In the Market to Buy a House? Be a Snooper Shopper

Gene and Katie Hamilton
http://www.diyornot.com

When you’re looking at a house to buy it’s easy to be enamored by its location on a leafy street or the new kitchen cabinets and stylish decorating. But before you make an offer and pay an inspector to do a thorough inspection, do a little investigating yourself. Take a walk-through looking for telltale indications of a not-so-perfect house. If you end up buying the house, you’ll have a more realistic idea of its good and bad points and can negotiate the price accordingly.

Take notes to record what you find, a cell phone or camera for taking pictures and a flashlight to see into tight spaces.

Walk around the exterior of the house looking at the roof for missing or curled shingles. A pair of binoculars helps. Look for rust around the flashing and roof vent.

Look at the siding to see if it’s damaged or loose. Look for signs of mildew which are usually found under eaves, near trees or bushes too close to the siding and on the north side of the house.

Check out the system of gutters and downspouts (binoculars help here.) If it’s a one story house you can usually stand at an angle to see if the gutters are clean or filled with an accumulation of leaves or debris. If it happens to be raining you’re in luck because you can see if there are any leaks in the gutters and if the rainwater flows through the downspouts. At the base of downspouts there should be a diverter or splash block for runoff that carries the water away from the foundation of the house.

Next, go to the basement looking for signs water stains on the walls and floor. Also look on the wall and foundation for cracks and termite tunnels. A trail of them indicates they’re there or have been there and should be eradicated.

Look at the furnace for its last service date and hopefully it’s recent indicating it’s been maintained. Rust at the bottom of the furnace is a telltale of possible water damage.

Go up to the attic and crawl around if you have to, looking on the underside of the roof sheathing for stains.

This isn’t a complete list of what a certified inspector will look for but it should give you some initial background into how the systems of the house have been maintained, an important thing to know if you’re considering being its owner.

We hope you’ll visit us at www.diyornot.com when you’re looking for the cost of home improvement projects.

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Posted in Buying a House, Real Estate | Leave a comment

10 Easy Ways to Age Proof a Home

Rug tape

Rug tape

Thinking about age proofing your home? Here are common sense ideas to make your home an easy place to live whether you’re young or old, able or disabled.  Every home should be accident-proof so it’s a safe haven for everyone who lives there. These are simple solutions to make your home family-friendly so so you can stay in control – and in your home – as you age.

The picture is me with the help of Samantha, our grey tabbly, adding a rug tape to secure a throw rug.

1. Use nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways
2. Secure extension and appliance cords to the base shoe molding at the bottom of a wall with u-shaped staples
3. Tame the tangle of home electronic cables and wire with cord managers, covers and cable protectors
4. Remove throw rugs (especially at the top and bottom of a staircase) or secure them with a rug grip or rug tape
5. Install a grab bar in a tub or shower for safe footing
6. Increase bathroom lighting for putting on makeup or reading the tiny print label on medicine
7. Add under-cabinet lighting for chopping food or reading a recipe in the kitchen
8. Add rollout storage shelves in cabinets to easily see what’s inside
9. Add a second hand rail on the wall of a staircase and increase the lighting to assure safe passage
10. Bridge the gap between different floor levels of two rooms by installing a multi-level door threshold reducer so they are level

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of 100s of home improvement costs so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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January 2019 Home Check

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After all the holiday decorations are packed away and stored for another year and your home life schedule gets back to normal, your home probably seems empty like ours does when all things red and green are removed. It’s a good time to pay attention to your home and take a little time to assure that all its systems are clean and functioning in proper order. These 10 items are inspections and basic cleaning jobs to make sure all systems are working.

  • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
  • Check for leaks in forced air heat duct joints and seal with duct tape
  • Look for indoor condensation on windows and cure
  • Vacuum coils of refrigerator condenser
  • Check refrigerator door seal for airtightness by closing it on a dollar bill half in and half out. If it pulls out easily the hinge may need adjusting or the seal may need to be replaced
  • Inspect and clean the spray arm and strainer of dishwasher and flush with vinegar
  • Unclutter the utility closet and reorganize
  • Inspect air leaks in electrical outlets and install foam gaskets to seal them
  • Label the electrical outlets in the power circuit panel
  • Compile product warranties

If you’re considering any home repair and improvements in the coming year, visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of hundreds of project whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

Posted in January Home Checklist | Leave a comment

Holiday Puzzle for Kids of All Ages

Enjoying some quality time with the kids while you wait for Santa to arrive?  Here’s a word teaser to work with the kids, either online or print out copies and work with a pencil. It’s your call, either way, enjoy being with the kids this holiday season. Home for the Holidays

Visit us to find lots more puzzles and the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects at Do It Yourself or Not.

Posted in Christmas, Christmas crossword puzzle, crossword puzzle | Leave a comment

Make This Charming Log and Stick Reindeer

Diy192a You’re sure to be the envy of your neighborhood with this charming log reindeer on the front porch to welcome guests. Or position him in your garden or on a deck looking inside. Wherever the reindeer resides, he’ll be a popular addition to your holiday tradition. We’ve enjoyed ours for years, and the body parts can be taken apart and easily stored. This building project is especially fun for kids, who can gather all the body parts and assemble them.

