Author: onlineimage

Pillar To Post Newsletter: March 2019

Spring cleaning

SEASONAL SENSE

Your Spring Cleaning Checklist!

Get your home ready for spring with these top tips. Tackle one space at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

  • Declutter your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Give away or donate any unneeded items that are in good condition.
  • Check the pantry and discard expired items and stale spices.
  • Clean the shelves and install fresh shelf liner.
  • Vacuum nooks & crannies in upholstered furniture.
  • Air out throw pillows outside, weather permitting.
  • Dust or vacuum window blinds. Have drapes cleaned per the instructions.
  • Check outside your home for damaged or missing caulk around windows and doors and repair any problem areas.
  • Have the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  • Clean the windows inside and out for sparkle and shine.
  • Place a pot of bright spring flowers by the door to greet your guests and brighten the neighborhood.

Last but not least, pat yourself on the back for a job well done!


GETTING PERSONAL

Take a Time-Out Just For You

personal time

Need to create some space in your life for yourself? Check out some of our favorite tips for sneaking in some peace.

EARLY RISER:

Try getting up earlier than the rest of your family and use the quiet time for yourself, especially on the weekends.

TAKE TURNS:

If possible, designate another family member to prepare dinner at least once a week. They’ll learn a lot – and you’ll enjoy the results.

TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME:

Drive a different route home from work or errands. You’re bound to notice something interesting along the way.

TURN OFF:

Shut down your devices way before bedtime and avoid social media all night. You won’t miss a thing.


home air quality tips

HOUSEWISE

Indoor Air Quality

Improve your home’s air quality by limiting pollutants, allergens, and other irritants that can harm your family’s health.

HOLD THE HUMIDITY

High humidity promotes mold and dust mite growth. Keeping indoor humidity below 50% will help prevent further infestation. To reduce humidity, use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms, make sure the dryer is properly vented to the outdoors and address any water leaks or condensation issues. Use a dehumidifier in any especially humid locations such as the basement.

COLLECT THE DUST

Reducing dust can also improve air quality. Dust can be composed of pollen, mold spores, lint, animal dander and even bacteria. It’s impossible to completely rid a home of dust, there are ways to control it. Regular use of a HEPA filter vacuum should help. Change or clean the furnace filter regularly. High-quality furnace filters are more expensive than ordinary types, but are more effective at filtering dust, pet hair, and other particles.

WIDE OPEN

Opening doors and windows whenever possible can also help with indoor air quality. Your home will have better air circulation and “breathe” more easily, and you’ll get to enjoy the fresh air on a nice day.

CHEMICAL SENSE

Use less-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Dispose of old paint, garden chemicals and other products that could leak fumes. Check with your trash collection provider on how to properly dispose of such items.

Taking these simple steps can help give your home a breath of fresh air


HOME SMARTS

Test Your Know-how: Take Our Quiz!

  1. True or False: It’s a good idea for home buyers to attend the home inspection.
  2. Which statement is correct about radon?
    1. Radon seeps into homes from underground.
    2. It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
    3. Radon is colorless and odorless.
    4. All of the above.
  3. True or False: GFCI and AFCI receptacles are different names for the same thing.
  4. True or False: Foundation cracks can only mean bad news.
  5. Which of these is NOT recommended for a home to be inspection ready?
    1. Updating faucets and fixtures.
    2. Putting fresh batteries in smoke detectors.
    3. Having the furnace and air conditioning serviced.
    4. Making sure there’s clear access to the water heater, electrical panel and main water shutoff.

home inspection quiz

ANSWERS:

  1. True! Attending the inspection is a great way to learn about the home and offers the opportunity to ask questions along the way.
  2. D. Request radon monitoring to determine if your home has an elevated level of radon.
  3. False. In short, GFCIs help prevent electrical shock. AFCIs help prevent electrical fires.
  4. False. Some types of cracks are common and aren’t always structurally significant. A professional evaluation can determine if cracking is a problem.
  5. A. For inspection purposes, outdated faucets and/or fixtures don’t matter as long as they work properly.

asbestos information

INSPECTION INSIGHTS

Asbestos: What You Need To Know

Maybe you’ve been told your home has asbestos. Do you need to worry? We’re here to educate and inform!

For years, asbestos was widely used in wall and ceiling insulation, vinyl flooring, insulation for heating ducts, pipe wrap for water heating systems, roof tiles, acoustic ceiling tiles and much more. Many of these materials are still present in thousands of homes. Breathing asbestos fibers over a long period of time can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Is it always a problem? Asbestos poses a health risk when the fibers become airborne, which can happen if materials are crumbling or damaged. If there is minor localized damage, it can be professionally repaired by encapsulating the asbestos fibers with a specialized sealant. If the asbestos-containing material is in good condition, the best course of action may be to simply leave it alone.

