Home Inspections – A Question and Answer Guide

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, structure, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (buyer, seller, or homeowner) a better understanding of the home’s general condition. Most often it is a buyer who requests an inspection of the home he or she is serious about purchasing. A home inspection delivers data so that decisions about the purchase can be confirmed or questioned, and can uncover serious and/or expensive to repair defects that the seller/owner may not be aware of. It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor does it address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect a client in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.] A home inspection should not be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear for the home’s age and location. A home inspection can also include, for extra fees, Radon gas testing, water testing, energy audits, pest inspections, pool inspections, and several other specific items that may be indigenous to the region of the country where the inspection takes place. Home inspections are also used (less often) by a seller before listing the property to see if there are any hidden problems that they are unaware of, and also by homeowners simply wishing to care for their homes, prevent surprises, and keep the home investment value as high as possible.

The important results to pay attention to in a home inspection are:

1. Major defects, such as large differential cracks in the foundation; structure out of level or plumb; decks not installed or supported properly, etc. These are items that are expensive to fix, which we classify as items requiring more than 2% of the purchase price to repair.

2. Things that could lead to major defects – a roof flashing leak that could get bigger, damaged downspouts that could cause backup and water intrusion, or a support beam that was not tied in to the structure properly.

3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed electrical wiring, lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) in kitchens and bathrooms, lack of safety railing on decks more than 30 inches off the ground, etc.

Your inspector will advise you about what to do about these problems. He/she may recommend evaluation – and on serious issues most certainly will – by licensed or certified professionals who are specialists in the defect areas. For example, your inspector will recommend you call a licensed building engineer if they find sections of the home that are out of alignment, as this could indicate a serious structural deficiency.

Home Inspections are only done by a buyer after they sign a contract, right?

This is not true! As you will see when you read on, a home inspection can be used for interim inspections in new construction, as a maintenance tool by a current homeowner, a proactive technique by sellers to make their home more sellable, and by buyers wanting to determine the condition of the potential home.

Sellers, in particular, can benefit from getting a home inspection before listing the home. Here are just a few of the advantages for the seller:

· The seller knows the home! The home inspector will be able to get answers to his/her questions on the history of any problems they find.

· A home inspection will help the seller be more objective when it comes to setting a fair price on the home.

· The seller can take the report and make it into a marketing piece for the home.

· The seller will be alerted to any safety issues found in the home before they open it up for open house tours.

· The seller can make repairs leisurely instead being in a rush after the contract is signed.

Why should I get a home inspection?

Your new home has dozens of systems and over 10,000 parts – from heating and cooling to ventilation and appliances. When these systems and appliances work together, you experience comfort, energy savings, and durability. Weak links in the system, however, can produce assorted problems leading to a loss in value and shortened component life. Would you buy a used car without a qualified mechanic looking at it? Your home is far more complicated, and to have a thorough inspection that is documented in a report arms you with substantial information on which to make decisions.

Why can’t I do the inspection myself?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill, and objectivity needed to inspect a home themselves. By using the services of a professional home inspector, they gain a better understanding of the condition of the property; especially whether any items do not “function as intended” or “adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling” or “warrant further investigation” by a specialist. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist and is broadly trained in every home system.

Why can’t I ask a family member who is handy or who is a contractor to inspect my new home?

Although your nephew or aunt may be very skilled, he or she is not trained or experienced in professional home inspections and usually lacks the specialized test equipment and knowledge required for an inspection. Home inspection training and expertise represent a distinct, licensed profession that employs rigorous standards of practice. Most contractors and other trade professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they themselves purchase a home!

What does a home inspection cost?

This is often the first question asked but the answer tells the least about the quality of the inspection. Fees are based according to size, age and various other aspects of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally start under $300. An average price for a 2,000 square foot home nationally is about $350-$375. What you should pay attention to is not the fee, but the qualifications of your inspector. Are they nationally certified (passed the NHIE exam)? Are they state certified if required?

How long does the inspection take?

This depends upon the size and condition of the home. You can usually figure 1.2 hours for every 1,000 square feet. For example, a 2,500 square foot house would take about 3 hours. If the company also produces the report at your home, that will take an additional 30-50 minutes.

Do all homes require a home inspection?

Yes and No. Although not required by law in most states, we feel that any buyer not getting a home inspection is doing themselves a great disservice. They may find themselves with costly and unpleasant surprises after moving into the home and suffer financial headaches that could easily have been avoided.

Should I be at the inspection?

It’s a great idea for you be present during the inspection – whether you are buyer, seller, or homeowner. With you there, the inspector can show you any defects and explain their importance as well as point out maintenance features that will be helpful in the future. If you can’t be there, it is not a problem since the report you receive will be very detailed. If you are not present, then you should be sure to ask your inspector to explain anything that is not clear in the report. Also read the inspection agreement carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not covered in the inspection. If there is a problem with the inspection or the report, you should raise the issues quickly by calling the inspector, usually within 24 hours. If you want the inspector to return after the inspection to show you things, this can be arranged and is a good idea, however, you will be paying for the inspector’s time on a walkthrough since this was not included in the original service.

