Crawl Space Care: Insulation, Ventilation, Encapsulation, Oh My!

Updated on July 31st, 2019
Crawl spaces are often out of sight and, consequently, out of mind, making them easy to neglect. But don’t “space out” on your crawl space! Without proper care, your crawl space is susceptible to moisture, heat loss, pests, and a host of other complications. These common problems can damage your home’s foundation, cause sky-high energy bills, and introduce toxins to the air you breathe. With as much as 40 percent of the air in your home originating from your crawl space, learning to care for this area plays a big role in your health and the long-term health of your home.
crawl space

What is a Crawl Space?

A crawl space is a small space, ranging from one to three feet in height, that resides between the bottom floor of your home and the ground. A crawl space provides extra room for electrical wiring, plumbing components, and HVAC equipment. As the height of the crawl space is limited, getting into the area must be done by crawling, either on the stomach or the hands and knees (hence the name). For those searching for homes, or who own homes in close proximity to water or swampy areas, like Florida, exploring crawl spaces can be a necessary part of a home inspection.

What’s the Difference Between Crawl Space vs. Basement?

Crawl spaces are typically used in damp climates, where the ground is regularly too wet for basement construction. Supporting the home off of the ground keeps it away from moisture that could cause damage. In coastal areas where the soil is sandy, a crawl space can alleviate potential basement problems, like excessive water buildup that could put pressure on basement walls. Crawl spaces are also sometimes preferred in construction when a basement is too costly. Installing a crawl space is cheaper than installing a basement.crawl spaceA basement is a popular type of foundation that can add space and functionality to a home. Basements are often used as storage space, living areas, or both. A basement combines elements of a slab and crawl space. The floor in a basement is very similar to a slab, and the support system used under the basement floor is the same as what is used in a crawl space. Although basements can be a great addition to a home, they cannot be built in areas with high moisture levels or unsettled soil. They also happen to be the most expensive type of foundation to build.

Crawl Space Solutions for Common Problems

Problem: Moisture

Homes with poor ventilation are more susceptible to crawl space issues than others. Without regular evaluation, you may not know there is a problem until it’s too late. Signs of excessive moisture throughout the home are often readily noticeable, but signs of moisture in your crawl space may be harder to detect. Unfortunately, moisture in a crawl space can be just as problematic, causing complications such as mildew, dust mites, mold, and wood rot. When there is nowhere left for moisture to go within a crawl space, it can then travel into your insulation, flooring, and walls to create even larger problems. Crawl spaces with exposed dirt most commonly have trouble with an excess of moisture.

Solution: Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is one of the best ways to protect your home against the encroachment of moisture. Essentially a large plastic sheet placed over the base of a crawl space, vapor barriers are intended to fully cover any exposed dirt. While this doesn’t completely eliminate moisture, it does slow the process significantly. At 50 to 70 cents per square foot, sheet plastic is a cost-effective barrier for moisture in your crawl space. A vapor barrier can be a DIY project if you’re willing to get down and dirty, but the labor that goes into covering the entire ground area can be challenging to accomplish on your own. You’ll need a friend to help you pass the rolls of sheet plastic back and forth through the crawl space, or if this sounds too labor-intensive, a professional contractor may be the way to go.man in crawl space

Solution: Encapsulation

If a vapor barrier alone isn’t enough to tame moisture and ventilation problems, encapsulation can be a great alternative. The first step in this process involves a vapor barrier coupled with sealing tape and coverage of walls and ceiling areas. A complete encapsulation includes drain tile, a sump pit and pump, concrete, insulation, and a dehumidifier to properly condition the air.While placing a vapor barrier can be done independently, encapsulation is best handled by a professional. The installation process takes expertise, and installing a dehumidifier is best left to a trained technician. Hiring a contractor for this work costs about $5,500 on average.

Problem: Energy Loss

A crawl space isn’t a livable part of the home, but insulation is still important to keep the heat in. Crawl spaces can be a major source of energy loss. If you find yourself running your furnace all winter long, driving up high energy bills, yet still feel cold on the ground floor of your home, your crawl space could be the issue. If your crawl space isn’t properly insulated from the cold, you could be wasting energy and driving up your utility bills.Cracked Foundation

Solution: Insulation

Insulating your crawl space depends on the general climate in the area. In warm or dry areas, insulation can be limited to just the area between the floor joists. However, in subfreezing temperatures, insulating the walls and sealing off the crawl space is most effective. A professional can evaluate the state of your crawl space, make a recommendation, and handle the insulation process.

