel and first use either the back of their hand or a static electrical tester to check whether the service panel is energized — meaning there’s potential risk of electrocution from improperly installed interior panel wiring or the wrong type of screws to hold the panel cover in place.

(Flat-tipped screws should be used to hold the panel cover in place, not pointed-tip screws. The reason for flat-tip screws is that they reduce the risk of potential penetration into the insulation or sheathing that protects the wires inside the panel, which may not have been appropriately placed or safely tucked into the panel.)

Once the inspector removes the panel cover, he or she begins a visual inspection of the interior of the panel box. The inspector checks for and determines the size of the service coming into the house — how much power is coming in from the utility. The following are some other items an inspector checks for:

  • Whether the panel has fuses or circuit breakers
  • Properly sized wires coordinate to appropriately sized breakers
  • Presence of double-taps — when more than one wire is connected to a breaker (unless the equipment is rated for such use)
  • Dark, rusty or smoky residue on the panel
  • Age and wear of the panel
  • Improperly wired subpanels
  • Wires run in a neat and orderly manner
  • Presence of open splices or nicks in wires
  • All connections are tight

A common finding is open knock-outs — holes or knock-outs that wires may have been passed through at one time but which are no longer in use. These holes should be closed or plugged so that in the event of an arc or spark in the panel, the occurrence can be contained within the panel.

If your home inspector finds problems with the electrical panel, he or she will recommend that the panel be evaluated and repaired by a professional electrician. Don’t skip this important step before you purchase a house; your safety depends on it.

Water in My Basement? Never

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No home owner would knowingly do anything that would lead to a wet basement. “Knowingly” being the operative word.

Let’s start with the builder. Hopefully, every builder knows to grade the yard in such a fashion that rainwater will naturally run away from the house on all four sides. If that’s done, then so far so good.

Many home owners like to add flowerbeds next to the house to enhance the beauty of the property (the maintenance of which virtually eliminates any free time they might otherwise have, but that story is for another day). That flowerbed next to the house is now flat, or nearly flat, and won’t necessarily direct rainwater away from the house. Sometimes home owners go one step further and use landscape timbers to wrap or frame the flowerbeds next to the house. Now we have a framed-in, flat space next to the house that rather than shedding rainwater probably traps it. This is not a guarantee that this will lead to a wet basement, but it greatly increases the odds.

Let’s go back to the builder for a moment. I couldn’t find a picture that shows this and was too lazy to keep looking, so please use your imagination. Depending on how the builder ties a sidewalk into a patio or driveway and wraps that sidewalk back toward and close to the house, this trapped space between the sidewalk and house — just like the landscape timbers mentioned previously — can act as a dam that holds water that just might find a way into the basement.

A missing downspout is a common cause for a wet basement. It might be something as simple as the homeowner removed it while mowing the grass and forgot to replace it — and then it rained that night.

How about a wet basement and an optical illusion? My neighbor told me he got water in one corner of his basement every time it rained hard. The gutter and downspout in this corner looked fine, and the grading appeared sufficiently pitched to shed rainwater. However, when I pulled back all the mulch piled up in this corner, I found a significant depression causing negative grading. Rather than shedding rainwater away from the house, it was being funneled directly toward this corner. Once discovered, it was a relatively easy fix for my neighbor.

A point I would like to leave you with is this: A home inspector is not going to routinely pull back mulch to look for negative grading. It could be there and simply hidden by an optical illusion. A good inspector can tell you a lot, but based on the limited time on the premises, they can’t tell you everything.

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient with These 8 Hacks

When we think of ways to save energy, we don’t often turn to the fridge. It just does its thing, right? Well, not quite. Here are eight ways to make your refrigerator more efficient.

First, it’s important to note that if your refrigerator is 15 or more years old, you may not be able to get the most out of it energy-wise, even if you do everything right. Older models are simply never going to be quite as efficient as newer models, and more sophisticated units are coming out all the time. When you decide to replace your older fridge, opt for an Energy-Star-certified model.

Now, on to the hacks!

1. Get rid of frost if you have it.

This is much more common in older units. If your refrigerator is accumulating frost, the first thing you’ll need to do is defrost it. Otherwise, you’re automatically setting yourself up for a far less efficient fridge. That’s because frost buildup can cause fridge coils to work overtime and make it more difficult for the unit to keep at a consistently cool temperature. It’s a bit of a process, but defrosting is totally worth it—plus, who couldn’t use extra room in the freezer?

