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La Nina and Your Casa

Austin’s weather gurus say we’re in for a mild La Nina weather experience, starting now. What that means for us is a warmer and drier fall and winter. So now’s a good time to locate leaks water issues in your house.

1) Are your gutters overflowing? Clean them out! I know it’s messy but someone has to do it. Otherwise you’ve got water overflowing the gutters and causing potential foundation and landscape woes. The picture above is MY house…clearly our gutter-cleaner is falling down on the job!

2) Walk through each room and look up. Do you see any water stains? If so, have them checked sooner rather than later.  Again—sadly—the picture above is my house.

Limit Your Liability: Clean Out The Bats In Your Belfry For Halloween!

Halloween is one of my family’s favorite holidays! We love to take the kids trick-or-treating and, since they’re three, we get most of their candy. But with all of those cute kiddos our property, we have a list of things we do to keep things safe and limit our liability.

Leave the Porch Light

You may also want to install additional lights in the front yard to avoid someone tripping over something.

Keep Walkways and Your Front Yard Clear

Move bikes, garden hoses, potted plants and skateboards away from areas that are likely to be walked on by groups of people.  Decorative items and Jack-O-Lanterns should also be positioned at a safe distance from crowds to prevent people from knocking them down.

Keep Your Pets Somewhere Safe

Fido or Kitty need to be properly confined in a safe place on Halloween when there will be many visitors and trick-or-treaters coming and leaving. The new sights and sounds may scare them and that can lead to aggressive or unexpected behavior.

Practice Outdoor Fire Safety

Whenever possible, use votive candles or battery-operated lights instead of a candle in your Jack-O-Lantern.  Also, don’t overload electrical outlets with too many lights for creepy special effects. I’m all for haunted houses (our neighbor has a haunted front entryway), but don’t risk having a fire.

This isn’t meant to scare you but to keep you and your neighborhood goblins protected. Have fun and look for pictures later this week from our Halloween night!!

 

Don’t Let Old Man Winter Sneak Up on You

Cooler weather will be here faster than you think (and, no, I don’t mean 90 degrees). It’s a good idea to check out some potential problems on the outside of your home before our unpredictable forecast kicks off. Here are three weather-related repairs you may need:

1) Roofs get the worst of your weather. Shingles get more brittle as they age and a strong wind can rip one off. If you notice a weather-broken shingle the roof may be nearing the end of its life.

2) Now let’s talk about the fascia and soffit sections of the roof—commonly known as the overhang. Improper flashing or a leak can really ruin the wood, and eventually it will rot.

3) Water-damaged railings and balusters: Treads tend to rot quickly because water can collect on flat surfaces. When that happens wooden balusters can soak up the water, which will eventually cause them to rot from the ground up. That can be dangerous for anyone leaning on your railing.

Whose Side Are You On? Protecting Your Siding

Older homes may have siding that’s prone to water damage. The previous owners of our house hired irrigators who installed the sprinklers about four inches from our back wall (check out our picture!). After years of being pounded by sprayers, the wood finally gave out. We replaced the siding and hired a handy man to move the sprinklers forward.

The most common reason for rotten siding is when rainwater splashes up from the ground; luckily you’ll likely just need to replace the bottom few rows. You may also need to replace the sheeting behind the siding and add a vapor barrier. We used fiber cement material and it has worked wonderfully and actually matched the paint! It also holds latex really well.

Remember, you siding isn’t there just to dress the outside of your house…it also protects what’s inside.

Some Like It Hot! Maintaining Your Water Heater

Some Like It Hot! Maintaining Your Water Heater

 

I bet most folks will agree with me that here’s nothing better than a hot shower first thing in the morning (though my other half prefers a warm bath). When you’re unexpectedly hit with a cold shower, it can be a rude awakening. Did you know that just like your AC or fridge, your water heater needs love too?

You might not always realize it but water has sediment suspended in it, and as the water sits in your water heater these particles will often settle to the bottom of the tank. That sediment can cause damage to the floor of your water heater. Most water heaters should be drained and cleaned at least once a year. Next time you have your semi-annual HVAC checkup, ask them to show you how!

Don’t Let Time Slip Away: The One Year Home Warranty

Don’t Let Time Slip Away: The One Year Home Warranty

It’s been almost one year since you moved into your new home. Happy Anniversary! We want to remind you that the one-year warranty on your new home will soon expire. This may be your last opportunity to inform your builder of items that need repair or improvement, or were not constructed and /or installed properly the first time. These items should be corrected before your builder is relieved of his/ her responsibility under the one-year warranty. You should not have to pay for things that were not done right the first time.

Make an appointment for an inspection of your new home and have an inspector provide you with a detailed report. It will outline items that may be covered within the builder’s warranty and which may need to be fixed before it’s too late. This service may be especially important if an independent inspector did not evaluate your home when you purchased it (also called the Final Walk Through).

Have you checked the roof construction in the attic? Is your insulation placed correctly? Is your attic ventilation working? Are all of your receptacles wired correctly? Is your electrical system grounded properly? Are cracks developing in the structure? These are some of the common warranty issues revealed in a typical home inspection. A good inspector will check over 600 items & include a rooftop inspection (where possible). Most one-year inspections take approximately three hours and you’ll get a full report.

Your Inspector should:

• investigate any particular aspect of a property (if qualified & can be safely accessed), upon your request
• be a Licensed professional (if required in your state)
• be a member in good standing with a national organization like BBB or other similar agency
• have professional liability insurance, as well as insurance for property damage
• not be related to, friends with or employed for the builder, developer, seller or in any other way have a conflict in serving the client’s best interest. Ask before hiring
• not offer to make repairs or sell any other type of service while in the process of performing the inspection.
Important: Cosmetic (blemishes in drywall finish, paint finish, stains etc) issues are not usually part of our report. Discuss the limitations of the inspection prior to hiring your inspector.

Why You Need an Inspection

Why You Need an Inspection

The state of Texas doesn’t mandate that you need to have an inspection done before buying a home. You are free to purchase one without having anyone come poke around. But is that a good idea?

Absolutely not! Home inspections are an essential step in the home buying process, even if they’re not required.

What it boils down to is that an inspection gives you a good look at your home, inside and out. It’s a chance to know the very bones of the house before you buy. Having an inspection done is like taking a snap shot of the house: it looked this way at this time. You use that information to plan the best way to buy your home.

The upfront time and money cost of an inspection is a part of your investment into your home.
You shouldn’t scrimp on the cost of an inspection. You’re paying for the experience of the inspector, and you want the best for your home.

Start your life in your new home on the best foot possible. Make sure to get an inspection done that might help protect you from buying a lemon.