Problem: Pests

Rodents and insects can be a problem anywhere in your home, and a crawl space is no exception. Crawl spaces can easily become a dwelling for pests if they are not properly maintained. Since most homeowners do not spend much time in their crawl space, it may be harder to determine if there is a pest problem. Pests such as mice, rats, termites, carpenter ants, spiders and more have the ability to damage insulation, crawl through vapor barriers, dig into wood, and even tunnel into your main living spaces.

Solution: Pest Control

Proper crawl space maintenance, including encapsulation, can keep your property safe from pests. When all entrances and exits are sealed, the possibility of rodents and insects gaining entry to your home is almost impossible. If you do see signs of pests, partnering with an exterminator can treat problems at the source.

Crawl Space Inspection Checklist

A crawl space inspection is typically included in a standard home inspection when buying or selling a house. This is an area where issues tend to arise and can throw a wrench in the home sale. Both home sellers and buyers should be aware of the state of the crawl space in order to mitigate any potential problems prior to the sale. Here are the red flags that professionals look for during a crawl space inspection:
  • Electrical wiring issues
  • Plumbing issues
  • Moisture (standing water, damp insulation or warped building materials)
  • Pests (bugs, termites, rats, mice)
  • Mold and mildew
  • Ventilation issues
  • Cracks in the foundation
As a seller, you may want to have your crawl space inspected prior to listing it on the market. That way you are aware of any issues and can have them fixed before the sale, or adjust the sale price accordingly.As a homeowner, maintaining your crawl space is critical to the health and longevity of your home. That means doing an annual inspection and attending to problems as they arise, as well as taking preventative measures to keep your house healthy. If crawling under your home doesn’t seem like fun, you can always partner with the pros and hire someone to ensure your crawl space is in good hands. With these tips and fixes, you can be sure this “foundational” part of your home is properly maintained for years to come.
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SIDING How to Replace Vinyl Siding

vinyl siding repair
Cracked or broken vinyl siding is no reason for despair. A simple $5 tool gets the job done in 15-minutes. This article also includes some useful tips on how to get the best match possible for your original siding.

15-minute vinyl siding repair with a zip tool

siding removal tool

Photo 1: A zip tool is the key

Slide the zip tool along the bottom edge to release the vinyl siding from the piece below it. This vinyl siding repair tip will save you loads of time.

How Do You Replace Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding repair is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a zip tool and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one. Get this vinyl siding repair kit zip tool on Amazon.Starting at one end of the damaged piece, push the end of the zip siding removal tool up under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip (Photo 1). Pull the zip tool downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, then slide it along the edge, pulling the siding out as you go. Then unzip any pieces above the damaged piece. Hold them out of the way with your elbow while you pry out the nails that hold the damaged piece in place (Photo 2).Slide the replacement piece up into place, pushing up until the lower lip locks into the piece below it. Drive 1-1/4-in. roofing nails through the nailing flange. Space them about every 16 in. (near the old nail holes). Nail in the center of the nailing slot and leave about 1/32 in. of space between the nail head and the siding so the vinyl can move freely. Don’t nail the heads tightly or the siding will buckle when it warms up.With the new piece nailed, use the zip tool to lock the upper piece down over it. Start at one end and pull the lip down, twisting the siding removal tool slightly to force the leading edge down (Photo 3). Slide the zip tool along, pushing in on the vinyl just behind the siding removal tool with your other hand so it snaps into place.It’s best to repair vinyl in warm weather. In temperatures below freezing, it becomes less flexible and may crack.The downside of replacing older vinyl siding is that it can be hard to match the style and color, and siding rarely has any identifying marks. The best way to get a replacement piece is to take the broken piece to vinyl siding distributors in your area and find the closest match. If the old vinyl has faded or you can’t find the right color, take the broken piece to a paint store and have the color matched. Paint the replacement piece with one coat of top-quality acrylic primer followed by acrylic house paint—acrylic paint will flex with the movement of the vinyl.

