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Paint-On Insulation: Is It Truly Green?

Winter is here, and if that utility bill is high, you are probably already troubleshooting problem areas of your home.

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Winter is here, and if that utility bill is high, you are probably already troubleshooting problem areas of your home. One of largest contributors to drafty rooms is a lack of insulation. Insulation is designed to stop air passage through ceilings, walls, and the floor. The intention is to keep the right air where you want it in each season. Obviously, the windows and heating source are also important to maintaining an overall energy efficient program, but having the right insulation is a key factor.

In existing homes, it can be difficult to go back and insulate after the fact. If attic space allows, you can blow-in insulation. Under-floors and in-between walls can be difficult as well. Even with your best efforts, there is bound to be some location that is hard to reach. What if you had a product that you could apply from the exterior?

Sound a bit like science-fiction? SFGate highlighted the ingenious concept of Nansulate this past November. It is a paint-on insulation that suspends specially engineered particles with low-conductivity in an acrylic base. The particles are water-resistant, making the paint a weapon against mold and mildew. Unlike traditional fiberglass insulations, this new product is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

So how green is this product? The company promotes it as a major breakthrough in green endeavors. Not only does it contribute to creating more energy efficient homes, but they also make this statement regarding the safety of the ingredients: "Nansulate® coatings contain none of the ingredients contained on the EPA listing as Class I or Class II Ozone Depleting Substances, nor do they contain any ingredients on the listing for Global Warming Potential (GWP) that are non-ozone-depleting." The company is anxious to become accepted into the green marketplace. "We are pleased to see that our Nansulate coatings are becoming a brand name in the sector of Green Nanotechnology," stated Francesca Crolley, VP Operations & Marketing. (Nano Science and Technology Institute)

Sounds like a pretty good idea, but is it affordable to the average homeowner? Surprisingly, it is actually quite affordable. At $66 for 150 sqft of coverage, it is an inexpensive alternative to other forms of insulation. Especially if you take into account the ability to avoid opening up walls or crawling under houses. The paint can be applied with a brush, sprayer, or roller. It is applied to walls, windows, pipes, and water heaters, and can even be applied over existing paint.

Because this is a fairly new product and its composition is so different from traditional insulation materials, it is hard to do a straight-across-the-board comparison between the two. So far, however, those who have already used it report a 20-40% savings on their utility bills.

A relatively new product, the company is working hard to bring awareness to its presence. I, like many, was initially skeptical. It sounds a bit too easy to be effective. They offer several case studies to promote its efficiency, but each of us will probably have to try it firsthand before we are believers. It definitely sounds like it is worth trying-out. Fairly easy to install, why not see how it can help your energy efficiency this season? Request free estimates from a skilled painting contractor in your area to see what this product can bring to your home. More information at: CalFinder Remodeling

How to Become a Home Inspector

Home inspectors must have a good knowledge of homes, and drive to learn more.