Should the seller attend the home inspection that has been ordered by the buyer?

The seller will be welcome at the inspection (it is still their home) although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. The conversation that the inspector has with the buyer may be upsetting to the seller if the seller was unaware of the items being pointed out, or the seller may be overly emotional about any flaws. This is a reason why the seller might want to consider getting their own inspection before listing the home.

Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, cannot not pass or fail a house. The inspector will objectively describe the home’s physical condition and indicate which items are in need of repair or replacement.

What is included in the inspection?

The following list is not exhaustive. Not all of these may be in the inspection you get, but the inspector will be following a standardized checklist for the home:

· Site drainage and grading

· Driveway

· Entry Steps, handrails

· Decks

· Masonry

· Landscape (as it relates to the home)

· Retaining walls

· Roofing, flashings, chimneys, and attic

· Eaves, soffits, and fascias

· Walls, doors, windows, patios, walkways

· Foundation, basement, and crawlspaces

· Garage, garage walls, floor, and door operation

· Kitchen appliances (dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop/hoods, microwave, disposal, trash compactor)

· Laundry appliances (washer and dryer)

· Ceilings, walls, floors

· Kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets

· Windows and window gaskets

· Interior doors and hardware

· Plumbing systems and fixtures

· Electrical system, panels, entrance conductors

· Electrical grounding, GFCI, outlets

· Smoke (fire) detectors

· Ventilation systems and Insulation

· Heating equipment and controls

· Ducts and distribution systems

· Fireplaces

· Air Conditioning and controls

· Heat Pumps and controls

· Safety items such as means of egress, TPRV valves, railings, etc.

Other items that are not a part of the standard inspection can be added for an additional fee:

· Radon Gas Test

· Water Quality Test

· Termite Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Gas Line Leak Test (usually performed by the gas company)

· Sprinkler System Test

· Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection

· Mold Screening (sometimes performed by a separate company)

· Septic System Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Alarm System (usually performed by a separate company)

We recommend getting a Radon Test if your prospective home falls into an area of the country with known Radon seepage, since Radon gas produces cancer second only to cigarette smoking and can be easily mitigated by installing a vent system. We also recommend a water test to make sure you do not have bacteria in the water supply. Water can also be tested for Radon.

What is not included in the inspection?

Most people assume that everything is inspected in depth on inspection day. This misunderstanding has caused many a homebuyer to be upset with their inspector. The inspections we do are not exhaustive and there is a good reason for this. If you hired someone with licenses for heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, engineering, etc. to inspect your house, it would take about 14 hours and cost you about $2000! It is much more practical to hire a professional inspector who has generalist knowledge of home systems, knows what to look for, and can recommend further inspection by a specialist if needed. Your inspector is also following very specific guidelines as he/she inspects your home. These are either national guidelines (ASHI – American Society of Home Inspectors, InterNACHI – International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or state guidelines. These guidelines are carefully written to protect both your home and the inspector. Here are some examples: We are directed to not turn systems on if they were off at the time of the inspection (safety reasons); we are not allowed to move furniture (might harm something); not allowed to turn on water if it is off (possible flooding), and not allowed to break through a sealed attic hatch (possible damage). The downside of this practice is that by not operating a control, by not seeing under the furniture, and not getting into the attic or crawlspace, we will might miss identifying a problem. However, put into perspective, the chances of missing something serious because of this is quite low, and the guideline as it relates to safety and not harming anything in the home is a good one. There are other items that 95% of inspectors consider outside a normal inspection, and these include inspecting most things that are not bolted down (installed in the home) such as electronics, low voltage lighting, space heaters, portable air conditioners, or specialized systems such as water purifiers, alarm systems, etc.

What if there are things you can’t inspect (like snow on the roof)?

It just so happens that some days the weather elements interfere with a full home inspection! There isn’t much we can do about this either. If there is snow on the roof we will tell you we were unable to inspect it. Of course we will be looking at the eves and the attic, and any other areas where we can get an idea of condition, but we will write in the report that we could not inspect the roof. It is impractical for us to return another day once the snow melts, because we have full schedules. However, you can usually pay an inspector a small fee to return and inspect the one or two items they were unable to inspect when they were there the first time. This is just the way things go. If you ask the inspector for a re-inspection, they will usually inspect the items then at no extra charge (beyond the re-inspection fee).

Will the inspector walk on the roof?