Required Tools for this How to Remove Vinyl Siding Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY how to remove vinyl siding project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
  • Pry bar

Required Materials for this How to Remove Vinyl Siding Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
  • Zip tool
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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5 Home Projects You Should Tackle Before You List Your House By Ashley Carter

increase your resale value
Image via iStock
Your home is a major investment, and it’s something that you want to get the most from when you move on. Don’t let minor flaws get in the way of your profits. Something as simple as picking up toys in the yard or clearing away your collection of soda bottles can make a major difference in how potential buyers feel about your home. Add these projects to your checklist if you want to make a good first impression and sell your home for top dollar.

Paint for Neutral Ambiance

Neutral colors are the most appealing choice for home buyers. Painting is a big job, and something that many buyers don’t want to tackle right away. Bold colors are entirely a matter of personal preference. You may love that deep teal on the walls, but it will be more difficult to connect with prospective buyers when you’ve chosen such a distinctive hue. Instead, paint your home in shades that are easy to match, such as eggshell, tan, white or pewter.

Upgrade for Energy Efficiency

Smart homebuyers look at more than the up-front cost of the home. They’ll also consider ongoing expenses such as utilities and upkeep. That’s why Energy Star appliances and newer HVAC systems are so appealing. If you don’t have the funds for these major investments, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency on a budget by sealing and insulating. Address cracks or gaps around windows and doors. Replace the seals around doors and windows, repair any damage to the siding, and check your insulation.

“Sealing your home everywhere you can makes a big difference, not only in your energy bills, but in the comfort of the home,” said Julie Jacobson, a Redfin real estate agent in California. “Inexpensive weatherstripping available at your local hardware store will do the trick. Your local utility company or county may even offer rebates and incentives for making these upgrades.”

Clean Up for Spacious Impressions

Cluttered homes look smaller and hectic. Clear the odds and ends, and make your home look as much like a showroom as possible. If the idea of organizing all these items is too overwhelming, simply box them up and stash them in unseen areas, such as under the bed. You may even want to rent a small storage space while you’re staging your home so that you can clear out your closets and show off their spacious nature or empty the garage and make it look more appealing.

Landscape Carefully for Curb Appeal

First impressions are critical when you’re selling your home. Many prospective buyers will do a drive-by before scheduling a viewing. If they don’t like what they see from the street, they’ll never step inside the home. Keep your yard well maintained with manicured bushes, carefully tended flower beds, and a clutter-free lawn. Small improvements such as painting the front door, straightening the mailbox, and replacing that missing stone in the walkway will go a long way toward enticing a buyer.

Polish Up the Bathroom for a Like-New Look

You don’t have to remodel your whole bathroom for the same level of appeal. At a minimum, you should recaulk the tub for a fresh, clean look. If you can’t eliminate stains and discoloration completely, reglaze the tub to make it look like new. Keep this room meticulously clean, regularly sweeping up stray hairs, dusting light fixtures, and cleaning the mirror so that it looks pristine.

A well-staged home will draw more buyers and entice the type of bidding war every seller wants. Make the effort to present your home well, and you’ll reap major rewards for your efforts.

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10 Vintage Home Hacks That are Still Brilliant Today-Handyman Magazine

These tips and tricks for the home have been passed down from generation to generation, but do they still hold up today? You better believe it!

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Family Handyman

Floor Ruler

No need to scramble for a ruler every time you have to measure something big. Draw a ruler on your shop floor with a permanent-ink, felt-tip marker. It won’t be accurate enough for precise measurements, but for rough cutting it will save you time and effort. When the markings start to wear off, just redo them. — Christine Smith

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Trapeze Clothes Hanger

Here’s a quick way to add another clothes rod in a closet. It’s especially useful in a child’s closet, because you can easily adjust the height to accommodate a changing wardrobe and a growing child. Use lightweight chain, attached to both the upper and lower rods with screw hooks. Squeeze the screw hooks closed with a pliers. — Jim Shephard. Find out these amazing additional ways to find more closet space you can do yourself.