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Owning a home is a popular investment. As with any investment the buyer wants to be certain there are no problems with the home. It is also beneficial to be aware in advance of any flaws that may need to be corrected. Thus enters the profession of home inspection. Home inspectors are usually hired by the home buyer, realtor or mortgage brokers to review the home to be purchased. They are asked to do a thorough check of the indoor and outdoor condition of the home. This invaluable home check is a type ofinsurance for the home buyer and money lender. They gain detailed information about the quality and condition of their investment. So how does one become a home inspector? Home inspection is an involved career that requires self motivation, great people skills and small business acumen. If you ever wondered how to become a home inspector then read on and review the links provided for a quick guide to this growing career. Part I: What It Takes There are many skills one must have to be a home inspector. Some may assume that one need only a knowledge of homes and home repair andmaintenance to work in this field. Home inspection requires a great deal more. It is true, home inspectors must have a good knowledge of homes but they must also have the drive to learn more if they want to have the most up-to-date information for their clients. Home inspectors must also be very good with people. Home inspection requires a great deal of customer service. They should expect daily interaction with clients, realtors, lenders, and even other inspectors. Finally, home inspection is most often a small business. Home inspectors are either starting their own small business or joining another small business in the area. Each of these skills deserve a closer look and further explanation. But first, it will help to map out a typical day in the life of a home inspector. A typical day for a home inspector does not follow the an 8 to 5 schedule. Instead home inspections may take place after normal work hours and even on the weekends. It usually depends on what works best for the client. When scheduling an inspection, most home inspectors encourage the client to be present at the time of the inspection so that they may follow the inspector through the process. This is especially the case when the client is the home buyer. On the scheduled day, after a short introduction with the clients, the inspector begins to assess the home. As the inspector reviews and takes notes, they also point out good and questionable details to the client. Because the client is with them during the inspection they may ask questions and get clarification about what may be done to fix problems or how to adopt better preventive maintenance. Home inspectors always prepare a report for the client and will often remind them that whatever they point out during the review will be in more detail in the report later. A good inspector will do all the easily accessible indoor and outdoor inspection with the clients. After this they usually inspect the roof, attic, under the house and other hard to reach places on their own. Once the inspection is over the inspector will wrap up with the clients and arrange to send them or their realtor the final report. Nowadays, most inspectors take their notes and enter them into computer programs to give good, detailed reports to their clients within in 24-48 hours. This quick turn around time is important as an offer for a home may be waiting for the results of the inspection to close. After this inspection the inspector may not have time to run back to the office or run the notes through on the laptop; thus it is imperative they took good notes. Instead they may leave one inspection directly for another. At the end of the day they may finally get the chance to sit down, review notes and polish final reports. So what does the inspector review and place in the report? Home inspection is a thorough review of a home. It requires knowledge of homes and home maintenance and repair. Usually those entering the home inspection field either have a background as a home professional, i.e. contractor, plumber, electrician, or they are already a good all around handyman, i.e. their relatives actually trust their help on home repairs! But to become a home inspector they must continue their education and round out their knowledge of the home. The areas they will investigate (and therefore must have knowledge of) include: Foundation: i.e. spotting structural defects and damage Plumbing: i.e. pipes, fixtures and corrosion Electrical: i.e. grounding, fuses and breakers Roofing: i.e. roofing materials, draining systems and detecting leaks Equipment: i.e. stoves, furnaces, and air conditioners Interior: i.e. cabinets, fire places, and doors & windows Exterior: i.e. patio, decks, driveway and walkways The above list is only a brief review but illustrates the broad range of knowledge the home inspector must have. To inspect all of these items they must be a sort of jack-of-all-trades. The home inspector must be able to review the construction and wear on a home with a critical eye. They must understand enough to be a little bit of everyone: plumber, electrician, carpenter, maintenance mechanic, roofer, contractor and mason; to name a few. Having the knowledge is the first step, being able communicate that knowledge to clients is another necessity for home inspectors. One must be a "people person" and a great communicator to enter the home inspection business. Home inspectors work with a diverse clientele. Most of the clients are home buyers, and as homes vary in price and personality, so do the people buying them. Many times the clients accompany the home inspector through the review of the home. During the inspection, the home inspector gives initial impressions of the state of the home. The clients often have questions and want further explanations. Inspectors should expect this and be patient when clarifying their information. A rapport with the client also makes the long process, usually over an hour, go by more quickly. And although the inspector knows their stuff, they will also want their relaxed personality to convey this to the client who may be anxious about their potential home. Besides the home buyer, home inspectors will also work with realtors and home sellers. Here they face the pressures of pleasing their client with their professionalism but not holding back when their critical eye may see something the seller did not expect. This may be harder customer service as it is never an easy task to tell the client bad news. Finally, home inspectors may work with other professionals such as lawyers. A knowledgeable home inspector may include expert witness testimony as a service to the professional community. But opportunities as an expert witness only come to those who can communicate their knowledge clearly. Being a good communicator and a "people person" will help the home inspector in this predominantly small business field. Most home inspection businesses are small companies run by an individual or a small group of individuals. The flexible hours and little overhead make this an ideal small business to start. If one individual wants to set up their small business, most states make this easy to accomplish. However, many states do have regulations for home inspectors to follow (see links listed below for detailed information for your state). The benefits of the small business, setting your own schedule, determining your pay, etc. also come with a cost. The small business owner must be self motivated. There are times when the work day will easily stretch past the 8 hour norm. Small business owners must be willing to promote themselves and get their name out there. The small business owner is their own boss, marketing manager, project planner, secretary, and sometimes accountant. If a home inspector joins a firm, these are generally small businesses as well. Here staff may not do everything, however, as in all small businesses, it works best when everyone is willing to do a little more than their usual workload for the well being of the company. The perks of these smaller business groups is that they often have their employees best interests at heart and will work hard to make a good working environment for everyone. Small business has a different culture than most jobs and the home inspecting profession fits well into this group; anyone interested in the home inspection trade should be aware of everything a small business has to offer. Home inspection is an involved career. It has variable workdays with new people and places every day. Home inspectors are interested in learning about homes and all their components. They take time to learn the details and are patient when sharing and explaining that information with clients. Home inspectors can work with a diverse audience and may even have the communication skills to be an expert witness. They are self motivated small business owners and/or members. To them, the benefits and rewards are greater than any of the challenges a small business may offer. All these traits together are the basic skills one needs to be a home inspector. Now, how does one get the well-rounded education and connections they need to start? Check out Part II of our article to find out Where to Start. Part II: Where to Start A career as a home inspector is sounding like the perfect fit for your lifestyle and business preference. You are handy around the house or already have some education in one of the home professional fields. To you, homes are a playground with all kinds of potential. But now where do you go? To become a home inspector you will want to start with classes. After taking a class there are many home inspection associations out there to join. Finally, you will want to decide if you want to start your own business or if you want to join a firm in your area. Then you will be ready to tackle your first client! But first, where do you go to learn the home inspection trade? There are many associations and companies that offer home inspector training. Most have correspondence courses by video/mail or Internet. These classes vary, but sites that do list cost show average prices over $1000 for a complete course. Many of these groups also offer smaller programs to learn or review specific areas of home inspection. These are useful to those with some starting background or home inspectors already in the field that want to increase their specific knowledge. Specialized courses for home inspectors already in the field may be used as continuing education credits which is required by most organizations. These continuing education courses also help inspectors expand their services. For example some inspectors may choose to include commercial inspections or learn more about becoming an expert witness (to learn more about continuing education see our links below). Some organizations do have in person classes available, depending on location. Many of these classes are geared towards the adult learner who may be working around another full time job. Most of these training programs come with a comprehensive test and more information about state specific rules. Another great benefit about a lot of these