2. Open your fridge as little as possible.

One of the easiest ways to save energy is to keep your refrigerator closed. That means not leaving the door hanging open while you’re cooking and making selections quickly when you need something. The less your refrigerator has to readjust its temperature from being introduced to warm air in your home, the less it has to work and the more energy you’ll save.

3. Use your in-door water and ice.

This one goes right along with keeping those refrigerator doors closed. The less you open your fridge or freezer for beverages and ice, the less you’ll need to open your fridge.

4. Avoid putting hot or warm dishes in your fridge.

This is a small one, but it could make a big impact over time. Use Tupperware and plastic wrap whenever possible, and allow any food to cool down completely before placing it in the fridge. This helps keep heat out of your unit.

5. Remove fridge clutter.

Raise your hand if your fridge is packed at all times. If you have a big family or a penchant for cooking, it can be unavoidable. Luckily, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s an item or two in there that’s out of date. So take some time to go through your refrigerator’s contents and weed out the stuff that isn’t going to get eaten. It’s especially important not to store large items, like takeout boxes, casserole dishes and loaves of bread on the top shelf, as they could trap heat in the unit and cause your compressor to work overtime.

6. Use the power-saver switch.

Your unit might not have one of these, but if it does, it’s in your best interest to use it! Power-saver switches are connected to heaters built into the walls of refrigerator units. These heaters are designed to help prevent condensation, but the secret is that they may not even be needed. Try turning on the power-saver switch to disable this feature—you may find that no condensation builds up and you can save a little energy.

7. Keep your refrigerator away from your stove.

The heat from your stove can cause your refrigerator’s compressor to work overtime every time you go to cook. Over time, this can even wear out the unit and shorten the life of your appliance. While you may be stuck with this setup for the time being, keep in mind that ideally, your fridge should be several feet away from your stove when you mock up new design plans.

8. Clean your condenser coils.

Cleaning behind the fridge hardly ever makes the top of the old chore list, but if you’d like to have a more efficient unit, it’s a must. Dust removes heat and causes the coils to work much harder than they need to. Pulling the fridge out and sweeping under it, then using a bristle brush to dust the back will do the trick. And luckily, you shouldn’t need to do this too often.

Call National Property Inspections to have your home questions answered.

Our NPI inspectors can answer the most important questions you have about the condition and maintenance of your home. Call us to sell or buy with confidence.

How to Use a Candle: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

How to Use a Candle

No matter what you think of them, you have to admit scented candles are kind of amazing. Nothing’s better at creating ambience and a relaxing atmosphere in your home than a few well-placed candles, but you should know how to use them to get the best effect. It also helps to be aware of the hazards that come with having an open flame in the house. Believe it or not, it’s more than just knowing how to wield a lighter.

1. Lighting and Forgetting About It

We’ll start with one of the worst things you can do—lighting a candle and just walking away. Directions for use on most candles advise only burning under direct supervision, for a number of really good reasons. If you have curious toddlers or pets, for example, a candle can lead to burned fingers or singed whiskers. Candles can also become dangerously hot if they’re left burning for too long, which is why you should only keep them lit for two hours at a time.

2. Not Leaving It Lit Long Enough

Have you ever had to throw a candle out because the wax around the outside didn’t melt? It could be a poorly designed candle, but what’s more common is an effect called “tunneling.” That’s when you see the candle level lowering just around the wick, and it’s caused by not leaving your candle lit long enough. When you light a candle, you want to leave it burning long enough for the entire top layer of wax to melt, forming a pool from one end of the container to the other. This usually takes about an hour of burning. If you blow the candle out too fast, you’ll end up with a hole in the middle of your candle that’s hard to fix.

3. Forgetting What Season You’re In

There aren’t too many things more subtly offputting than a scent that’s at odds with the time of year. Picture pumpkin pie in the height of summer, or pina colada when it’s 20 below. Of course, you may not care about these things when you’re alone, but when you’re entertaining it’s best to keep seasonal scents in mind. For the fall and winter months, lean toward warm, spicy aromas like gingerbread or cinnamon. In spring and summer, light floral scents are best.