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Lawn Fertilizer Markers

So you fertilized your lawn last week, and now you’ve got some streaks of pale grass where you missed, and some really dark streaks where you hit twice. To prevent this, use two short lengths of wood as markers. Whenever you start a new row from either end of your run, drop a marker at the edge of the line of the fertilizer. Aim for the marker as you proceed, and move the marker at each end every time you make a turn. It works with a broadcast spreader as well. — Jim Carabetta. If you want a lusher lawn, then pull up these 11 tips for a lawn that will make your neighbors green with envy.

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Help For Losers

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you drop a small part on the floor and you can’t find it? Here’s help. Lay a flashlight on the floor, and beam the light slowly in a circle so it just skims the floor surface. The shadow cast by the lost part will help you spot it. — Gary Stewart

Think that’s helpful? Well, you love these 45 hugely helpful handy hints that will keep cash in your pocket.
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Vacuum Accessory Keeper

Here’s my quick and simple method for keeping shop vacuum accessories handy: Use an ordinary wire clothes hanger for each accessory. Bend the horizontal bar into an inverted “V,” squeeze the arms together and insert them into the open end of the accessory. The tension will hold the accessory in place. Then mount a row of hooks or screw eyes on the wall and hang the accessories in place. — Richard Siegel

Storing vacuum accessories and other tough-to-store items can be difficult but we’ve got 24 solutions for hard-to-store stuff. 
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Hollow Door Fixer

If you have a sizable hole in a painted hollow-core door, here’s a quick way to fix it: Completely fill the hole with spray foam insulation (a can costs about $4 at home centers) so the foam is about level with the door surface. Allow it to dry overnight. The foam will expand slightly as it dries, forming a slight mound. Slice off the mound with a razor knife so the foam is slightly lower than the door surface. Apply one or two coats of drywall compound, sand it smooth when dry, and paint. — Richard Loeb Jr.

That spray foam fix is great but it’s not as brilliant as these 15 uses for spray foam you never knew.
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Family Handyman

Roof Gutter Tool Trays

Here’s my solution to workbench clutter: I mounted vinyl gutters along both ends of my workbench to hold small tools and other items that usually end up buried on the work surface. The gutters are durable, inexpensive, and it’s easy to find things in them. An added benefit is that small items that get knocked off the workbench no longer fall on the floor. Use an end cap at each end. — Scott Wright. Gutters aren’t only great for a workbench, see how they’re great in a kitchen too.

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Splashblock Anchor

Do those plastic downspout splashblocks tend to wander away from the foundation of your house, allowing water to seep into the basement? To prevent this, drill two holes through the hefty corners of the plastic at the back end. To anchor it, drive two large spikes through the holes into the ground. — Joseph Perrone

If you’ve got gutter issues of any kind, be sure to check out these 25 hints for fixing gutter problems.
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How to Easily Kill 98% of All Odor & Mold in Your Home

By Home&Garden — Americans are going crazy over this new simple trick that magically kills odors, mold, bacteria and fungus growing in your home
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Plastic Bag Storage

If those empty plastic grocery bags are threatening to take over your kitchen, here’s help: Stuff them into an empty paper towel tube. It’s quick and easy, and a dozen or so bags take up hardly any space. Keep the stuffed tube handy in a drawer. — Joan Hill

Paper towel tubes are great for storing items. We’ve got 10 more incredible ways to reuse paper towel tubes for storing things.
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Blade Life Extender

When the blade in your utility knife gets dull, it’s usually only the point and the first 1/4 in. or so that’s bad. You can get additional life from your blade by snapping off the point with a pliers (wear safety glasses). It won’t cut quite as well as a fresh blade, but a lot better than the dull one. — Dennis Feldpausch

Check out some brilliant uses for razor blades that you can use around the house.
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You have lived in your home for many years, Now it time to sell.

pre listing home inspection St. Michael, buyers home inspection St. Michael, certified home inspector Brainerd, home inspection for sellers Brainerd You have lived in your home for many years now you are thinking of selling your home. Do you know what type of repairs are needed to sell your home and streamline the real estate process? Home Detective of Minnesota will do a home maintenance review of your property. It is a Visual only review of your property. We will go through your property and point out items that are needing repairs or upgrading. You will need to write the items down and you may want to take some pictures. As the homeowner you can then make the repairs yourself, hire a contractor or just leave the item along. The Visual only review is $150.00 and takes about two hours to complete. Once you have completed the repairs you are going to make, we will come back to your home and review the items that were repairs plus do a complete home inspection, we will provide a written report that you can share with prospective buyers showing the repairs made. This proactive approach will get more buyers in the door with higher offers for your property. This written report will take about three and one-half hour to complete, you will have the report the same day. We will also offer you warranty protections for your property. If you wish to have the home maintenance review and full home inspection report with FREE warranties we offer a two for one promotion. Visual only review $100.00 Home Inspection with written report and warranty program $350.00. Contact Home Detective of Minnesota at 763-434-3155.
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How to Sell Your House in 2019 from Redfin