programs is that they include small business and general customer service overviews. Students learn how to start and promote their business. Often, information for creating professional relationships with realtors and others in the real estate business are included. This may prove to be extremely helpful to those starting home inspection as their own small business. Finally, these programs often demystify the process of writing clear reports for clients. They may also cover the various types of software and tools available to the home inspector writing reports. These classes are great in training future home inspectors about how to inspect, where to find clients, how to set up the business and what tools are available to make their trade easier. With the class taken and exams passed, the home inspector will want to look at joining a professional organization. Home Inspection associations offer membership benefits to those in the career. To join, home inspectors must usually show some competence in the field. They may either do this by providing their state license (if their state requires it) and/or taking an exam. Most associations do have a means of reviewing the inspectors that join (see our list of membership links below). Home inspectors must adhere to the 'Standards of Practice' for the organization. By providing clear guidelines to follow, these associations protect the home inspector, consumer and the profession. Many consumers are looking for home inspectors that belong to one or more organizations because the high standards these groups expect for their members. In this way, membership may be used as a positive advertising tool. Once a member, it is usually required that inspectors keep their knowledge updated through continuing education. Most associations offer continuing education classes and seminars for their members. Besides educational opportunities, these organizations also offer newsletters, discussion forums, example cases and other materials to aid the home inspector. Finally, many associations have local chapters. Through these local groups home inspectors may connect with others in the profession. Some associations offer mentorship programs through local chapters as well. Thus, home inspector associations offer training, professional guidelines, aids, and local connections. Home inspection is traditionally a small business and it is up to the inspector as to how much of the business they want to control alone. To start a one person small business is possible for the home inspection career. However, this takes self discipline and direction. There are also requirements and rules that must be followed in each state. Contacting the local Better Business Bureau is a good start. But also a small business class or contacting a lawyer will help clarify the paperwork and process of starting a small business. Another option is to buy into a home inspection franchise (see business aid links for examples).After they have a good foothold, some home inspectors may hire a small staff that can help with scheduling, reporting and bookkeeping. As the business grows the home inspector may start a small firm and hire on other inspectors. Some inspectors prefer to start with a firm already in place. These smaller groups offer guidance and mentorship for those new to home inspection. When set up as a company, they may also offer the individual legal protection under the business name rather then having their own personal name at risk. Traditionally a small business, it is up to the home inspector to find what kind of small business works best for them. Once an interest is established the road to becoming a home inspector is clear. One must first educate themselves about running home checks, writing reports, and working with clients. Joining a home inspection association will help further the home inspectors education, resources and connections. One of the toughest choices for the new home inspector would be if they want to start under the guidance of another in a small firm or if they want to start out on their own. Once these steps are taken the home inspector may take on the first clients and begin their career. Conclusion A home inspector is a well rounded individual who is both flexible and knowledgeable. They are jack-of-all-trades around the house and are dedicated to continuing their education to know the latest about their field. Home Inspectors are great communicators and enjoy working with various people in a job that changes daily. They have the dedication and interest in working in a small business. After testing their knowledge, they usually join an association with a good 'Standards of Practice' they agree to follow. The 'Standards of Practice' provides clear guidelines to follow, thus protecting the home inspector, consumer and the profession. The finally decision of the home inspector will be if they want to start their own small business or join another firm already started in their area. Whichever they choose they enter it understanding the great benefits and hardships of a small business. Home inspection is fast growing career with many benefits and challenges. If contemplating the career, take some time to look over the links provided for Training, Membership Information, State Regulations, Continuing Education, Small Business Aid. Home Inspection Training Allied Home Inspection www.homeinspectioncourse.com The course is available online or through traditional correspondence. The textbook used in Allied's course is one of the most comprehensive texts available. It covers the inspection process from start to finish (including quizzes at the end of each chapter, an inspection checklist for each topic and a glossary). This book can be used as an inspector's guide in the field. In addition, Allied's course provides supplemental reading which will reveal dozens of special techniques used by professional home inspectors, what they look for and the inspection methods they use. Allied's Home Inspection Course has 13 comprehensive lessons which provide "hands on" instruction. ASHI School of Home Inspection www.ashi.org/inspectors/training.asp ASHI [American Society of Home Inspectors] has created several educational opportunities for prospective home inspectors to learn about the profession and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become a competent home inspector. Depending on your learning style and preference, you can take courses from the convenience of your home, your local community college or through one of ASHI's endorsed independent training schools throughout the United States. Certified Inspection Training, Inc. www.certifiedinspectiontraining.com Certified Inspection Training, Inc, successfully teaches people how to become home inspectors and just as importantly, how to set up and run their own home inspection business. Classes include: a stand alone Home Study Course, a 3-Day Course combined with the Home Study Course, a one day Structural Pests and Dry Rot Class and a Home Study Pests and Dry Rot Course. The class training is professional and intensive, with study both in the classroom and most importantly, in the field with hands-on practice. HE - A Better School of Building Inspection www.hometraining.com HE - A Better School of Building Inspection (a leader in home inspection training materials) has trained hundreds of home inspectors across North America with home study, live instruction, a combination of both, and advanced coursework on commercial inspections and new construction inspections. We are nationally recognized and affiliates of ASHI, NAHI, FABI, and CREIA. Our training is also accepted in many of the states which currently require licensing or continuing education of home inspectors. Our coursework is also approved by Allen Insurance Group and FREA (home inspector errors and omissions insurers) as an approved training affiliate. Come visit our site to learn more about our videos, live instruction, inspection report disks, tools, etc. Also, check out our Weekly Internet Specials. Home Inspection Institute of America www.inspecthomes.com The Home Inspection Institute of America provides expert home inspection training courses, home inspection certification, home inspection continuing education, top-notch inspection products, and a wealth of information for home inspectors and home buyers. Inspection Support Services Inc. www.inspectsupport.com/courses.htm Inspection Support Services offers the following courses along with other home inspection training courses and and a number seminars including Defect Recognition and Report Writing for both residential and light commercial properties. For further information contact us with your training needs - we will be glad to help you! InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. www.inspectamerica.com/Home_Inspector_Training/ InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. offers a home inspector training program for persons interested in entering the home inspection business, as well as for home inspectors who are interested in improving their home inspection service skills and receiving feedback on their home inspection techniques. Home inspector training is also available for persons with a casual or related interest, such as real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys, etc., who are interested in learning more about the home inspection business. Our home inspector program can help make you more knowledgeable and proficient in your own business. Our program is also available to home owners who want to know more about the ins and outs of their home. ________________________________ Click here for more links on Continuing Education for Home Inspectors. ________________________________ Inspection Training Associates www.home-inspect.com ITA offers the most complete home inspection training available, with licensed home inspection schools nationwide. Our specialty inspection classes offer specific training on the largest variety of inspection topics. In 1987, ITA founded North America’s first licensed home inspection school, and today we continue to help thousands of people create successful home inspection businesses. ITA has more experience than any other home inspection training school and is backed by Kaplan Professional Schools, one of the world's largest providers of career education. Our instructors are the voices and experts of the profession – many have served as past or present officers of the leading professional associations in the industry. NACHI's Inspector University www.nachi.org/education.htm NACHI [National Association of Certified Home Inspectors] Education today launched the first part of its on-line home inspector education program. The initial published course concentrates on the NACHI Standards of Practice and how they should implemented. There are several non-scoring quizzes built into the system which allow the student to evaluate their understanding of the material presented. Many of the questions written for this course have been added to the SOP exam database, which is the final exam for this course (its completion is an existing membership requirement). National Institute of Building Inspectors® www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. Professional Home Inspection