Tag: postnotes

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 6

Covid-19 update


Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments.

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe
  • Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed on-site
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • Online or contactless payment options are available on request

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

SEASONAL SENSE

Home For The Holidays?


If you’re sticking close to home this holiday season, that’s even more motivation to create a cozy and festive feeling. Try these ideas for a dose of holiday cheer!

  • There’s nothing like freshly baked cookies to fill your house with the scent of the holidays. Freeze cookie dough in portions so you can bake up a batch anytime.
  • Winter-flowering bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhites are easy to grow indoors. Place them throughout the house to enjoy the color and fragrance at every turn.
  • String holiday lights indoors around door frames and archways to add sparkle to your evenings. Color-shifting types are optional!
  • Group battery-powered pillar candles on a table or mantel for a soft glow without the flame. Many flicker realistically and some can even be controlled remotely.
  • Simmering mulling spices on the stove will add a homey touch and a fragrance that says “holiday!” Cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peels are a classic combination.

Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your holiday home.


SAFE AT HOME

7 Tips For Holiday & Winter Fire Safety


Taking some simple precautions around the home can help keep your family safe during the holidays, especially when it comes to decorating.

  1. Always use non-flammable decorations both indoors and outdoors.
  2. Check holiday light strands for damaged or broken wires and plugs. Enjoy indoor lights only while someone is at home and turn them off before going to bed.
  3. Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Dried-out trees are extremely dangerous and should be discarded immediately.
  4. Candles add lovely ambience to your holiday home. Place them in stable holders and keep them away from flammable items, drafts, pets and children.
  5. Children should not have access to or be allowed to use matches, lighters or candles.
  6. Keep space heaters away from bedding, curtains, paper—anything flammable. Never leave a space heater unattended while in use.
  7. Busy with holiday cooking and baking? Kitchen fires are a leading cause of house fires. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach and know how to use it.

Here’s to enjoying
a happy and safe
holiday season!

KNOWLEDGE BASE

Smoke Alarms 101


Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury, death and property loss in house fires. Nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities occur in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. An early warning can save lives!

  • Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top, so smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • Near the kitchen, use an alarm with a “hush button” that will silence nuisance alarms reacting to cooking smoke or steam. Or install a photoelectric alarm which will not be triggered by cooking. Never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • Test each unit monthly. Put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. This is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall or spring. Many alarms now come with 10-year lithium batteries that eliminate the need for new batteries, but the unit itself must be replaced after its lifespan.


HOME IMPROVEMENT

Pillar To Post Cost Guide


Spending more time at home has lots of homeowners eyeing new projects and home improvements. Sound familiar? Whether you’re considering an upgraded bathroom, new flooring or replacing a fence, our popular Cost Guide provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancies of those systems.

Request complimentary copies of the Cost Guide from your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector or download it at pillartopost.com/cost-guide.

HOUSEWISE

Home On The Range


Your kitchen range is one of the hardest-working appliances in your home. Taking care of it might not make you a four-star chef, but it will perform better and last longer. Here’s how:

  • Wipe up spills from the cooking surface and around the burners daily.
  • Clean the inside of that grimy oven window with a paste of baking soda and a small amount of dish soap to dissolve grease. Do this when the oven is cold.
  • Check the oven seal and replace if it’s damaged or very dirty. Source the replacement part online to make it an easy DIY job.
  • If you regularly use only one oven rack, store the others in a pantry or closet to keep them clean.
  • Remove the control knobs and clean them in hot, soapy water, using a gentle brush to remove tough spots. An old toothbrush works well for this.
  • On gas stoves, make sure the burner channels are clean and clear for best performance. Leveling the stove will help the burners flame evenly.
  • Make sure the anti-tip mechanism is properly in place to avoid possible injury.

Experience the Pillar To Post difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 5


September is Realtor Safety Month. The safety of Realtors is paramount to all of us at Pillar To Post, so this issue of Post Notes reminds brokers, agents and their teams how to stay safe, especially when day-to-day business activities return to normal.

Additional resources:

www.nar.realtor/safety

www.beverlycarterfoundation.org


Showing Empty Properties

Take these smart steps to protect and empower yourself against attack or theft.

  • Be sure to use the lockbox property–key procedure that has been established to improve real estate agent safety so that keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.
  • Show properties before dark. If you must show a property after dark, alert or bring along an associate, turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.
  • Check in with someone on your team once an hour to let people know where you are.
  • Prepare a scenario so that you can leave, or to encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone went off and you have to call your office; you left some important information in your car; another agent with buyers is on his way.
  • When showing a property, always leave the front door unlocked for a quick exit while you and the client are inside. As you enter each room, stand near the door.
  • Lock your purse in the car trunk before you arrive. Carry only nonvaluable business items (except for your cell phone), and do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money.
  • Park at the curb in front of the property rather than in the driveway. It is much easier to escape in your vehicle if you don’t have to back out of a driveway. And while parked in a driveway another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.