Interior view of home - How to sell you house in 2019

So, you have found yourself at that point of selling your house and moving on. Maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller house because the kids have finally left the nest, or you got a job in a new city and need to relocate, or finally, you retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell your home. Luckily for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.

1) Hire a Home Inspector

You’re probably thinking wait, isn’t that what the buyer is going to do? You’re not wrong. When a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, the buyer will most likely hire a home inspector of their own. So, why would you hire a home inspector? First, if a home inspector turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it long before entering into negotiations with a potential buyer?

In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs expected to take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Hiring a home inspector is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, then focus on the next task to get your home sold fast.

Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers.  As you may already be aware, since you’ve already bought a home yourself, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed any repairs that turned up in an inspection report, it is less likely that any new repairs will come up and impact your position during negotiations.

2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your Home

After your inspector makes a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This is may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home that will help your house to sell fast. You don’t need to renovate your kitchen or anything, but that red accent wall that was extremely popular a decade ago might need a fresh coat of paint more neutral in color.

Understand Your Homes Selling Points First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then try to highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are in your home? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your home again.

Brighten Your Home You also want to think about ways to brighten your home and improve your curb appeal. Simple ways to brighten your home is painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. Though you may have enjoyed that accent wall, not everyone has the same taste as yourself. You want to make your house appeal to the largest audience possible to not only sell your home fast but to also invite more offers.

Improve Your Curb Appeal Furthermore, improving your curb appeal is crucial for future homebuyers. You only make a first impression once, and the curb appeal of your home is the first impression of your home for potential buyers. Though you may not necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers, simple things like trimming your hedges, freshly mowed lawn and making sure any exterior lights aren’t burnt out can go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop!

Though this can be a lot of work, you will be happy that you did it because homes often sell faster and for more money when these small upgrades are done. If you don’t want to do all that work yourself, don’t know how to, or just don’t have the time, there are concierge type services that can do it all for you. This way you can focus on moving to your next home.

3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell

There’s an expression in real estate, “clutter can cost a sale.” Decluttering and prepping your home is something you want to really focus on. Especially if you’ve lived in your house for five years or more, there is a good chance you’ve collected a lot of stuff. Don’t worry it happens!

Renting storage units are becoming an increasingly popular method to decluttering one’s home before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential buyers can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow people touring your home to think about what they would hang on those walls or what they’d place on that fire mantel. Basically, you’re trying to present your house as a canvass from which potential buyers can create the next chapter of their lives.

Furthermore, by eliminating the majority of your stuff in your house earlier you can start deep cleaning your home more easily. And yes, you want to deep clean your home. If you sold your car to someone (not a dealership) you would probably wash it and vacuum the inside of it before you let someone test drive it, right? Well, the same goes for selling your house. You want to present your home in its best possible light so that it sells fast and you get competing offers.

Also, don’t just focus on deep cleaning just the inside of your home. You can use a pro wash to clean the outside of your home as well. These products typically attached to your garden hose and then you just spray your house down. It’s kind of like washing your car, just without the scrubbing.

4) Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options, and hopefully, you’ll end up with a couple of good potential candidates to interview.

You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:

  • How many clients have you served this year?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • What is your fee?
  • What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?

These are just a few questions to consider asking while interviewing real estate agents. A more comprehensive list of interview questions can be found here.

After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. This plan should include a timeline, from the pricing of your home and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. It should also include when a price reduction strategy needs to take effect to get your home sold. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.

5) Price Your Home to Sell

Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home! You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is currently worth. This is a great starting point to get an idea of your home’s worth, but you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. Being open-minded about pricing your home as well as adjusting price is key to get your home sold.