Institute www.homeinspectionschool.biz At PHII we have devoted our efforts into creating the best at-home course in the nation. Rather than give you thick books full of information you don't need, or endless hours of video tapes with no interaction, we provide an easy-to-master, interactive course you can complete in just a few weeks with the help of your home computer! We also offer a variety of additional hands-on training opportunities to give new inspectors the experience they need. Professional Inspection Training Institute www.homeinspectiontraining.net We understand that choosing the right Home Inspection school is an important decision. We want to assist you in making a decision that will meet your personal and financial goals. At the Professional Inspection Training Institute, we provide the training that you need to learn the "hottest" growth profession of the decade - home inspection. Our advanced Home Inspection Training is designed to give you in-depth knowledge on current Home Inspection practices, while our hands-on technical instruction will acquaint you with building systems and construction. Cash in on the growing demand for Professional Home Inspectors by training with the Industry Leaders! Thompson Education Direct www.educationdirect.com/inspector/ There are certain skills you need to begin a career in home inspection. The Education Direct Home Inspector training program helps you develop them quickly and conveniently. You’ll learn about: Construction methods; Inspection standards and building codes and regulations; Interior and exterior inspections; Inspecting electric, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing systems; Starting your own Home Inspection business. And you’ll learn it all at home – no classroom needed! This Education Direct distance learning program is like having your own personal Home Inspector school! More Links Home Inspection Membership American Association of Home Inspectors www.aahi.com The American Association of Home Inspectors Inc. is a professional membership organization of "Certified Home Inspectors"TM nationwide. AAHITM was organized in 1989 by the American Institute of Home Inspectors, who has been training home inspectors since 1981. AAHITM is the only National Association that certifies Home Inspectors using a Certification Mark granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Reg. No. 1,662,100) in 1991. The Certification Mark is to be used to certify certain person or persons that have met the education and/or experience criteria as set forth by AAHITM . Current members of AAHITM are granted the right to use this Registered Certification Mark. AAHITM is the Nation’s leading Home Inspectors Association and is not controlled by a group of selected inspectors and does not require sponsorship or approval by your competition for membership. AAHITM has members in 48 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. American Society of Home Inspectors www.ashi.org The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Web site is your most valuable source of information about home inspection. Home buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and home inspectors alike recognize our resources, educational programs, our Standards and Ethics and our newest program, the ASHI Experience as models of professionalism and superior customer service. We welcome you and invite you to join us in shaping the future of the home inspection profession. For 28 years, ASHI has provided home inspectors with the best in education, resources and professional networking opportunities. Increase your chances of success and join ASHI today. Foundation of Real Estate Appraisers www.frea.com The Foundation of Real Estate Appraisers (FREA) was founded in 1991 to fill a gap in the market for appraiser continuing education. At the time, obtaining education was expensive and difficult. It involved earning a designation that required thousands of dollars in classes from an association, and years of subservient service to someone who was already designated. FREA began offering continuing education classes in the San Diego area and within a few months had more than 150 instructors teaching classes all over the country. In 1996 FREA created a home inspection division, offering the same benefits to home inspectors as they had been offering to appraisers, including low cost E&O insurance. Due to the large numbers of members, FREA has substantial buying power with insurance companies, helping to keep the program strong while other insurance providers have fallen by the wayside. Housing Inspection Foundation http://iami.org/hif.htm The Housing Inspection Foundation (HIF) is an organization of professionals dedicated to the promotion and development of Home Inspection. The Housing Inspection Foundation was created to provide members with Information, Education, Standards, Ethics, and Professional Recognition. The Home Inspection industry is the fastest growing profession today. This creates new opportunities for those who are involved in the real estate, construction or environmental fields that are willing to learn how to perform this vital services, including Home Inspectors, Building Inspectors, Real Estate Professionals, Construction Inspectors, Remodeling Contractors, etc. National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers www.nabie.org National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers, a chartered affinity group of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Since 1989, the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers has worked to establish the highest standards for the building and home inspection industry and to verify the qualifications of individuals offering these services. As an organization, NABIE strives to protect the integrity of the home and building inspection industry, and thus, the general public. We review legislation, examine court cases, and monitor relevant government activities in all states. We interface with affiliated real estate associations and commissions, state engineering boards and other standard setting organizations. National Association of Certified Home Inspectors www.nachi.org The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is the world's largest, most elite non-profit inspection association. Our home buying clients enjoy the HI Experience™ only NACHI Certified Inspectors can provide. Our inspectors have all successfully passed NACHI's Inspector Examination, taken a Standards of Practice Quiz, completed a Code of Ethics Course, adhere to Standards of Practice, abide by a Code of Ethics, attend required continuing education courses, and are NACHI Certified. NACHI...the very best home inspectors. National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. www.nahi.org The National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) was established in 1987 as a nonprofit association to promote and develop the home inspection industry. The mission of the National Association of Home Inspectors is to promote excellence and professionalism in the Home Inspection industry; to provide a standards of practice and a code of ethics; to educate its members; and to inform the public of the benefits and scope of a professional home inspection. NAHI now has over 1900 members in 49 U.S. states and Canada. By working together to develop and maintain standards of excellence, NAHI members benefit from professional development and the exchange of ideas through continuing education and seminars. Information and support are available for members regarding their business and inspection practices and service to their clients. NAHI's promotional activities educate the public and promote the importance of a reputable home inspection as an integral part of the residential real estate transaction. A national referral service helps consumers find facts about the industry and NAHI standards, and unites NAHI members with new clients. National Institute of Building Inspectors www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. NIBI offers conventional Classroom Courses at its dedicated Training Center and distance learning programs through its Online Campus. Both educational programs have been approved by the major home inspection associations and many states as meeting the requirements for membership, licensing, and/or continuing education. NIBI Certified Inspectors are required to not only complete educational courses and field training work, but must also participate in a yearly re-certification program. Being NIBI Certified is indeed the mark of home inspection professionalism! When home buyers are ready to make that home buying decision, they should insist on a Certified NIBI Inspector for their home inspection, and buy with confidence. Organization of Real Estate Professionals www.orep.org OREP specializes in placing errors and omissions insurance for real estate appraisers, home inspectors, real estate agents/brokers, mortgage field service professionals, mortgage brokers and others. OREP offers the lowest rates on appraiser's insurance with same day coverage & confirmation (most cases). Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors www.sprei.org The Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors is a national educational organization dedicated to providing the highest level of educational achievement for home/building inspectors. Anyone who is interested in improving his or her skills as an inspector is welcomed to join the Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors. SPREI does not require past experience or background in the inspection profession. All that is required in becoming a member is a willingness to apply ones self to self-education. By simply filling out the application form and submitting the low annual fee, you will start yourself on the way to becoming an educated and informed real estate inspector. STATE SPECIFIC Arkansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors www.ark-homeinspectors.com The Arkansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors (AAREI) is an Arkansas-wide association of professional Home Inspectors. It was founded in 1992 to: Provide a forum for home inspectors to exchange experiences and to enhance the technical knowledge of its members. Promote excellence in the Home Inspection industry in Arkansas. Provide a source of information about home inspection services for the home buying public. To maintain awareness of the laws and regulations which affect the home inspection industry in Arkansas. California Real Estate Inspection Association www.creia.org The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) is a voluntary, nonprofit public-benefit organization of real estate inspectors. Founded in 1976, CREIA provides education, training and support services to its members and the real estate community. CREIA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice are recognized by the California Business and Professions Codes and are considered the standard of care by the real estate industry and legal profession in the state. CREIA Inspector Members have successfully passed a comprehensive written examination on the myriad of systems and components in the construction and maintenance of residential dwellings. CREIA's