4. Going Overboard

When you light a candle, your sense of smell adapts quickly, which can lead you to want to light more and more. Resist this urge. To make the most of a scented candle, you’ll want to mix scents as little as possible, and avoid lighting more than two or three at a time. Walking past a candle shop can be a little headache-inducing, and you don’t want to replicate that experience in your home.

5. Choosing the Wrong Scent for the Room

This is a little like choosing the wrong candle for the season—some scents just don’t work well in certain rooms. Here are the aromas to stick to for every room:

  • Kitchen: It’s always better to be baking real cookies, but in a pinch, a candle scented like baked goods or spices can make your kitchen more homey.
  • Bedroom: This is your sanctuary, so encourage relaxation in this space with scents like lavender that help you drift off to dreamland.
  • Living Room: The living room is a versatile space, but whatever you use it for, it helps to have a scent that inspires conversation, friendliness and warmth. Try sandalwood, vanilla or coffee.
  • Bathroom: A bright citrus like lemon or grapefruit is best for the bathroom, or you can experiment with herbal notes like basil.

6. Using a Candle to Cover Up Odors

Lots of us have been guilty of this one—you might think a candle is your best bet for getting rid of odors, but scented candles aren’t designed for that. Instead of neutralizing bad smells, scented candles mask other odors without eliminating them, so you get the scent you want with an unmistakable undernote of funk. For those times when you need to get rid of a smell, it’s better to open a window or use a product that’s specifically formulated to neutralize odors.

National Property Inspections Can Help You Maintain Your Home

For answers to questions about all your home’s most important systems, call us today. Our inspectors can keep you in the know when it comes to maintaining your most important investment—your home.

Look for These Problems When Buying an Old House: Part 1

There are a lot of great things about owning an older home, but it’s not all craftsmanship and charm. If you’re thinking about putting in an offer on an old house, you should know that there are some potential issues to be aware of before you commit. Be on the lookout for these costly problems that come along with buying an old house.

Lead Paint

If you have young children, lead paint should be one of your first concerns when considering an older home. Lead-based paint was widely used in exterior and interior home applications prior to 1978, so if the house you’re looking at was built before this date and hasn’t been updated, it may have lead paint. The good news is that property owners are required to disclose the possible existence of lead paint before you buy, so you can make the decision whether to go through with the purchase and have the lead paint removed. Having lead paint professionally removed generally costs between $8 and $15 per square foot.

Asbestos

It’s commonly known that asbestos exposure is linked to certain types of lung cancer, but what is it and why was it ever used in homes? Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral that had many useful industrial applications beginning in the mid-19th century. Asbestos was used for its exceptional fire resistance, sound-dampening properties and as electrical insulation. It was mixed with cement and other materials to create siding for homes, roof shingles and “popcorn” (or acoustic) textured ceilings. Asbestos use in residential building materials wasn’t banned until 1989, so chances are that homes built before then will have some asbestos in them.

Inaccessible asbestos in walls or pipe insulation may not pose much of a threat, but if you’re planning any major remodels of your older home once you buy it, you’ll need to have it professionally removed—this service can be costly depending on how much asbestos needs to be removed, but can range from hundreds for a single wall or pipe to tens of thousands for a whole house remediation.

Old Electrical Systems

Technology advances faster and faster every day, and for older houses that haven’t been updated, some of their systems can be very antiquated compared to today’s standards. Take one of the most important features of your home—its electrical system. Not very long ago, people were much less reliant on electronic devices and appliances, so home electrical systems were built to carry a much lighter load than we require today.

Not only are the electrical systems in older homes less able to support 21st century electricity needs, the wiring can sometimes be difficult or impossible to replace when it breaks. For example, replacement fuses for old knob-and-tube wiring aren’t made anymore, so blown fuses are often replaced with ones that aren’t designed for the system. This can overheat old knob-and-tube systems and potentially cause a fire.

Insect Damage

Insects like termites aren’t picky—they’ll go after new homes with just as much zeal as old homes, but old houses are much easier targets. New houses don’t have the same cracks, loose boards and other areas that provide insects the pathways they need to enter your home and do their damage.

What are the signs that you might be dealing with termite damage in an older home? You can look for buckling floors (this might mean that wood-destroying insects have gotten to the floor joists), tiny holes in drywall or other exposed wood structures that sound hollow when you knock on it. Replacing insect-damaged wood in a home can be prohibitively expensive depending on the extent of the infestation, so you should definitely rely on an independent, third-party inspection to determine whether there’s a problem before you buy.