The inspector will walk on the roof if it is safe, accessible, and strong enough so that there is no damage done to it by walking on it. Some roofs – such as slate and tile, should not be walked on. Sometimes because of poor weather conditions, extremely steep roofs, or very high roofs, the inspector will not be able to walk the roof. The inspector will try to get up to the edge though, and will also use binoculars where accessibility is a problem. They will also examine the roof from the upper windows if that is possible. There is a lot the inspector can determine from a visual examination from a ladder and from the ground, and they will be able to tell a lot more from inside the attic about the condition of the roof as well.

Should I have my house tested for Radon? What exactly is Radon?

In many areas of the country, the answer is a definite yes. You can ask your real estate agent about this or go on to the internet for a radon map of the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that’s formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.

Health officials have determined that radon gas is a serious carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform a radon measurement test, which your home inspector can do. Make sure the person conducting your test has been trained to The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) standards.

What about a newly constructed home? Does it need a home inspection?

Yes! In fact, we find far more problems, some quite serious, in newly constructed homes than in homes that have been lived in for years. This is not due to your builder’s negligence – he/she has done the best job they could with subcontractors and planning – it’s just that there are so many systems in a home, that it is close to impossible to inspect everything, and correct it before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Then, for some reason, the subcontractors no longer want to work on the home, and final jobs and details are missed. We recommend getting several professional home inspections near the completion stages of the home to discover everything that should be corrected. If the house is still new but sitting for a while before sale, it’s even more important to get a home inspection. We have seen water lines not hooked up, plumbing lines not hooked up, sewer lines not hooked up, vents not hooked up, and a variety of other serious but easily correctable problems!

I am having a home built. The builder assures me he will inspect everything. Should I have an independent inspector make periodic inspections?

Absolutely yes! No matter how good your builder is, he/she WILL miss things. They are so concerned with the house, they get so close to their work, as do the subcontractors, that important items can, and will be, overlooked. Have a professional inspector make at least 4-6 interim inspections. They will be worth their weight in gold.

What is the Pre-Inspection Agreement?

Most service professionals have a service agreement, and home inspection is no different. In fact, there is enough confusion about what a home inspection should deliver that the agreement is even more important. Some homeowners who get a home inspection expect everything in the home to be perfect after the repairs. This is not the case! Imagine getting a call from a homeowner a year later who says the toilet is not flushing – remember that the inspection is a moment in time snapshot. In the inspection agreement the inspector is clear about what the inspection delivers and the things that are not covered, as well as what you should do if you are not pleased with the services. We really think that by reviewing this before-hand you will understand much more about the inspection and be happier with the results. A home inspection does not guard against future problems, nor does it guarantee that all problems will be found.

What kind of report will I get following the inspection?

There are as many versions of a “report” as there are inspection companies. Guidelines dictate that the inspector deliver a written report to the client. This can range from a handwritten checklist that has multiple press copies without pictures and 4 pages long to a computer generated professionally produced report with digital pictures that is 35 pages long and can be converted to Adobe PDF for storage and emailing. Be sure to check with your inspector about the report he or she uses. We recommend the computer generated report, since the checklist is more detailed and easier for the homeowner/buyer/seller to detail out the issues with photographs. In this modern age, we feel the reports must be web accessible and e-mailable to match the technologies most of us are using.

There are some great things you can use the report for in addition to the wealth of information it simply gives you on your new home:

· Use the report as a checklist and guide for the contractor to make repairs and improvements or get estimates and quotes from more than one contractor.

· Use the report as a budgeting tool using the inspector’s recommendations and the remaining expected life of components to keep the property in top shape.

· If you are a seller, use the report to make repairs and improvements, raising the value of the home and impressing the buyers. Then have a re-inspection and use this second report as a marketing tool for prospective buyers.

· Use the report as a “punch list” on a re-inspection and as a baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Will the report be emailable or available as an Adobe PDF file?

Yes. As discussed in the last question, you will probably want your inspector to be using the latest reporting technology.

What if I think the inspector missed something?

Inspectors are human, and yes, they do miss items. However, they routinely use advanced tools and techniques to reduce the possibility that they will miss something. This includes very detailed checklists, reference manuals, computer based lists, and a methodical always-done-the-same-way of physically moving around your home. That is one of the reasons that an inspector can miss an item when they get interrupted. The inspector will have a set way of resuming the inspection if this happens. If, in the end, something IS missed, call the inspector and discuss it. It may warrant the inspector returning to view something that you found. Remember, the inspector is doing the very best job they know how to do, and probably did not miss the item because they were lax in their technique or did not care.

What if the inspector tells me I should have a professional engineer or a licensed plumber or other professional contractor in to look at something they found? Isn’t this “passing the buck”?

You may be disappointed that further investigation is required, but, believe us, your inspector is doing exactly what they should be doing. The purpose of the inspection is to discover defects that affect your safety and the functioning of the home; the inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Our code of ethics as well as national and state guidelines dictate that only contractors that are licensed in their specialty field should work on these systems and areas. When they tell you that a specialist is needed, there may be a bigger, more critical issue that you need to know about. If you move into the home without getting these areas checked by a qualified specialist, you could be in for some nasty and expensive surprises. The inspector does not want to cause you any more expense or worry either, so when they do recommend further evaluation they are being serious about protecting you and your investment.