Top 10 Tips for Personal Safety

  • Touch base. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return. Arrange for someone from your office to call you to check in.
  • Don’t get lost. Always know the exact address of where you’re going. If you use a navigation app, pull over and stop in a safe place if you’ve made a wrong turn.
  • Sense your surroundings. Is there questionable activity in the area of a property you’re showing? Is anyone loitering? Follow your instincts if you feel you should leave.
  • Don’t go it alone. Have an associate or other colleague host open houses with you.
  • Limit the view. If you’re working late, use window coverings so that you’re not visible to passersby or a potential attacker.
  • Go on the defense. Learn some self-defense skills. Many health clubs, martial arts studios and community colleges offer basic classes.
  • Choose flight over fight. While self-defense is a good idea, the primary goal in any threatening situation is to escape from immediate danger and call for help.
  • Park for protection. Always park in a well-lit, visible location whether you’re parking at your office, an open house, or an empty property.
  • Make calling for help easy. Program important numbers into your cell phone, including your office, roadside assistance and 911.
  • Know who you’re dealing with. Ask for ID, take a photo of a client’s license plate. A criminal won’t be comfortable with this and may be thwarted.

Office Safety Action Plan

Personal safety in the office is important to everyone. Here are some key elements for your office safety action plan.

Initial meeting with clients

Hold the first in-person client meeting in the office rather than at properties, out of doors, or at home. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to a colleague on site.

Client ID

All first-time clients must provide a driver’s license, state ID or other official photo ID. The office will retain a copy of the ID for security purposes. You can download a Client Profile Form at www.beverlycarterfoundation.org.

Distress code

Implement a verbal distress code—a secret word or phrase that can be casually worked into conversation if you feel threatened and the person you are with can overhear your conversation.

Buddy system

If you’re uncomfortable meeting with clients alone request another agent or employee to accompany you.

Privacy first

Keep personal information private. Don’t discuss where you live, or your after-work or vacation plans in front of prospective clients, new colleagues or anyone with whom you’re not comfortable.

Limit access

Make sure all doors other than the main entrance door are secured, and have a clear exit route from the front desk to the door.

Solo security

If you encounter a stranger while working late or alone, say something like “My supervisor will be right with you.” to give the impression you’re not there alone.

Be aware of surroundings

Get to recognize the staff of other nearby businesses and be aware of their schedules. This will benefit everyone.

Sources: NAR, Beverly Carter Foundation


A Note for Our Times

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain committed to provid-ing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments.

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe
  • Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed on-site
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • Online and/or contactless payment options available on request

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is pleased to provide this information for the safety and well being of Realtors. We hope you find this Special Issue useful for yourself and your team. Please stay safe.


Experience the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 4

COVID-19 Update

Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients and homeowners, as well as our inspectors. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain highly focused on providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guide-lines provided by the CDC and local governments.

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to Ensuring Confident Home Ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.


Sunset dandelion closeup

MAINTENANCE TIPS

Your Summer Checklist

A well-maintained home is enjoyable in any season. Tackle a few of these tasks each week and reap the rewards!

Woman in sundress sitting on outdoor patio

OUTDOORS

  • Decks and patios are much more inviting when they’re clean, so get out that pressure washer. Be sure to follow directions to prevent damage.
  • If house or trim paint is peeling, cracked or chipped, repair and repaint now to prevent damage to the underlying materials.
  • Remove window screens and clean them with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow to dry in the sun before reinstalling.
  • Repair any holes in the screens or replace the screening material.
  • Have the air conditioning system serviced. Promote good air flow by keeping plants trimmed back from around the condenser unit.
  • Seal cracks in the driveway and walkways.
  • Replace broken sprinkler heads and/or emitters in the irrigation system. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.

INDOORS

  • Change the rotation of ceiling fans to the summer setting and give the blades a good dusting.
  • Close the chimney flue to keep insects out and cool air in.
  • Clean out the ashes from wood-burning fireplaces and inspect the firebox for cracks or other damage. Scheduling needed repairs in the summer means you won’t be on a waiting list come fall.
  • Hang area rungs over a deck or porch rail to air out.
  • Swap out heavy bedding for lightweight summer fabrics. Have comforters and duvets cleaned before storing them away for the season.
  • Repot houseplants to help promote growth and plant health.


Grilled meat and vegetable kebabs

SUMMER SAFETY

Time To Get Grilling!

Ahh, it’s grilling season. Here are our top tips for a safe (and delicious!) experience.