Another option that many homeowners do to get a list price for their home is to hire a home appraiser. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.

Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price with your real estate agent. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Anything outside of those parameters would not be considered true comparables and could give you false information for pricing your home.

Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. You want your house to sell fast while being competitive for current market conditions. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in the same area as your own and priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.

6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home

Nothing sells a home faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is being represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it has been widely observed that listing your house with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.

Furthermore, 3D walking tours of homes have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include these types of services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller, however, you should ask while interviewing your real estate agent what services are provided so you don’t find yourself paying out of pocket later.

7) List Your Home to Sell

Your real estate agent will get your home listed online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order to l start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.

You may be wondering when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends in homes being sold. What was determined was that though spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.

Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends, share your listing on social media, send out emails asking people to share your listing with others, and even advertising with online ads are ways of getting your house in front of more people and increase the chance of selling your home faster.

8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings

Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:

  • Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by now. Focus on just cleaning up the clutter that gets left out on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children help them pick up their toys.
  • Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off a buyer more than an unclean bathroom. That could also be said about the rest of your house. Now more than ever is that time to wash your windows, window sills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
  • Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
  • Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room and then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
  • Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
  • Showcase your floors: Floors are key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about getting them polished to really make them pop!
  • Create a welcoming ambiance: You may have heard about that old trick of lighting a candle that smells like freshly baked cookies? Well, it’s not wrong, but a single candle might not do the trick. Focus on reducing odors in your home. If you have a mudroom, or a cat or dog, use a neutralizing spray for a few days before an open house to limit any odors that you may not actually realize are there.
  • Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. Also, they will likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
  • Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.
  • Make your entrance inviting: If the exterior of your house has outdated light fixtures or worn out address numbers, consider replacing them along with your welcome mat. A new mat is always inviting to people touring your home.
  • Secure your valuables: If you didn’t already store your valuables away in the storage unit you rented, you’ll want to make sure that these are not kept in plain sight. In fact, if you have a safe of some kind, that would be a perfect place to store your valuables while open houses and home tours are taking place.

Unlike open houses that are planned in advance, personal showings can happen at any point during the home selling process. The key is to be flexible and maintain your home’s cleanliness to make it easier on yourself in case of unexpected tours that may just pop up at moment’s notice. You want to make a great first impression every time!

10) Have a Plan in Case Your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough

You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold.

If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.

11) Negotiate the Selling Price of Your Home

One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your home.

This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind. There are several factors and tactics to consider when entering this phase. Your agent will help you every step of the way as you navigate through the negotiation process.

You most likely have made many great memories in your home. Your children may have grown up in your house and marks of their heights years past still scar the wall near the kitchen. It’s difficult, but try to separate yourself – emotionally – from your house. Whatever your memories may be, just remember they are not lost, but they also have no place in negotiations. Try to remain objective during this process and rely on your real estate agent for advice and how to proceed.

12) Sign and Close

This is the moment you and your agent have been working towards. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, any and all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

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Furnace Included: Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty

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Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty includes oven, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash
compactor, and garbage disposal, heating/air (HVAC):
furnace, air conditioner, and thermostats.

No matter how thorough the inspection, issues come up after the sale from time to time with previously owned homes.  It’s not the inspector’s fault, nor the agents or new homeowners.  That’s why Home Detective offers a FREE 90 Warranty with any home inspection we do.  Some buyers and agents have used it over the years, ALL with positive reviews.  Every party to the transaction leaves it with peace of mind.For appliances, all claims must be received within 90 days of the inspection or within 22 days of closing, whichever comes later.*For added peace of mind, you can extend it for 18 months.  Seller’s selling old homes, buyers buying old homes love this option.  It often makes deals happen that seemed lost.Schedule a Complete Home InspectionTo schedule a home inspection, contact Reed today online or call (763) 434-3155.  Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael 
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The “Price is Right” Distressed Home = Get an Inspection

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No heat, toilet burst

As a rule of thumb, all home buyers should get a complete home inspection before they agree to close on a purchase agreement.  But distressed homes, often times marketed as “fixer-uppers,” are usually vacant or have been for some time, lender/bank owned, and sold “as-is.”  This means there is almost no information or seller disclosure available to the buyer to know what “known” issues may have or is currently affecting the property.  As a result, there is an extra burden on the buyer to find out.  Although fixer uppers/distressed properties are often sold at an attractive price and can be a great opportunity for many would-be homeowners, home buyers should partner with a professional like Home Detective to perform a complete home inspection.In the picture above, the property was obviously vacant with no heat, and the water in the toilet froze and burst.  This will certainly be cleaned up by the listing company, but what else went on there?  What about the water pipes?  Is there a potential for mold?   The questions are endless and Home Detective is professionally certified to help you answer them.