Will the inspector provide a warranty on the inspected items?

Most inspectors do not give the homeowner a warranty on inspected items. Remember, a home inspection is a visual examination on a certain day, and the inspector cannot predict what issues could arise over time after the inspection. However, some inspectors are now including a warranty from the largest home warranty company in America – American Home Warranty Corporation, as well as others, on the inspected items for 60 or 90 days. This is a very good deal, and the agreement can be extended after the initial period for a relatively small amount of money.

Do most inspection companies offer money back guarantees?

Most inspection companies do not offer a satisfaction guarantee nor do they mention it in their advertising. It’s always a good thing if you can get extra services for no additional cost from your inspection company, and of course a satisfaction guarantee is an indication of superior customer service. You usually have to call your inspection company right after the inspection and viewing of the report to tell them you are not satisfied. If you are not happy with the services, you should talk to your inspector first and let him/her correct the issue(s) you are unhappy with first, as the inspector is trying to make an honest living just like the rest of us, and is not failing you on purpose.

What if my report comes back with nothing really defective in the home? Should I ask for my money back?

No, don’t ask for your money back – you just received great news! Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will have valuable information about your new home from the inspector’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Most importantly, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.

What if the inspection reveals serious defects?

If the inspection reveals serious defects in the home (we define a serious defect as something that will cost more than 2% of the purchase price to fix) then pat yourself on the back for getting an inspection. You just saved yourself a ton of money. Of course it is disappointing, even heart wrenching, to find out that your well researched house is now a problem house, but you now know the facts and can either negotiate with the seller, or move on. You may want the home so much that it will be worth it to negotiate the price and then perform the repairs. Imagine, though, if you had not gotten the inspection – you would have had some very unpleasant surprises.

Can I ask my home inspector to perform the repairs?

You can, but if your inspector is ethical, he/she will refuse, and correctly so; it is a conflict of interest for the person who inspected your home to also repair it! Inspectors are specifically barred from this practice by licensing authorities, and it’s a good practice – an inspector must remain completely impartial when he or she inspects your home. This is one reason you should have a professional home inspector inspect your home and not a contractor – the contractor will want the repair work and you are likely to not have an objective inspection from this person even though they mean well and are technically competent.

Does the Seller have to make the repairs?

The inspection report results do not place an obligation on the seller to repair everything mentioned in the report. Once the home condition is known, the buyer and the seller should sit down and discuss what is in the report. The report will be clear about what is a repair and what is a discretionary improvement. This area should be clearly negotiated between the parties. It’s important to know that the inspector must stay out of this discussion because it is outside of their scope of work.

After the home inspection and consulting with the seller on the repairs, can I re-employ the inspector to come re-inspect the home to make sure everything got fixed?

You certainly can, and it’s a really good idea. For a small fee the inspector will return to determine if the repairs were completed, and if they were completed correctly.

What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call the inspector. He or she will be fine with this, and does want you to call if you think there is a problem. If the issue is not resolved with a phone call, they will come to your home to look at it. They will want you to be satisfied and will do everything they can to do this. One way to protect yourself between the inspection and the move-in is to conduct a final walkthrough on closing day and use both the inspection report AND a Walkthrough Checklist to make sure everything is as it should be.

Copyright 2010 by Lisa P. Turner

Great Books – How-To Wisdom Resides in Books

Learning how to do things is the way we all grow and develop as humans. Using guidebooks helps shorten the learning curve of acquiring knowledge.

With the amount of information available today, you can learn and do just about anything- from how to build a deck to finding your dream home in another country.

How-to books teach you with the printed word, pictures, graphs and give you the option to return to the page before if your memory is failing you in a moment of need.

Shopping for these printed knowledge volumes is easy and available in a number of ways for purchase. Checking through thrift stores, garage sales, and online for new and used books is a great way to start. Some projects are timeless and even nostalgic and for this one of the old how to books will be filled with information in the old ways and sometimes the best ways to complete a project.

Be sure to choose wisely for your project. If updated information and material is available with the progress of technology and information, you will need to buy a newer book. With updated information you will find the healthiest, easiest and best way to grow plants, paint, or do your own medical research.

Information is continually changing and improving. As the books and learning tools become available you can begin a new project with the right look for you or the best way to construct something new in your life. Book stores carry the newest books available and if they do not have one you need they are willing to special order in most any category.

Some topics are classics. How to sing, or make soap, or darn a sock can be learned from older books.

If you are looking for lessons on car repair and maintenance, check with your local auto parts dealer or online for information about your model of vehicle. You will need to know the model, make, year and many time engine size and design. Once you find the book you need you can order it online or place a special order at the parts department.