educational mission is to expand the technical knowledge of its members through continuing education. Inspector members must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education annually. Educational credits are obtained through monthly chapter educational meetings, chapter toolbox seminars, CAMP, state conferences in the spring and fall, and other CREIA approved sources. CREIA membership activities and programs encourage the sharing of experience and knowledge resulting in betterment of the real estate profession and the consumer public, which it serves. Connecticut Association of Home Inspectors www.ct-inspectors.com CAHI is the largest independent home inspector organization in the state. View our "members" directory above to find the most extensive list of licensed home inspectors in Connecticut. CAHI provides top quality monthly and special continuing educational seminars that meet the minimum requirements as set forth by the CT. Home Inspection Licensing Board. Our seminars provide inspectors with information about techniques and components from the past and present including new innovations and technologies that may be found in homes today. CAHI's mission is to educate the home inspector with valuable and pertinent information, the tools that will make them the best home inspectors in the marketplace. Florida Association of Building Inspectors, Inc. www.fabi.org Florida Association of Building Inspectors, Inc. has promoted professionalism in the industry through qualifying their members to assure the public’s confidence. Applicants to FABI must pass a written examination, have their inspection report reviewed and show proof of a required number of inspections in order to qualify for membership. They must also adhere to FABI’s Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics and earn continuing education credits by attending regular seminars/workshops to maintain their membership and keep their proficiencies current. Through its growing membership, FABI maintains an active Ethics Committee to ensure compliance of the Association’s ethical, moral and industry standards. Georgia Association of Home Inspectors www.gahi.com GAHI has promoted higher standards for professional home inspectors since its inception in 1989. Since the State of Georgia does not license home inspectors, GAHI’s membership requirements, the most stringent in the country, fill this void. The organization requires all members to be certified in the One & Two Family Code (IRC / CABO), carry the appropriate level of insurance and posses a business license. Not only does this better equip the home inspector to conduct new construction inspections, but it also sharpens skills for inspecting existing homes. Kentucky Real Estate Inspection Association, Inc. www.kreia.org The Kentucky Real Estate Inspection Association, Inc. (KREIA) was formed in 1992. Its purpose is to promote excellence within the real estate inspection industry by providing and promoting the following: Promote Customer Service through our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Promote and maintain high standards of conduct for its members. Provide its members with education and training opportunities to enhance their professionalism. Provide and promote the KREIA Certification Program to and for our members. Maryland Association of Home Inspectors www.mdahi.org Our goal is to provide you with useful information about our organization that we hope makes it easier for you to do business with our members. Maryland Association of Home Inspectors has been serving the Real Estate community since 1995. We specialize providing a source of the best qualified and reputable Maryland home inspectors. At this site, you will discover what area each member provide home inspection services, and to contact them. Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors http://mshi.org Since 1979, the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors has set a high Standard of Excellence within the inspection industry. Membership in this not-for-profit society of private, licensed, fee-paid home inspectors encourages continuing education and improvement of performance. MSHI is the only Minnesota organization that offers its members continuing education on a monthly basis. Nevada Association of Certified Real Estate Inspectors www.nacrei.org The Nevada Association of Certified Real Estate Inspectors is an organization formed for and by the Certified Real Estate Inspectors of Nevada. Representing the Certified Inspectors of Structures in Nevada and boasting membership of over 50% of the active inspectors in Northern Nevada, NACREI has been recognized to be a viable source of information and training for inspectors as well as a voice to the Division of Real Estate in Nevada. Working with the various entities involved in the legislative process and other areas we have been successful in maintaining our mission statement of Promoting the Professionalism, Integrity, and Qualifications of Professional Home Inspectors in the State of Nevada, as well as becoming, as State of Nevada Certified Inspectors, an important party in the transaction of Real Estate. With membership being open to all State of Nevada Certified Inspectors of Structures, NACREI invites you to join the ranks of our organization and share the success of our labors, as have the others in our membership. Associate memberships are available as well. Southern Nevada Association of Professional Property Inspectors www.snappi.org SNAPPI is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for its inspector/members and working to inform and educate the public about the benefits of home inspections. We also work with our state officials to reform state law and administrative codes to reflect changing market conditions, industry trends and the needs of our clients, the home buyer. New York State Association Of Home Inspectors www.nysahi.com The New York State Association Of Home Inspectors (NYSAHI) provides this site as a tool to help New York State Home Inspectors stay current with the changing face of home inspector regulation in our state. Our industry is changing. It is evolving from a unregulated service industry to a licensed profession. As recently as ten to fifteen years ago the concept of a home inspection being part of the home buying process was a new one in many parts of the country. Now, about half the states in the union have some form of home inspector regulation. The New York State legislature passed the "Home Inspector Professional Licensing Act" in the 2004 legislative session and Governor Pataki signed it into law on August 12, 2004. This law is set to take effect December 31, 2005. Home inspectors are encouraged to use the links on this page to educate themselves about home inspector licensing in our state to help in preparing for, and prospering in, this new regulated environment. North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association www.nclhia.com As of October, 1996, all home inspections in North Carolina must be performed by a North Carolina-licensed home inspector. Licensure is accomplished by meeting stringent requirements set by the State of North Carolina and passing a comprehensive examination. Continuing education is required each year in order to keep this license in force. Being licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board, and adherence to the North Carolina Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the only legal requirements for performing a home inspection in North Carolina. The North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association (NCLHIA) was formed in 1997 to provide a professional organization for all home inspectors licensed in North Carolina. Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition http://phic.info The Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition (PHIC) represents the two nationally recognized inspection organizations that have offered verifiable proof of compliance with ACT 114, so that the Coalition can act as the eyes and ears of the Home Inspection profession within this State. Because of the new Home Inspection Law, which went into effect 12/20/01, ASHI® and NAHI™ Chapter Presidents and Vice Presidents came together to form a coalition to reflect each Chapter membership’s point of view. In turn, this can be communicated to the Coalition so that the Coalition will act as the one voice for the home inspection profession in Pennsylvania Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors www.tarei.com The Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors (TAREI) is a statewide professional organization formed in 1977 with a current membership of over 750 inspectors and related professionals. TAREI promotes a professional code of ethics for its members, reviews and upgrades minimum standards, provides recommendations to the Texas Real Estate Commission, and conducts statewide continuing education programs for all inspectors. Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors www.wahigroup.com In 1994, home inspectors throughout Wisconsin began meeting monthly to improve skills and to discuss with other inspectors what they had learned during the conduct of home inspections. In early 1995, we established our name as the Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors, Incorporated (WAHI). Our goal is to improve the competency of home inspectors through training and professional interaction. Our monthly education programs focus on home inspections as well as industry concerns. Currently, we have over 350 members and many of them are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Our members include engineers, builders, electricians, building tradesmen, journeymen, basement specialists, etc. Each of them is involved with the home inspection industry in one way or another. Back to Main Menu State License for Home Inspectors (N/A = state does not current require licensure) Alabama Building Commission www.bc.state.al.us/HI%20Menu.htm Alaska Department of Commerce www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/home.htm Arizona State Board of Technical Registration www.btr.state.az.us/AZ%20Ashi%20Standards.htm Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board www.sosweb.state.ar.us/ar_rules/rule_final/198.00.03-003F.pdf California N/A - www.commerce.ca.gov/state/ttca/ttca_business_display.jsp?path=Permits+&+Licenses&childPath=License+Handbook Colorado N/A - www.colorado.gov/colorado/permits.html Connecticut Dept of Consumer Protection www.dcp.state.ct.us/licensing/professions.htm Delaware N/A - http://dpr.delaware.gov/default.shtml Florida N/A - www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=25 Georgia N/A - www.sos.state.ga.us/plb/ Hawaii N/A - www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/pvl/ Idaho N/A - www.state.id.us/business/licensing.html Illinois Division of Banks & Real Estate www.obre.state.il.us/realest/homeinspect.htm Indiana Professional Licensing Agency www.in.gov/pla/bandc/home/ Iowa N/A - www.state.ia.us/government/com/prof/home.html Kansas N/A - www.accesskansas.org/operating/operating-resources/index.html Kentucky N/A - http://hbc.ppr.ky.gov/generalinformation.htm Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors www.lsbhi.info/LSBHIweb.nsf/Home?OpenForm Maine N/A - www.maine.gov/portal/business/professions.html Maryland Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing www.dllr.state.md.us/license/real_est_app/reareq.htm Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/hi/index.htm Michigan N/A - www.michigan.gov/statelicensesearch/0,1607,7-180-24786_24814-81259--,00.html Minnesota N/A - www.