Call National Property Inspections Today

This only scratches the surface on problems you might face when buying an old house. Stay tuned for part two of our blog series, and if you’re in the process of buying or selling an older home, Contact us for a comprehensive home inspection!

Check out Part 2 of this post here!

5 Home Inspection Myths You Shouldn’t Fall For

Ordering a home inspection is the most critical part of the buying process. Because of the crucial role your inspector plays, there are lots of misconceptions out there about his or her exact part in the transaction. We’re here to clear up some common myths and help you learn what to expect from that all-important inspection report.

Myth #1: Your inspector can advise you on whether or not to buy the house.

Truth: Your inspector is considered an impartial observer and should never advise you on whether or not to move forward with the sales process.

An inspector’s role is to tell you about the condition of the home so that you can make your own educated decision. And if you think they can be coaxed into disclosing their opinion, think again. Even if you come right out and ask, “Would you buy this house?” a good inspector will stand firm and reiterate that they can only tell you what’s working and what’s not. This is actually for the best! You’ll want a third party looking at the home with fresh eyes, one whose only job is to educate you, not sway your opinion.

Myth #2: Your home inspector will tear into walls.

Truth: Home inspectors are trained to perform visual, noninvasive inspections.

Inspectors will never move furniture or boxes, tear holes in walls in order to look in them, or otherwise damage or manipulate your property. Save for making a few minor adjustments to your home’s settings (like the thermostat) in order to get accurate readings, you won’t be able to detect your inspector was there. But just because your home inspector can’t literally see into walls, doesn’t mean they won’t be able to let you know what’s going on behind them. With tools like infrared cameras and moisture meters, inspectors can still identify leaks, electrical problems and more.

Also, depending on weather conditions and safety concerns, your inspector could be limited in the scope of their report. For example, if ice is present on a roof, your inspector will likely elect not to walk on it and make a note of this in the report.

Myth #3: New constructions don’t need inspections.

Truth: Every home needs an inspection, whether it’s one month old or 100 years old.

Believe it or not, brand new homes can have just as many issues as old ones, often due to rush and communication breakdown during the building process. Add to that the fact that the home hasn’t been lived in yet, and issues like leaks and HVAC malfunctions won’t have had a chance to show symptoms. Even brand new homes need a full inspection to ensure safety and pinpoint any building mistakes that could cause major repairs down the road.

Myth #4: Inspectors work on a pass/fail system.

Truth: No home is ever evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

Each home is inspected based on the universal safety and maintenance standards, but a certain number of RRs (recommend repair) and As (acceptable) won’t earn your home an A or an F. Instead, it’s up to you whether a home “passes,” meaning you’ve decided it’s a wise investment based on information provided to you in the inspection report. This all comes down to needed repairs and how much they’ll potentially cost weighed against the price and value of the home.

Myth #5: Home inspectors can predict future maintenance needs.

Truth: With so many factors at play, it’s simply impossible for a home inspector to predict all of your home’s maintenance needs.

A brand new HVAC system, for example, could malfunction a few months or years down the road with no warning whatsoever. Things like climate and weather, wear and tear and manufacturer error mean that anything can happen. What an inspector can do is paint an accurate portrait of the condition of the home at the time of their inspection so that you can compare it with the average lifespan of appliances and systems and make the best choice for you.

Call National Property Inspections to schedule your inspection today.

Our inspectors can assess your home’s major systems and provide a full digital report on their condition, including high-quality photos. Contact us today!

Do You Really Need a Home Inspection?

As a home inspector, there is no question that I am going to be biased toward people using the services of a competent home inspector, whenever they are in the process of buying or selling a property. However, people don’t have to take the word of a home inspector; all they need to do is ask a REALTOR®, a mortgage broker, a lawyer or even Mike Holmes. All of these professionals will come back with the same clear recommendation: You should always have your home inspected by a qualified home inspector.

If you do a quick search on the Internet for “common mistakes by first-time home buyers,” you will find that not having a home inspection is always near the top of this list. Sadly, it’s not unusual to see first-time home buyers become overwhelmed with all of the various costs associated with purchasing their first home. Some will even look for creative ways to stretch their limited home-purchasing budget and choose not to hire a home inspector to try to save money. But that old saying, “penny wise, pound foolish,” certainly comes to mind.