For information regarding gardening, plants, herbs and sustainable living some book stores will have a special section. Updated information and old ways are now combined in many newer books. You can choose from larger farming income projects to specialized growing techniques for a certain flower such as roses or iris.

Books for herbal medicine are written for the local grower for raising herbs in pots or small gardening areas to promote good health. You can learn how to mix herbs for best results or what each herb by itself is good for. Herbs can be used to fight headaches, stomach problems and improve general health.

These DIY (do it yourself) books are a great way to learn something new. Don’t be afraid to teach yourself. You have many teachers who have gone before you and now impart their wisdom in the form of how-to books.

Fixing Bathtub Chips and Scratches

There’s nothing quite like being able to ease back into a hot bath at the end of a long and exhausting day. You might like to read a book or listen to some relaxing music, or you might just like to do nothing at all and let your mind forget the worries of the day. The bath is not only a wonderful place in which to relax, it is also an attractive fixture in your bathroom and so it is good to know that it is easy to fix most chips and scratches that may ruin its appearance.

You may have a beautiful old acrylic bath, one that you have treasured for years, and that you thoroughly enjoy. Now if it gets a scratch, it will be the same as if your car got a scratch. It is an obvious flaw that will eat away at your patience with every glance you take. So, just like a car, you can apply car polish and gently apply it to the surface using a soft cloth.

This is great news, but if you get a small chip, this can look a lot more serious, and you may be worried that this is the end of your beautiful bath’s appearance. But no, again just like a car, you can fix it with a two-part car repair filler. This may seem very odd, but it works a treat and is a lot cheaper than having a specialist come and fix the bath. Mix the filler as per the instructions, just as if you were applying to a car, and mix in a small amount of acrylic paint so that it is the same color as the bath tub. Apply the filler and leave it to harden, then use a very fine wet and dry sandpaper, keeping it wet while you sand. Just make sure that you do this very carefully as you don’t want to scratch another part of your bath.

Sadly, if a big piece is missing from the tub, a professional is needed. When they come, make sure that you get a quote for the repair as this can be quite expensive.

The answer for tiny scratches in a traditional bathtub is more intriguing. You can use nail polish. Yes, it’s true, everyday nail polish. Even though enamel is very hard and has a surface like glass, you’ll find that if it is hit, it can chip. If this results in a larger chip, then you’ll need to use an epoxy resin repair kit, but make sure that there is no rust first as you will need to get rid of this using a rust remover. Then after applying and wiping away any excess, you’ll need to leave the bath for an hour before smoothing with a fine sandpaper, again taking great care not to damage other areas of the bath tub. You can then use enamel paint, sanding in between each application until you have achieved the same color as the rest of the bath tub.

If your tub requires a new surface, it is possible to do it alone. However if you are new to plumbing, it is suggested that a professional handle the problem. Make sure that you talk about whether the contractors will work on site or if they will take the tub away with them. If you decide to do the job alone, be sure to have on appropriate clothing and use sealing material on every air opening in the room to prevent bugs and dirt from ruining all of your hard work.

Five Things Which Will Keep You Free of Debt

No youth actually aspires to mature into a debt-ridden person. Rather, people most often have every intention of staying free from financial debt whenever they start out in their adult lives. The trouble is that people can’t invariably keep control of all that happens in their lives which often lead them straight into consumer debt. Regardless how cautious you are; anyone can be taken by surprise with circumstances and end up struggling with their debts.

Fast movement from you will do a lot to reduce any damage and avoid any sort of long term damage if you’re suffering from debt or fear that you may end up in this situation. Continue reading to learn 5 easy approaches to help you stay free of debt.

Do Away with Pricey Habits

Everyone has one or two costly lifestyle habits. You will have a tough time determining which activities and habits you could minimize, especially when you really enjoy them, on a regular basis, to unwind and relax. It will be easiest to start with the money spent on venturing out to pubs, diners or fast food restaurants, movie theaters, concert events, night clubs, and other similar recreation hobbies. Make sure to exchange those hobbies with cheaper, equally fun substitutes. Examples of how you could try this are drinking with friends in your own home as opposed to in bars or clubs or watching a film in the living area instead of going to a movie theater.

Use Your Cash Instead of A Credit Card

Most people know, and any professional can verify, that charge cards are a significant cause of personal financial debt. Folks often don’t realize that their credit debt is growing outside of their ability to repay until it is way too late. Avoid using multiple credit cards. Just use one, if you need to, and repay the rest. It is wise to keep just one credit card in case of an unexpected emergency, such as a car accident or essential car and house repairs. If you’re able to repay the balance with your next monthly payment, then be sure to do so. Otherwise, pay off as much as you are able to, and continue until it is paid off.