Since the reindeer is made of unsplit firewood and tree branches, there’s no cost to make one, but you’ll see them selling for $25 to $50, depending on their size.

Here are some guidelines for the size of their parts: a log that’s 4 to 6 inches in diameter and about 20 inches long will make about a 6-inch head and 12-inch body. For legs, use four 24-inch long, 1-inch diameter branches and a 2-inch diameter branch for the neck. For antlers and a tail, find 1/2-inch branches about 8 to12 inches long.

You’ll need a saw, electric drill with spade bits, utility knife and some wood glue. Cut the firewood to make a body and head, and drill holes at angles for the neck, legs, antlers and tail. Whittle their ends to fit into the holes and glue on some button eyes. Decorate the neck with a colorful bow or bandana.

We hope you’ll visit us at our www.diyornot.com to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and advice about doing it yourself or hiring a professional contractor.

Posted in Christmas Reindeer, Christsmas, Log and stick reindeer | Leave a comment

Home Just-Do-It List In December

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There’s plenty of things to do around the house in December to prepare for the holidays – cleaning, entertaining, gift buying, gift wrapping, not to mention food shopping, tree trimming and decorations.

Before you get overwhelmed take a look at these 6 very basic tasks to keep your home systems working at this very busy time of year.

  • Replace filters in heating system and humidifier
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Clean range and oven
  • Sharpen cutlery
  • Tune up fireplace or wood stove
  • Inspect indoor and outdoor Christmas decorations and inspect lights and extension cords to see if replacements are needed

If you’re considering any home improvement projects after the holidays. visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing it yourself vs. hiring a contractor for  hundreds of projects.

Posted in December Home Maintenance Checklist, Do it yourself, home maintenance | Leave a comment

Avoid Insurance Claims for Winter Damage to Your Home

Gene and Katie Hamilton
http://www.diyornot.com

When an insurance company suggests how to prevent costly damage to your home from the ravages of winter weather it’s a good idea to listen. The Hartford has analyzed winter claims data from the past five years and surveyed nearly 200 claims adjusters to collect some really timely tips and trends to watch out for this winter. “We know winter weather can create challenges for homeowners,” said John Kinney, chief claim officer for The Hartford. “Our goal is to help people prepare for unexpected weather, protect what’s important to them and prevail over the season.”

Advance preparation can go a long way toward helping you ensure your home is prepared and protected in advance. And take the time to understand their insurance coverage you have so re-read the policy, or ask questions of your agent.

The three most costly claims are frozen pipes, hail damage and tree collapses.

Frozen Pipes

One of the most common and costliest cold weather claims is frozen pipes. While most common in the Northeast and Midwest, frozen pipes happen in all areas of the country and average about $18,000 per claim. The Hartford’s adjusters recommend learning where the water shut-off is before faced with a frozen pipe or water leak.

Hail Damage

Hail damage is another common and costly winter weather claim, especially in the South where it is three times more common than in other areas. Roof damage from hail is more likely at the end of winter and can lead to claims that average $10,000. Claims for hail damage are often filed late because the damage isn’t always easy to see. After large hail storm, a homeowner may want to consider hiring a professional to examine the roof if they’re not able to safely inspect it. Filing an insurance claim as soon as damage is noticed allows the insurance company to start working with the homeowner sooner to minimize the damage.

Tree Collapses

Wind damage and tree collapses are another common and costly winter weather claim. Trees in the West are generally larger than other parts of the country and claims in this area average more than $10,000. By comparison, tree collapse claims range on average from $3,000 to $5,000 in the Northeast, Midwest and South. The Hartford recommends regularly assessing the trees and other vegetation on the property. Weakened tree limbs can easily come down in windy weather so the adjusters suggest maintaining and trimming trees near the home that could fall on the house, other buildings or vehicles during a storm.

Be Pro Active

Seasonal maintenance is critical:. Have the heating system serviced on an annual basis, which includes testing to make sure the heat is working throughout the home. It’s also important to insulate any pipes that are susceptible to freezing and unhook hoses from outdoor faucets.

Be prepared: Move vehicles off the street and/or away from large tree limbs and having the snow blower serviced. Become familiar with how to trip the manual release on overhead garage door openers and having shovels ready ahead of the storm.

Keep supplies on hand: Be ready for an extended power outage and have bottled water and non-perishable foods, clothing and blankets, batteries and flashlights. Don’t forget a snow shovel and supply of rock salt or sand.

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

Despite the best laid plans, it may be necessary to file an insurance claim after winter storm damage. The Hartford’s adjusters indicated the most common claim filing mistakes made by homeowners are: not trying to mitigate or limit damage while waiting for an adjuster to arrive, waiting to file a claim and throwing away items without taking an inventory or capturing documentation.

Visit wwww.diyornot.com and compare the DIY and Contractor costs for hundreds of improvement projects.

Posted in Hartford Insurance, Winter damage to homes | Leave a comment