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/portal/mn/jsp/ Mississippi Home Inspector Board www.mrec.state.ms.us/default.asp?siteid=3 Missouri N/A - www.state.mo.us/mo/business.htm Montana N/A - http://discoveringmontana.com/dli/bsd/bc/index.asp Nebraska N/A - www.nebraska.gov/business/html/342/index.phtml Nevada Real Estate Division www.red.state.nv.us/insp_licreq.htm New Hampshire N/A - www.nhes.state.nh.us/elmi/licertreg.htm New Jersey License & Certification Guide www.state.nj.us/commerce/CEG_LCI/html/licguid.html New Mexico N/A - www.rld.state.nm.us/Division%20&%20Proffessions.htm New York State Division of Licensing Services www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/licensing.html North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board www.nchilb.com/OSFM/Engineering/HILB/NCHILB.asp North Dakota N/A - www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/agecon/market/ec752-4w.htm Ohio N/A - http://ohio.gov/ Oklahoma Department of Health www.health.state.ok.us/program/ol/info.html#home Oregon Construction Contractors Board http://egov.oregon.gov/CCB/home_inspectors.shtml Pennsylvania Home Inspection Coalition http://phic.info/ Rhode Island Contractors Registration Board www.crb.state.ri.us/docs/hilawsfinal.pdf South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/ResidentialBuilders/ South Dakota Real Estate Commission www.state.sd.us/sdrec/home_inspect/homeinspections.htm Tennessee N/A - www.state.tn.us/commerce/boards/contractors/hinspcontractor.html Texas Real Estate Commission www.trec.state.tx.us/inspector/default.asp Utah N/A - www.dopl.utah.gov/directory.html Vermont N/A - www.vermont.gov/doing_business/profession.html Virginia Department of Business Assistance www.dba.state.va.us/frameset.asp?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Edpor%2Evirginia%2Egov Washington N/A - www.dol.wa.gov/main/biglist.htm West Virginia N/A - www.business4wv.com/Public/content/DynamicContent.asp?pagename=licensesearch&Type=Regulatory Wisconsin License, Permit & Registration Service www.wisconsin.gov/state/app/ Wyoming N/A - http://plboards.state.wy.us/ For a more detailed summary, check out these two great resources: American Society of Home Inspectors www.ashi.org/inspectors/state.asp HE-School of Home Inspection www.hometraining.com/certif.htm Home Inspection Institute of America www.inspecthomes.com/regulate.htm Back to Main Menu Continuing Education for Home Inspectors Certified Inspection Training, Inc. www.certifiedinspectiontraining.com/continuing_education.html Classes are held in many areas of the country twice each year. Please check the "Calendar" page for dates and locations. Classes are held on the West Coast in most instances. These classes are approved for Continuing Education credits by many states including the State of Oregon. The Certification Classes are approved for up to 10 education points to sit for the Oregon Certification Tests. Plus you also get 3 "Ride-Along" points. Please check with your state to determine existing requirements. HE - School of Building Inspection www.hometraining.com/continuingEducation.htm Quality Continuing Education Hours MRC's (ASHI), CEU's (NAHI), or State Continuing Education Hours A Better School of Building Inspection offers high-quality material to help you earn your continuing education requirements. With our material you get your hours and get something out of them too!!! By purchasing our 4-Point Residential Inspection Home Study Package, you help reduce the cost of obtaining continuing education hours and get them done when it fits your schedule better. Home Inspection Institute of America, Inc. www.inspecthomes.org/cont_education.htm Continuing education courses on topics of concern and interest to home inspectors are offered at the Institute at various points throughout the year. Schedules will be posted on this site. The courses are submitted to various membership organizations and state licensing boards for appropriate recognition. Attendees receive a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each course, detailing the credit earned. Infinity Schools Continuing Education www.infinityschools.com/HomeInspection.asp Our complete line of training products includes textbook based training modules, resource manuals, and cutting edge CD-ROM And Video Training products, all developed in cooperation with educators, instructional designers, and technical artists, along with extensive research and contributions from home inspectors across North America, specifically to be the premiere education and training program for home inspectors. InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. www.inspectamerica.com/Home_Inspector_Training/ InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. offers a home inspector training program for persons interested in entering the home inspection business, as well as for home inspectors who are interested in improving their home inspection service skills and receiving feedback on their home inspection techniques. Home inspector training is also available for persons with a casual or related interest, such as real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys, etc., who are interested in learning more about the home inspection business. Our home inspector program can help make you more knowledgeable and proficient in your own business. Our program is also available to home owners who want to know more about the ins and outs of their home. Inspection Support Services www.inspectsupport.com/courses.htm Inspection Support Services offers the following courses along with other home inspection training courses and and a number seminars including Defect Recognition and Report Writing for both residential and light commercial properties. For further information contact us with your training needs - we will be glad to help you! Inspection Training Associates www.home-inspect.com/courses/cehomestudy.asp Need Continuing Education credits, or just need to study up on a specific area in home inspection? Now you can take individual 8 hour home study courses on the inspection topic(s) of your choice! Each correspondence course includes an on-line final exam*, which you are required to pass with a 70% or better grade to receive CE credit. [Also includes other specialty inspection courses on this site.] National Institute of Building Inspectors www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. Professional Inspection Training Institute www.homeinspectiontraining.net/docs/conted.asp The Professional Inspection Training Institute offers the following 2 day, 1-day and 1/2 day continuing education courses in the inspection field: EIFS & Stucco Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Foundation & Structural Defects, Mold, Mildew & Moisture Intrusion, Radon Testing & Protocols, Sales & Marketing Seminar, Heat Pump Inspections, Carbon Monoxide & Improper Venting Back to Main Menu Small Business Aids All Business - Champions of Small Business www.allbusiness.com American Home Inspectors Training Institute Start-Up Packages www.ahit.com/products/packages/startup_pkgs.htm Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org Business.gov www.business.gov Business Owners' Idea Cafe www.businessownersideacafe.com Entrepreneur.com Solutions for Growing Businesses www.entrepreneur.com IRS Small Business/Self-Employed www.creditreport.org/get-the-most-out-of-the-irs/ More Business.com www.morebusiness.com National Association of Certified Home Inspectors - Business Success Tips www.nachi.org/success_tips.htm SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business www.score.org Small Business Administration www.sba.gov FRANCHISES AmeriSpec www.amerispecfranchise.com If you're looking to start your own home inspection franchise, you've come to the right place! AmeriSpec offers the best home inspection franchise opportunities available in North America. With over 350 independently owned and operated businesses that conduct over 150,000 inspections annually, AmeriSpec's 17 years of experience provide us with the know-how to offer the best training, support, and tools to get your franchise off the ground fast. A Pro Home Inspection www.a-pro.net/business.html With an annual potential of over 6 million transactions (translated into an estimated $1.8 billion in home inspection fees) the home inspection business is booming. In fact, Money Magazine has rated our industry as one of the "Top Ten Highest Income Home Businesses, and Entrepreneur Magazine calls home inspection "one of the best opportunities…" And now, you can turn that boom into a successful career! Joining the A-Pro® Home Inspection team can literally change your life. You’ll enjoy greater independence, as well as the personal and financial rewards of owning and operating your own home inspection business. National Property Inspections, Inc. www.npiweb.com/subpages/buildYourFuture.html Looking for the blueprints to build a successful home inspection business? Then National Property Inspections is the right opportunity for you. Go ahead--compare us to the competition. In fact, we want you to. Because we're confident that when you measure our franchise business package, including start-up costs, tools, home inspection training, and support, you'll agree that NPI is the right home inspection franchise to help you build your future. Pillar to Post www.pillartopost.com/franchise/index.cfm if you are looking for a business opportunity with an industry leader in a growing field, Pillar To Post® is the answer. You do not have to be an engineer or building contractor to succeed. What you really need is an ability and willingness to work with people. The most successful home inspectors are those who are able to develop strong trust with the real estate professionals who will refer clients to them, as well as with home buyers and sellers. That's why we focus on technical skills and marketing in our initial two-week training program and in our ongoing training and upgrading efforts. World Inspection Network www.winfranchise.com Join World Inspection Network (WIN) as we build a World-Class Brand in the billion-dollar home inspection industry. When you become a home inspector as a WIN franchise owner, the freedom, flexibility and financial rewards of running your own business can be yours. The home inspection industry continues to demonstrate strong growth and has already proven to be an integral part of the real estate transaction process. Over the past decade there has been a steady increase in the overall volume of home sales and the percentage of homes inspected, confirming that the home inspection business is a high demand service in a solid industry. As a WIN home inspector, you will share information with home buyers and sellers by giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to make an informed decision on one of life's biggest investments.