Bring In More Money

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to augment your wages without the need for totally changing up your daily life and schedule. This can be done in a few of many ways. It is possible to seek out a promotion at work, or even just some extra hours every week. Alternatively, you can take on a second job in the evenings or on the weekend. For those who have a marketable talent, you can even work as a consultant or freelancer in your spare time.

Cut Costs With DIY Projects

Before you hire someone for any type of repair and renovation jobs, just be sure you can’t do it yourself. You don’t have to be a handyman or even a regular do-it-yourselfer to find out how you can complete a straightforward job. Use the internet as a valuable source for learning strategies, techniques, as well as step-by-step instructions. Find out how you can do your own home improvement and maintenance jobs, and you may not even require any kind of help whatsoever.

Decrease Your Utilities Expenses

There are many ways that you can lower your utility bills without giving up your personal comfort. For instance, just turning the thermostat up a couple of degrees fahrenheit in the summertime as well as downward a couple of degrees fahrenheit during the cold months, can save you quite a lot in air conditioning and home heating costs. Next, cut out any kind of “premium” part of your current cable television package and keep to standard channels. Through doing these two things for three months, it can save you as much as three hundred dollars.

If you’re concerned about financial debt, understand that it’s not way too late. Adopting the advice outlined in this article can help you to improve your future financial situation, regardless of what it feels like at the moment.

The Importance of Insurance Reviews

Most people reach out to their insurance brokers or underwriters when there is a significant event in their lives that necessitates new or revised risk coverage – perhaps when they purchase a new home or it’s time to trade-in the old car. However, far fewer remember to review their insurance at regular intervals or when more subtle changes to their coverage requirements occur.

Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.

There are many different circumstances that could possibly change your coverage requirements and prompt a call to an insurance professional for a review. The examples below identify some of the instances in which you might want to review your coverage:

  • Renovations – If you perform renovations to your house, it is likely that you are also increasing its value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or even expensive landscaping, remember to check your policy limits to ensure they remain adequate in case of an insured loss. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, also note it is quite likely that your water damage insurance needs to be reviewed.
  • You’ve been accumulating possessions – Have you done a home inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your contents is vital to helping ensure your limits are adequate.
  • You’ve purchased a high value item – Remember that some of your personal possessions have to be scheduled to be properly covered. Jewellery, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are a few examples of pieces that may require additional coverage.
  • New coverages have become available – The insurance industry frequently adapts to changing market conditions and offers coverage in areas that it has not in the past. For homeowners, insurance for overland water damage and home repair issues (such as broken furnaces) have recently become available from some insurers, in some areas. In addition, legal expense insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are available from brokers looking to cover more of your risk and insurance needs.
  • Laws changing to give you more or less choice – Changes to automobile accident benefits mean you should review your choices.
  • You become eligible for additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system you are likely eligible for a discount on your homeowner policy. If you use snow tires on your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance policy. If you pass the age of 50-55, you may become eligible for mature driver discounts.
  • If you change jobs and have a shorter commute – You should report this to your insurance broker as driving less typically correlates to lower risk and less expensive premiums. If you have a certain job occupation, you may also be eligible for lower insurance rates.
  • You’ve started a home business – A different use of your home, other than strictly residential, may require business insurance to properly cover liability risks.
  • Your personal circumstances change – If you get married or have children, you may want to review your coverage to ensure your coverage levels are adequate to look after your dependents in case of an accident.
  • Your child gets a driver’s licence – Always check to see if your child can be added to your policy. It is often the least expensive option for insuring them to drive. If they get their own car, you are also probably eligible for a multi-car discount.
  • If your child moves away to attend college or university – Check to see if your homeowners coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away at school. It may be more cost-effective that purchasing a standalone tenants insurance policy.
  • If you haven’t had an insurance review in more than a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. A key example of this is your home insurance. Property values and replacement costs can easily rise to the point that your existing coverage limits do not allow for the total reconstruction of your home in the case of a total loss.

Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always time well spent. Even if you don’t save on your insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies are for the term of one-year, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance professional before renewing your annual coverage.

How to Choose a Garage Door Repair Company?

Both as a car and a house owner, you must certainly be familiar with garage doors. When you put your vehicle inside the garage and you find that the garage door needs repair, immediately rush to a repair firm. This is important because, you cannot keep your car unprotected for long. Let us take a brief look at what are the most important components of a garage door.

The two main parts include:

1. The door

2. The opener

The doors of a garage basically run on a spring tension. Usually its mobility depends on special metal tracks and they derive the power from the spring. Some repair tips helpful for you include –

1. You need to regularly check the proper functioning of the brackets that are there in metal tracks. You can also check them if you find crimp, dents or any damages. In case you find damages, then you must replace them at the earliest.

2. Just like a safety officer will check the rail tracks positioning; in a similar way, you need to keep up the metal tracks in the garage. As a result it is important that the tracks stay clean.

3. You need to find out whether the plates are functioning properly. Screws do become loose and hence, you need to tighten it. Look into the servicing of the hinges too.