Free 90 Day Home Warranty-Appliances Included

Caveat emptor is Latin for "let the buyer beware” because the principle has been around for centuries.  Buried in small print on most “as-is”
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A vacant home, no heat burst pipes

documents is a version of this “hold the seller harmless” language.  In addition to providing peace of mind with a complete home inspection, Home Detective also provides a FREE 90 DAY Home Inspection Warranty, appliances included, with all of our home inspections*.

 Schedule a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air Filters

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Selecting the correct type of Furnace Filter is important

Routinely changing the air filters for your furnace is an important home maintenance task.  This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do it yourself.

Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

 
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Setting a date to change the furnace filter

Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) A dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder, which wastes energy.  Changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings; and 2) Over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the particles that it is made to take out of the air, and as such, as it gets dirty it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home.

How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

The frequency of when you should change your air filter can range between once every month, to once every 3 months, and for your particular home it will depend on several factors:
  • If you have someone in your family that has respiratory problems, such as allergies or asthma, then you will want to change your furnace’s air filter more often.
  • If you have a high level of particulates from pets, smoking, construction projects, etc., then you will want to change your air filter more often.
  • The recommended frequency will also depend on the efficiency of the filter that you use.  Higher efficiency filters do a better job of removing smaller particles from the air, but they also get clogged faster and therefore need to be changed more often.
 

How To Choose the Right Furnace Air Filter?

Similar to how often you should change your filter, the choice of the right air filter for your particular home and living situation depends on a number
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Periodically check the furnace filter before is gets like this

of factors.The first thing to consider in choosing the right filter is knowing its size. To find the size of the filter you need, just check on the side of the current filter that is in your furnace. Most filters will have the size written right on them (see types, costs, and reviews of furnace air filters).  However, if you have any doubts as to whether the correct size was originally installed, then it is best to check with your furnace’s manufacturer.The next thing to consider in choosing the right filter for your home is the MERV rating of the filter.  Merv ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc. From the air as it passes through the filter.  Merv ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that the filter can trap. Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a MERV rating of between 1 to 4.  These are relatively inexpensive, but they do NOT do a good job of filtering the air, because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns.  Filters with MERV ratings of between 5 to 8 are a better choice, and these filters will catch particles as small as 3 microns.  Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1 to a 3-micron range, and these filters are a great choice for homeowners who want the best particle control possible.  And finally, the most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16 and will stop particles as small as .3 microns. These filters are used in hospitals and other super-clean environments.IMPORTANT: If you decide to use a high-efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher, then it is very important that you remember to check the filter each month (which is easy to remember if you have signed up for your free reminders from Home-Wizard.com!).  And replace the filter if it looks dirty, otherwise, it can become blocked and cause your furnace blower to have to work harder, which will cost you more energy to operate it. So don’t get higher MERV rating filters unless you are sure that you will be replacing them often.The various types of filters include electrostatic, pleated, HEPA and activated carbon. Some are disposable and some are washable. But what really matters is the MERV rating, as described above.

How To Do-It-Yourself?