The biggest risk is when homeowners and other non-professionals attempt asbestos removal themselves. Disturbing asbestos usually makes it dangerous. If it must be removed, it’s a job for an expert who will also properly dispose of it. In some cases, such as a home renovation, asbestos removal is the only option.


gardening season

HOME & GARDEN

Gear Up For Gardening

The start of the gardening season fills everyone with optimism and energy. Use these ideas to jump-start this year’s pride and joy:

  • As soon as weather allows, rake up winter debris and old mulch from planting areas.
  • Remove any plants that have died over the winter. But first make sure they aren’t just dormant!
  • Have pruners, loppers, hoes and other cutting tools sharpened.
  • Pulling weeds when they’re still small makes the job much easier.
  • Add compost to planting beds for better soil and healthy plants.
  • Check the irrigation system for leaks and broken sprinkler heads and emitters.
  • Sketch out your planting plan for summer crops and blooming plants.

Now you’ll be ready to plant, grow and enjoy the beauty and bounty of your garden!

Pre-sale Tips to Use Now

Pre-sale tips

Many home sellers often overlook easy and relatively inexpensive fixes that not only increase visual appeal, but may also add to a home’s selling price. While major remodeling is costly and may not address the needs and tastes of prospective buyers, these repair and maintenance suggestions have universal appeal and may help a home sell more quickly – and for a better price.

INTERIOR

  • Bathrooms and the kitchen must get a deep cleaning. Sellers should consider a cleaning company that offers “move in / move out” cleaning services to do the job.
  • If kitchen cabinet exteriors are in bad shape, refacing may be an option. Far less expensive than new cabinetry, refacing can give old and worn cabinets new life and can visually renew a kitchen. Alternatively, many cabinet materials can also be painted, for an updated look without costing a lot.
  • Consider replacing kitchen or bathroom counters with a neutral colored laminate surface if the current material is badly worn or stained. This gives the room a fresh appearance and, most importantly, prevents potential buyers from focusing on an eyesore.
  • Fresh paint on the walls and ceilings will do wonders for all rooms in the house. Stick to neutral tones so that buyers aren’t distracted by colors that make a statement. They’ll be able to imagine themselves and their furniture in the space much more easily.
  • If carpet now covers up hardwood floors, consider having it removed to expose the hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are desirable, so they should be shown off. If carpet is to remain, it should be thoroughly cleaned.

EXTERIOR

  • If the home’s exterior needs painting, get it done. Buyers notice if paint is faded and peeling. If the paint is in good shape overall, renew the doors and trim with a fresh coat.
  • Clean the windows inside and out so they sparkle. It’s amazing what a difference this can make in a home’s appearance. Hiring a professional window cleaning company is the easiest and safest way to get the job done on a multi-story home.
  • Clear clutter from the yard, keep the lawn mowed, and trim any overgrown shrubs that detract from the home’s appearance. The home should look well maintained even at first glance.
  • Place pots of bright, colorful flowers along an entry path and near the doors to add a cheery, welcoming touch.

Homeowners should save major remodeling projects – and the budget required – for their new home, not the one they are about to sell. But implementing some of the steps above can increase the appeal to prospective buyers without a huge investment in time or money.

Why Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

Why should your sellers consider a pre-listing home inspection? A pre-listing inspection can uncover previously unknown problems – major and minor – allowing sellers the opportunity to make repairs, updates or replacements as needed or as they wish.

Homes that are already on the market can be at a disadvantage if problems are revealed during a subsequent home inspection. Issues that you and the seller were previously unaware of could keep a property from selling at its highest potential price, when it’s too late to address them. A home in better condition will normally sell for more than one with problems that could have been corrected. Examples include a roof that needs replacing, heating that functions poorly and plumbing fixtures that leak.

By addressing these types of issues before the home goes on the market, you can list a home with greater knowledge of its condition. This can result in cleaner offers and a smoother transaction for both parties. Having well-informed sellers and buyers will work to everyone’s advantage, including yours.

Our Pillar To Post home inspections include a comprehensive report, complete with photos, printed on-site so there’s no waiting for results. This allows your sellers to get the information they need right away so they can decide on their next steps prior to listing. You can also share the report with potential buyers. This is especially important when it comes to issues that might not be addressed or repaired prior to sale. If repairs are made prior to listing, be sure the seller can present records of the work being done, including any necessary permits.

With a pre-listing inspection in hand, you can market your sellers’ homes with greater confidence and for a better price.

Pillar To Post Newsletter January 2019


Small home, big storage

PLACES AND SPACES

Small Home, Big Storage

While “tiny houses” take storage strategies to an extreme, accessible, well planned storage will make daily life easier in any smaller home.

The Drop Zone

Most people use a back or garage entrance more often than the front door. These entryways can incorporate drop zones where everyone can unload their backpacks, shoes, outerwear and more. Baskets under benches provide both seating and storage. Some drop zones incorporate a dedicated shelf or cubby for each family member’s gear.