4. The door opener is another important gadget. In many cases, you need a professional company for installation purpose. It is wise, if you install Garage Doors at the center.

5. Your garage must always have a support. If it lacks to have such a structure, then you can make use of a mounting board.

Thus, the above are some of the basic steps that you can keep in mind while repairing a garage door yourself.

Nonetheless, in today’s world every contractor has become more or less indispensable. A qualified agent can help you with quick repairs which otherwise, might take a lot of time. The services that such firms offer differ a lot. As a means of a practical and cost-effective suggestion, you must try to choose that company, which will give you all round service. They must not only repair and replace but also install.

Effective garage door repair is not possible if a non-skilled person tries to handle it. Therefore, you must remember that, such tasks are not hassle-free. Protecting your vehicle is as important as appointing the rightful garage repair company.

Garage Door Repairs

Are you having trouble with your garage door? Are you having to get out of your car everyday to hand pry it open? Does it no longer work? Professional repair service companies provide a wide range of services that will ensure your set gets fixed within time.

Professional repair companies offer a wide variety of services from common repair problems to a complete replacement. Garage doors are just as important as the front door entrance to your house. Having your repairs done by a professional technician ensures that the repair project will be finished in little time with no complications.

They offer repairs in broken springs, broken cables, broken or bent rollers, bent tracks, and misaligned or rusted tracks. These repairs ensure that your door opens smoothly so you will be able to open and close it whenever you need to with no hassle. They also provide extra security to your home. Burglars can enter through the garage door if it has broken door cables. You may not even be able to get your car out if there are bent rollers.

The entirety of the garage door is nothing without the panels. Each panel functions together so that the set will open and close smoothly. When one panel is bent or rusted on the edge, it could cause inconveniences for you. Professional repair companies also offer replacements of sections or panels. It is the attention to detail that makes them experts and the specific training. Handling springs can be dangerous if in the hands of something that is not trained in installation and repairs.

Your garage door doesn’t have to wake up everyone in the neighborhood whenever you open it. Professional repair services can also silence noisy systems. They provide torsion springs repair or replacement if needed. You can have a beautiful and functional set just as easy as a phone call away. You can have a personally tailored garage door that fit into you and your family’s lifestyle at the price within your budget.

Not everyone is an expert. It is more than an easy slide and open door. There are many details that an amateur may miss. A certified and licensed technician quickly identifies the problem and offers courteous service. Do yourself a favor and save yourself from the hassle that could arise from broken garage door. They are more important to the protection of you and your family than you think.

Top 10 Common Car Problems

It is hard to make this kind of list since the things that go wrong on the car are endless. This is not written with pessimism, but as many drivers have experienced even on new cars a thing or two can go wrong.Not to mention the older ones, an old car is a like an aging man, the older he get’s the more grumpy he becomes.

Here’s a list with the top 10 car problems from our point of view. Not only are they problems of mechanical nature, they are usually problems that drive you nuts:

1. Flat tire most common car problem but the most easy to fix. Often happens at the least convenient time. Having the right equipment and knowledge to help yourself is crucial.

2. Dead battery: how many of us made that face of despair when we put the key into the ignition and… Nothing or a short click. Especially during winter months. An easy problem to fix, but best preventing it on time by changing the old battery.

3. Ignition problems: the car will crank but won’t start. The problem can be solved on your own in a couple of minutes or it can take days and a tone of money. The list of probable causes is pretty long.

4. Various leaks: oil leaks, coolant leaks, break fluid leaks etc. In most cases (if the leak is not severe) they don’t cause big problems while driving. The moment you see them, get it fixed, it only get’s worse over time.

5. Electric and electronics problems: these kind of problems manifest themselves as if the car is possessed by an evil ghost. Various glitches, signal lamps warning about nothing, endless diagnostics and car mechanics going out of their mind are just some of the symptoms.

6. Sensor problems: a car problem that has the most fancy name.These are the eyes of the ecu unit. Since exposed to dirt, moisture, cold, heat etc. Cause the most of the electronics problems.

7. Bad serpentine belt: it makes that squeaky noise that gives you a bad chill down the spine. Nothing serious, if the car is properly maintained you won’t hear of it. Otherwise, it can make a lot of problems.

8. Car bulb failure (headlights, taillights): when your vision from the car during night driving decreases it’s either time to check your eyesight or the signalization. The headlight bulbs are easy to spot when they burn out, the tail lights can go on not working for months (unless you have the proper dash warning). Make a check of the signalization from time to time.

9. Cracked windscreen: you get in a second, but you usually look at it for months. When the crack happens, fix it right away or else your putting yourself and the your passengers at risk.

10. Body scratches and minor dents: looks like a little acne on an otherwise beautiful face. You look at it and say: ” wow what a beautiful face, but look at the acne….”. Can be solved with a few tricks and perhaps minor body repair.