GFCI circuits in older homes

We recently bought an older home which has undergone some renovation.

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Q. We recently bought an older home which has undergone some renovation. The sellers installed three-pronged outlets throughout the house and GFCI circuits in the kitchen, bathrooms and on the exterior. Our home inspector said that the house wiring is the original two wire non-grounded system, and that even though we have three-prong plugs they are not grounded. He also said that the GFCI receptacles would not function correctly, because there is no ground wire. Do you agree with his assessment?

A. Your home inspector is correct in telling you that your outlets will not be grounded. A third or ground wire is necessary for proper grounding of receptacles and fixtures. Having a two-wire system is not a problem in and of itself unless you are using electrical equipment specifically designed to be grounded. The three-prong plugs are more of a convenience since nearly all electrical devices now come with a grounded plug. Regarding the GFCI (Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit) outlets, they need not be grounded in order to work properly. Simply put, the GFCI is a safety device that protects people from electric shocks by sensing current moving in a way that it should not, and instantly shutting down the circuit. On a grounded circuit, it does this by sending the current to ground. On an ungrounded (two-wire) circuit, it does the same thing by sending the current back to ground through the neutral wire. A properly wired GFCI will work just fine on a two-wire circuit. The GFCI outlets have test and reset buttons on their face. To test for proper operation, simply push the test button. If you hear a snap, the circuit has tripped, and you can test it by plugging in a lamp or radio. To turn the power back on, simply push the reset button. If you are still not sure, call a qualified electrician and have him check all your GFCI receptacles.

Selling Your Home in a Buyers' Market

How to step out from the crowd!