Beyond the Office

These spaces are often used not only as an office, but for homework, projects, and more.

Repurpose closets by replacing hanging rods with shelving and drawers. A dresser can be used to store project materials for easy access. With multiple users, this multi-function room, like the drop zone, needs to have a workable system that everyone can follow.

Pantry Solutions

The smaller kitchens found in smaller homes need to at least accommodate kitchen staples and big, bulky items such as large mixing bowls, seldom-used small appliances and serving pieces. Pantry shelving for food items should be relatively shallow so that everything is easy to find and reach. This type of shelving can even be added to a niche in the wall between two studs.

Smaller homes aren’t going away, and continue to be especially popular as starter homes and with downsizers. With efficient and practical storage solutions, even a smaller home can accommodate the needs of most families.


HOME & LIFE

Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Cozy Factor

cozy home

Try these surefire tips to warm up your home in the New Year and beyond.

  • Set up your own hot cocoa bar with cinnamon, peppermint and marshmallow add-ins. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
  • Keep a basket of soft, warm slippers or socks inside your entryway for guests.
  • Candles, scented or unscented, will add instant visual warmth.
  • Simmer cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel in a pot of water. Reheat to keep your home filled with fragrance all day.


zero clearance fireplaces

HOME MATTERS

Zero Clearance Fireplaces

There’s nothing like enjoying a crackling, wood burning fireplace on a chilly evening or weekend. But what if your house didn’t happen to come with one? Enter the zero clearance fireplace.

Zero clearance refers to a prefabricated fireplace unit that can be installed against combustible surfaces such as walls or floors. A prefab chimney is then run up the inside or outside of the home.

Use a Qualified Installer

Not all types of zero clearance fireplaces are suitable for every situation, so consult an expert if you consider getting one. This is not a DIY project.

Is It Allowed?

Make sure you check local regulations to see if new wood burning fireplaces are approved in your community.

Glass Doors

Most zero clearance fireplaces have glass doors. In some models the doors can be closed while the fire is burning and in others the doors must be left open.

Maintenance

Like its traditional wood burning cousins, a zero clearance fireplace can have dangerous creosote buildup in the chimney flue and must be cleaned regularly to avoid a chimney fire.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Burn only seasoned hardwood
  • Load the logs near the back of the firebox
  • Use a spark screen
  • Make sure your smoke and CO alarms are functioning
  • Never leave a fire unattended

Relax and enjoy!



Is radon on your radar?

INSPECTION INSIGHTS

Is Radon on Your Radar?

Radon is a naturally occurring odorless radioactive gas that seeps into homes from underground. Excessive levels of radon can be dangerous to your family’s health. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
  • An estimated 1 in 15 homes in the US and Canada has an elevated level of radon.
  • High levels of radon can be found in any type of home – new, old, snug, drafty, with or without a basement.
  • Testing is the only way to determine if your home is affected.

A qualified radon inspector will:

  • Test for unsafe levels of radon inside your home.
  • Analyze the data and report on results.
  • Recommend steps to reduce excessive radon levels if found.

Get peace of mind for you and your family. Schedule a radon inspection today!



Feel better every day

LIFE LESSONS

Try These 5 Favorite Tips and Feel Better Every Day

No matter what time of the year, these easy-to-fit-in ideas can make a difference every day – and not just for you.

  1. Reach out to a friend or relative. Even a quick text to touch base will do.
  2. Put your to-do list in writing to help clear your thoughts, especially at night.
  3. Make a cup of coffee or tea and just listen calmly to the sounds around you.
  4. Take a quick walk, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  5. Greet everyone with “How’s your day going?” You may be the only one who asks.

Feel better



All about garage doors

HOME MATTERS

All About Garage Doors

Overhead garage doors may be the largest and heaviest moving object in most homes. For safety and reliability, make sure it’s up to date and kept in proper working order.

Safety First

Older garage doors can lack some of the safety features required in newer installations. Automatic openers must have sensors, usually a pair of electric eyes, that will stop and reverse the door if a person or pet moves across its path.

Power Out?

What about getting the door open during a power outage? Use the manual release – in most cases it’s a short red cord that hangs down close to the center of the door, inside the garage. Practice how to operate the release in case you need to get a car out of the garage during a power outage.

Smooth Sailing

Maintaining the door is important for safety and for quiet, smooth operation. A garage door specialist can provide periodic maintenance, or you can do much of this yourself, including lubricating the springs and hinges. The track where the wheels run should never be lubricated for safety reasons. A professional can also check the door balance and alignment and make any necessary adjustments.

Controlled Access

When moving into a new home, change the remote control code immediately for security purposes, just as you would re-key or change the home’s door locks. If the remote can’t be reprogrammed, chances are, it’s an outdated system, and should be upgraded for safety reasons.

A garage door and opener, with proper maintenance, will help ensure safe operation and should last for many trouble-free years.