Learn this list and you will know what car problems you can have on the road or at home.

Emergency Road Service And Towing And Labor Coverage

Most full coverage auto insurance plans will come with additional protection for emergency road service and towing and labor if the insured vehicle should suffer a breakdown or other problem and help is needed. That can be a great relief for the many people who have no idea how to do something as simple as change a flat tire or jump start a vehicle. But for others, that also can be a waste of money.

Many types of emergency road service plans will pay the cost of sending a tow truck or other emergency responder who will do anything from helping get into a locked vehicle when the driver has left the keys in it to adding some gas to an empty tank. Changing a tire or jump starting a low battery are some of the most common services provided, and jump starts are very common in cold climes when the temperature drops significantly below freezing for the first time and saps power from the battery.

But there are limits on how often and which types of services are provided. Generally, no more than five gallons of gas will be provided, and then only once every six months, if a plan so stipulates. And if the vehicle cannot be jump started, the owner might simply be stranded as many times the responding vehicle is not a tow truck capable of removing the car, truck, van or SUV and taking it to the owner’s home or a repair shop.

In such instances, it is preferable to have a towing and labor coverage rider attached to the car insurance plan. With that additional protection, a tow truck will show up and remove the vehicle and take it to either a repair shop or the owner’s home. Advantages of such plans are obvious in they can mean the difference between being stranded in what might be the dead or winter or in the high heat of the summer. And if traveling with the family or perhaps a young child or baby on board, there could be a real danger to the lives of some of the passengers.

So having a towing package on the car insurance literally could be a lifesaver in addition to a very handy way to get home if there is a breakdown of the vehicle. On the other hand, there are limitations to what will be done with towing and labor coverage.

As the name implies, the policy will cover the costs of towing and the labor involved in getting it done up to policy limits. And those limits often include total distance to be towed. If near home, that distance might be as little of 50 or 75 miles. And if traveling away from home, it could be as much as 125 miles – but only to the nearest approved repair facility or other destination. Any additional miles towed come out of the pocket of the policyholder. And such plans many times will require the policyholder to pay up front for services and then seek reimbursement from the insurer, which could take up to two months to receive.

Find the Free Auto Repair Manual You Need Online

You can easily get a free auto repair manual for whichever repair need you might have. You need an internet access and have to follow a certain procedure searching for auto repair manuals, but when you have done this procedure a few times it will be very easy to find the right instructions for do it yourself auto repair and it won’t cost you a dime.

There are four types of automotive description documents that you will need to choose from when you want to do a repair;

  • General manuals
  • Diagnosis descriptions
  • Repair manuals
  • Maintenance manuals

General Manuals

In addition to some general manuals, most of these are related to the make. Here you can get step by step guidance on how to repair most of the makes in the vehicle market. Let’s say you have a Honda Acura 2002 model and you want to find a manual for that make and model. What you do is perform the following search in a search engine: “free car manuals+Honda Acura+2002”. Then you will have a long list of sites that provide you with all kinds of descriptions for your Honda Acure 2002 model, and you can choose what you want.

Diagnosis descriptions

Automotive diagnosis manuals can also be sub-divided by make and model. But it can also be divided by the area of the vehicle that is affected, for example engine intake problems, brake problems, cooling problems, exhaust problems, start or stall problems, transmission problems etc. Let’s say you have a start problem. Your search would be “car diagnosis manual+ start problem”, then you should get more than enough repair information to choose from. You can even get diagnostic trees where all options are covered for nothing.

You have probably more than one time heard some annoying noise from somewhere in your vehicle, without finding the source of it. This is one of the most kinky situations to run into because you don’t know if it is a serious signal or just a small thing. Some websites gives you the opportunity to diagnose vehicle problems by the noise, sound and vibrating signals – and that is great. The sooner you find it the sooner you can fix it and then you can relax. When you search, you can describe the sound, for example “whine noise” or “shifter knocks” or “driveline vibration” plus car diagnosis manual plus eventually the make.

Repair Manuals

In addition to regular manuals you can also get very instructive and detailed descriptions in other internet document or websites like articles, etc. The natural way to sub-divide such repairs before searching, is by the area of the vehicle that is going to be repaired, for instance body repair, exhaust repair, suspension fix, interior repair and even general car repair.

You do the search the same way as above; “car repair manual (or description) + the area of repair and go through the list of resources you get.

Maintenance manuals

Though vehicle maintenance is closely related to your vehicle make and model, there are some maintenance issues that are pretty much common whether you have a Cadillac, VW or a Mercedes, for example changing oil, changing air filters, engine wash, fluid maintenance, tier maintenance etc. You can get access to maintenance descriptions by searching for the kind of maintenance plus “car maintenance manual (or description)” plus eventually your make and model.

I think you’ll be amazed of the amount of automotive repair free stuff online.