Another important point to consider as to why home buyers should hire the services of a professional home inspector is the simple fact that people tend to fall in love or have made an emotional connection with the home they are about to purchase. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, when someone makes an emotional purchase, they can easily be blinded to seeing exactly what they are getting themselves into. This reminds me of a line from a movie: “The brain sees what the heart wants it to feel.”

That would definitely apply to buying a home.

Homeownership certainly has its rewards, but it also comes with many risks. That is why it is so important to be an informed buyer and to try to manage some of these risks. Always have a home inspection done and then carefully review the results, so you can objectively decide on how you would then like to proceed with the purchase of this property. Remember, the cost of a home inspection is very small in comparison to the purchase price of the home or the potential risk of some unknown or hidden deficiency.

A properly trained home inspector will view the home in a way that few people do. In an effort to minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected repairs, the home inspection should provide an unbiased and objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the home. The inspector’s judgment is not clouded by emotions; he or she will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect the operation or lifespan of another. The inspector evaluates and reports on the condition of the structure, roof, basement, drainage, electrical, plumbing, heating system, visible insulation, walls, windows and doors. Components that are not performing properly will be identified, as well as items that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. The purpose of the home inspection is to provide the client with a better understanding of the property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.

It is extremely important to note that not all home inspectors are equally trained and/or qualified, so look for home inspectors who belong to a provincial association such as CAHPI (Canadian Home and Property Inspectors), ASHI (American Society or Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI, as these professionals are typically bound by a strict code of ethics and must adhere to specific standards of practice.

Submitted by Lawrence Englehart, GPI Franchise Owner, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, originally published October 8, 2014

November 2018: Autumn Continued

Ask The Inspector

Do You Really Need a Home Inspection? Yes!

In this special guest post, GPI inspector, Lawrence Englehart, shares why you always need to order an inspection when buying a home. He explains how an inspection report can help you make the best decision, as well as how to hire the best inspector for the job. Learn more

5 Home Inspection Myths You Shouldn’t Fall For

Ordering a home inspection is the most critical part of the buying process, and there are lot of myths floating around out there about your inspector’s role in all of it. We’re here to clear up some common misconceptions and help you know what to expect. Learn more

Look for These Problems When Buying an Old House

There are a lot of great things about owning an older home, but it’s not always all craftsmanship and charm. Be on the lookout for these costly problems that can sometimes come along with buying an older house. Learn more

Expert Advice

How to Use a Candle: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Nothing’s better at creating ambience and a relaxing atmosphere in your home than a few well-placed candles, but you should know how to use them to get the best effect. Believe it or not, it’s more than knowing how to wield a lighter! Learn more

A Pajama Lounge? What It Is and Why the Trend is Taking Over

Have you heard of a pajama lounge? If you haven’t yet, you’ll probably be seeing the concept everywhere soon. We’ll give you a quick rundown of what a pajama lounge is and the different ways you can adapt it to your taste and living space. Learn more

How to Keep Your Pond from Freezing This Winter

Garden ponds provide a sense of calm in spring and summer. But as the days grow colder, it’s important to know the simple steps to take to keep your pond from freezing over until warmer weather returns. Here are the steps you need to take to keep your pond healthy. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always sharing interesting things from the field so that we can all learn from each others’ homeowner wins and mistakes. Here’s one of the latest.

It’s pretty easy to spot what’s off about this picture. That wood definitely looks out of place! But why is it there in the first place?

It turns out that what started as a broken sink turned into an even bigger issue when a homeowner placed heavy dishes in it. The weight of the dishes started causing the sink to collapse. To make matters worse, the sink is installed in a granite countertop, which will likely lead to cracking and early replacement. This very DIY repair is not a lasting solution to the issue, and could cause even more damage in the long-run. With any sink problem, you’ll want to avoid using it or storing any dishes there, and you’ll need to seek a professional’s opinion as soon as possible.

Maintenance Matters

Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient with These 8 Hacks

When we think of ways to save energy, we don’t often turn to the fridge. It just does its thing, right? Well, not quite. Here are eight ways to get the most out of your refrigerator and even save a little money in the process. Learn more

6 Essential Fall Lawn Care Tasks

The air is crisp and the trees are changing colors. That must mean fall is here! Even if your yard isn’t fully blanketed in crunchy leaves just yet, you can still start on these essential fall lawn care tasks to get your yard ready for winter. Learn more