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The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today. Frankly, it is one. The interest rates are encouraging, although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy. Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market. This only increases as we get into spring and summer. So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd? Set a realistic sale price. First, know the appraisal value of your home. If you don't, hire an appraiser. You need to know what the bank thinks your home is worth. Setting your price too high can break a sale at closing. Next, take a good look at the market around you. Compare yourself with like homes; homes that are the same age, similar square footage, comparable yards, and in similar neighborhoods. Then see which of these homes have been selling and which have been sitting. Consider how long you want to be on the market. Depending on your location, even a well priced home may take 60-90 days or longer in a buyer's market. Make sure to concentrate on here and now, do not get stuck looking at what your home might have sold for last summer or fall. Facing the reality of how much your home is worth on the current market will help you avoid reducing your price or offering incentives you would rather avoid. Know your competition. As stated above, make sure to compare yourself to like homes. Also, check to see what, if any, incentives comparable homes are offering. Tour some of the homes. Get an idea of what updates have been done. Take a look at how comparable homes are being staged or what they are lacking in their staging. Sometimes using a critical eye on homes you are not attached to can help you discover what potential buyers may be seeing in your home. Get an experienced realtor. Find a realtor who has been selling homes for a while. Especially with the recent fall in home sales for most of the nation, you want to make sure you get a realtor who will avoid knee jerk reactions to a market they haven't experienced before. A realtor who is familiar with your neighborhood and knows what buyers are looking for can help you prepare the house for sale. Stage your home for showing. Set your home up as a model home. Go to an open house at a new development or home and garden show in your area. Notice how there are tasteful decorations that offer the aesthetics without the personality? Take down family pictures, collectables, anything that tells about your personality. You are moving anyway, so get these items boxed up now. You want buyers to walk through your home seeing the home as one they can picture themselves in. You don't want the buyers to walk away thinking, "Wow, they really like Elvis!" Ramp up the curb appeal. Make sure to keep the yard and front walkway pristine. This is the first impression before a potential buyer walks in or even picks up that flyer. Your backyard should be cleaned up as well. Sometimes people forget that the outside of the home can say a lot about the owner. If you have a neglected yard, buyers may wonder if you are neglecting other problems inside your home as well. Fix or update problem areas now. The last thing you want is to get an offer and then have something come up in a home inspection that can break the deal! If you aren't sure, it is not uncommon for buyers to have their home inspected before placing it on the market. Unless you are pricing your home below value as a fixer-upper, then you need to get any repairs done before going to market. Be realistic, although a new kitchen may add to your home, most likely the cost of remodeling will not be recuperated in your selling price. Instead concentrate on items that either have to be done or you can do easily and at little cost to yourself. Offer incentives for buyers. Incentives can vary in scope. Perhaps the carpets are old but you don't want to get them replaced; you can offer a carpeting/flooring allowance. Perhaps you want to drive the buyers to close by offering to pay closing costs. You can pay for other buyer costs such as homeowners insurance, home appraisal or home inspection. In the case of a condo, you can offer to pay the first 6 or x months of homeowner dues. Another incentive that might help is being flexible on your move in date. Respond to offers and questions quickly. Don't let potential buyers sit wondering what happened to their offer. Get back to any offers or questions about the home as quickly as you can. This will include the help of your realtor as buyers will contact them first. Make sure your realtor is a good communicator and will respond quickly!

One roof or two?

My 1950’s home has recently developed ceiling cracks running lengthwise through all of the rooms.

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Q. My 1950’s home has recently developed ceiling cracks running lengthwise through all of the rooms. Recently, I had a new shingle roof put on, and the roofing contractor told me that I could save a little money by putting the new shingles on top of the old ones. I wonder if this could be contributing to the cracking of my plaster ceilings.

A. The new roof over the old is most likely the reason for the ceiling cracks. Some roofing contractors will put new shingles over old ones because it saves them time and money, but this is no benefit to the home owner. Your house was framed to handle the weight of one shingle roof, but not the weight of two. The extra load on the structure is placing stress on the rafters, braces and ceiling joists, and causing stress cracks in your plaster ceilings. At this point, your best option is to just live with the cracks, because if you patch them without relieving the extra load on the roof, the cracks will just come right back. Next time you are ready for a new roof, insist that the roofer remove all of the old shingles, felt, tar paper and any other materials right down to the plywood or boards and start from scratch. This will not only eliminate the extra weight problem, it will give you a better looking, tighter and longer lasting roof.

Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Tips

Every day people are looking for ways that they can make a difference.

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With all of the environmental problems our world is facing today, every day people are looking for ways that they can make a difference. Earth conscious individuals everywhere are recycling their paper, plastic and glass, purchasing hybrid and electric cars but what more can people do in their day-to-day lives to make a difference? When it comes to earth-friendly home improvement measures, you'd be surprised at the amount of "small stuff" you can do that really adds up in a big way. Here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly home improvement tips.

1.) Change a Light Bulb, Change the World: One of the smallest things you can do with one of the biggest potential impacts is changing one, single light bulb in your home from an incandescent to a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every American home replaced just one bulb, we could save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year. That translates into savings of over $600 million in annual energy costs. Additionally, by changing just one light bulb, we could prevent the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to emissions of over 800,000 cars! That's incredible! While CFLs do cost a bit more up front, they last up to 10 times longer and produce about 75% less heat. The best part is, you don't need to buy all new lighting! CFLs can be used in most standard light fixtures. While the impact of every American switching one light bulb to a CFL is staggering, why not change a couple? It's recommended that a CFL be installed into any fixture that is used for more than 15 minutes at a time, including fixtures in the living room, bedroom and kitchen.

2.) Paint The Town Green: If you have a painting project on your list of "to-dos," consider using low or no VOC paints. VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) are low level toxic emissions that are released into the air during the painting process and sometimes, for years afterward. While zero VOC paints are ideal, these can cost on average, about $30 a gallon. If you are on a budget, low VOC paints are a suitable option, costing about the same as a regular gallon of paint. Many of these low and zero VOC paints are also odor free, which is a plus. You can also purchase low and no VOC stains and varnishes for your woodworking projects.

3.) If You Build It Green, They Will Come: When it comes to purchasing furniture for your home or apartment, it’s a good idea to be thorough when shopping around. I'm not just talking about shopping for the best price - I'm talking about shopping for the "greenest" manufacturer! Take bedroom furniture manufacturer, Lifestyle Solutions, for example. Lifestyle Solutions has its manufacturing process certified for compliance by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) guidelines for sustainable management of tropical forests. Every single product they produce is constructed from plantation-grown imported hardwood to help ensure a sustainable use of timber. Bedroom furniture manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett on the other hand, employs a One For Program, in which the company replaces every tree used in the manufacturing process, with a new one. By shopping with a more earth-friendly company, you feel especially good about your investment - and let’s face it, good furniture is definitely an investment.

4.) Clean Living: When you clean, have you ever stopped to look at the bevy of chemicals found in most household cleaning solutions? I always go by the mantra of "if you can't pronounce it, it can't be good." By using natural cleaning products, you eliminate both direct contact with your skin and you help the environment at the same time. Since most conventional dish and laundry detergents are petroleum based (non-renewable resource), with fragrance that contain phthalates (potentially harmful chemicals), you should try and use "fragrance-free" products and cleaning products with a citrus-oil base. Home-made concoctions are also great ways to clean a more eco-friendly way. Remove stains by soaking fabrics in water mixed with borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda or white vinegar. Baking soda can be used in place of traditional cleanser for cleaning countertops and stovetops. Try adding one-quarter cup of white vinegar or a tablespoon of lemon juice to a spray water bottle and clean your windows. By taking a pot of boiling water and flushing it down your drains, you help prevent drains from clogging. If your drain is already clogged, try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle one fourth cup of baking soda into the offending drain and then pour a cup of vinegar, letting it sit for 15 minutes. Flush it out with boiling water and repeat as necessary. When it comes to the day to day tasks and basic home improvement, there are plenty of eco-friendly ways that you can make a difference. While some of these things might take some extra time and cost a little more money, it's probably worth it in the long run. More information at: http://www.BedroomFurniture.com