Replacing your furnace air filter is one of the easiest do-it-yourself tasks there is, once you learn how.  Here is a short YouTube video that shows the typical location of your furnace filter and how to replace it: replace the furnace filter.And here are the steps to follow for replacing your furnace filter:Step 1: Find out where your existing filter is located and read the size that is written on the side of it.Step 2: Decide what MERV rating is appropriate for your home situation (see above).Step 3: Purchase your filter. You might want to consider buying enough to last you the entire year, so you have them available as needed, without having to make extra trips or online orders.Step 4: Turn off your furnace. This is best to do right at the breaker, but you can also do it at your thermostat.Step 5: You will want to check the existing filter to see which direction the “airflow” arrow is pointing on it, as you will want to install the new filter in the same direction.  Most filters will have an airflow arrow printed right on it. However, if you are not 100% sure the direction is correct (for example if you have just moved into the home), then you can do what is called the “string test”: tie a string firmly to your finger, then turn your furnace blower on; next, bring your finger with the string on it near the opening where your filter opening is, and see which direction the air causes the string to flow. . . this is your air flow direction.  Just be sure to tie the string FIRMLY to your finger, so it doesn’t get sucked inside your furnace!Step 6: Remove your old filter.Step 7: Install your new filter, with the proper air flow direction.Step 8: Write the current date on the side of the new filter (in case you forget when it was changed).Step 9: Clean up any dust, debris, etc. Around your furnace.Step 10: Turn your furnace back on.Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Air Registers: Better Air Quality & Saving Energy

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers RogersIf you have air registers in your home for either air conditioning or heating, then you have what is called "forced air ventilation ductwork" in your home. And with this comes special issues for saving energy and ensuring healthy air quality.This article discusses what you can do to save energy and improve your indoor air quality from the forced air ventilation systems in your home.Your forced air ventilation ductwork has two types of systems: 1) distribution; and 2) supply. The supply system of ductwork draws air from places around your home, and delivers it to either your furnace or your air conditioner . . . Or in some homes, to both. The distribution system of your forced air ventilation ductwork takes the cooled (or warmed) air and sends it to other places around your home. When your air conditioning or heating system is running, you can put your hand over an air register and tell if it is supply or distribution duct by feeling which direction that the air is flowing.

SAVING ENERGY

Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. MichaelTo save energy with your forced air ventilation system, you should check the unfinished areas of your home (for example in your attic or basement), and see if any of your ductwork connections are leaking any air. Any air that is leaking is air that is not getting distributed properly for your home and is wasting energy. Instead of using duct tape to seal these duct leaks, instead use duct mastic, which is more effective and permanent (see cost and review of duct mastics). And while you are reviewing your ductwork, you should also check to see if there is any loose or missing insulation, especially in your unfinished areas. Without proper insulation, you will be again wasting energy.You will also want to be sure that none of your air registers (either supply or distribution) are being blocked by furniture, drapes, rugs, blankets, etc. Obstructing these vents prevent proper circulation of the air into or out of your room, and as a result, you have to run your air conditioning or heating system harder, which wastes energy.On the other hand, if your forced air ventilation ductwork is ONLY used for heating or cooling, then you will want to consider seasonally blocking the registers off completely when the system is not being used, especially if your ductwork goes through unfinished areas of your home. This helps keep out hot air in the summer, and cold air in the winter. And if you want to get a really tight seal on your registers, then in addition to closing the registers, you can also cover them with magnetic covers, or by even taping cardboard or paper over the registers.If you notice that some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, you can "balance" the system by adjusting registers and duct dampers. An unbalance forced air ventilation system can waste energy by getting you to run your heating or air conditioning system too hard to serve the areas that are being “starved” for capacity.And of course, you can also save energy by frequently changing (or washing, depending on the model) your system's air filters. A dirty air filter means your blower has to work harder and therefore wastes more energy.

HEALTH

Especially if someone in your family has allergies or asthma, then you will want to properly care for your forced air ventilation system.First, you will want to routinely clean inside of your air supply registers with a vacuum extension and remove any objects or debris that may have fallen in floor registers. Next, you will also want to vacuum the area around where your air filters are installed. If you put your hand around where your filter gets inserted, you will likely feel air being drawn into the spaces around the filter. If your furnace or air conditioning unit is in a dusty, unfinished area of your home, then dust that builds up in the area around your filter can get drawn into your ductwork and distributed around your home. And this is why you will want to routinely vacuum the dust and dirt from these areas.You can also improve the air quality in your home by upgrading the type of filter you use to one that is higher-efficiency, which will capture more pollutants and pollen. Filter efficiencies are measured by their MERV ratings, and you can read more about selecting the proper MERV rating filter in our article here: Guide to Choosing & Changing Your HVAC Air FiltersAnd finally, you can improve the air quality in your home by having your ductwork professionally cleaned to remove dust and mold.For a Home InspectionHome Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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