  1. Keep young children and pets away from the grill during and after cooking. Especially with charcoal grills, the exterior can remain hot long for a long time.
  2. Do not use a grill under an overhang, carport, deck, or in a garage.
  3. Make sure the grill rests on a stable surface and can’t be tipped over. If the grill has lock-ing casters, make sure they’re engaged.
  4. A propane/gas or charcoal grill should not be used indoors.
  5. Periodically check hoses and connections on propane grills. Replace any cracked or brittle hoses before using the grill. Don’t store pro-pane tanks in a garage or other structure at any time.
  6. Start charcoal fires using a chimney starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid. Not only is a chimney starter safer, your meal will taste better.
  7. To help prevent grease fires in a gas/propane grill, remove accumulated grease and residue from drip pans every few uses. Use baking soda, not water, to safely extinguish a grease fire.

Now grab that spatula and a cool drink. You’re all set!



Pillar to Post inspector checking under kitchen sink

INSPECTION INSIGHTS

Should you get a pre-listing home inspection?

In a word, yes! A pre-listing home inspection can uncover previously unknown issues — major and minor — so you’ll have the opportunity to make repairs, updates, or replacements as needed or as you wish. Addressing these issues before the home goes on the market can result in cleaner offers and a better selling price.

Make sure the home inspection is comprehensive and that you’ll get the report immediately upon completion of the inspection. Having this information right away is helpful when deciding on next steps prior to listing your home.

Photos should always be part of a professional report so that full documentation of conditions is available to both you and potential buyers. This is especially important when it comes to issues that are not addressed or repaired prior to sale. Make records available of any repairs or upgrades completed after the inspection so that buyers can see that the work was done.


HOME SMARTS

Controlling Indoor Humidity

High relative humidity (RH) in your home encourages mold growth and dust mites, can make your house smell musty and potentially damage your home and belongings. Here’s what you need to know:

MEASURE IT

Use an inexpensive hygrometer from the hard-ware store to measure humidity levels in several locations. 50% RH is normal for summer; in winter it depends on the outdoor temperature—it may be less than 30% on colder days.

CONTROL IT

If your whole house is humid, it could be due to:

Lack of ventilation. Without fresh air circulation humidity can build up indoors, especially in newer, well-sealed homes. Consult an expert on ventilation.

Oversized air conditioner. Central air is an excellent dehumidifier, but if the system is over-sized for the home, the on-cycles are too short to effectively remove humidity.

A gas-fired appliance that isn’t venting properly. If you suspect this, contact a qualified heating contractor to investigate.

Localized high humidity can be caused by over-cooling a particular area, not using bath-room fans, or basement/crawlspace dampness. Correct these conditions to resolve the problem.

In some cases, a dehumidifier may be the only way to control moisture in a damp area. Be sure to use a unit sized appropriately to the space. An undersized unit will not reduce moisture effectively. But be aware that dehumidifiers use quite a bit of energy, even as much as a small window air conditioner.

Woman reading in bay window

Discover the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 2020 No. 3

COVID-19 Update

During the COVID-19 health emergency, Pillar To Post remains open wherever possible. Our inspectors are taking precautions to help protect the health of agents, customers and their families as well as themselves. Please note that where allowed, we are able to do our home inspections without agents or clients present if they can’t or prefer not to attend. We are here for you!

Escape To Your Backyard

HOME TIME

Escape To Your Backyard

Staying home doesn’t necessarily mean forgoing outdoor activity. Why not turn your backyard, patio or balcony into a space you can really enjoy? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Children in a field of flowers
  • Create an inviting spot to have lunch or dinner. Chairs and a table that can be moved easily let you enjoy your feast in or out of the sun.
  • A patio umbrella not only provides shade, it brings a welcome punch of color to your space. To prevent fading and stains, choose a fabric made specifically for outdoor use. With a huge variety of colors and patterns available you’ll have fun deciding!
  • Try container gardening. Kids will have fun growing cherry tomatoes, snap peas and herbs like chocolate mint or lemon thyme.
  • Flowering plants grown in eye-catching containers soften the space and add visual interest all season long.
  • Add battery-powered string lights for some evening sparkle.

FORM & FUNCTION

FORM & FUNCTION

Spotlight on Skylights

There’s something special about natural light from above. Skylights bring natural light where it would be difficult or impossible to add a window. Some examples:

  • Natural illumination of a stairway
  • Where privacy is required, such as a bathroom
  • Small lots where windows would look directly onto a neighboring home
  • Where an attic has been renovated into a living area

Ventilation – Openable skylights provide natural ventilation. Some fixed skylights also have a venting option. Light Shaft – This type of skylight is used where there is an attic above the space you want to illuminate. The simplest type of light shaft extends straight down from the skylight in the roof. A flared design will let more light in but are a bit more complicated to install. Heat – In warm climates, skylights will add considerable heat to a home especially if they face south or west. But choosing the correct skylight for your climate helps. Your installer should be familiar with the different options and heat ratings available. A low tech solution is a shade for the skylight. Leaks – The difference between a skylight that leaks and one that doesn’t is a good installer! They will know how to choose a quality skylight and how to install it properly so it sheds water. It’s important to know that moisture or stains on the inside could be a leak or could just be condensation. Consult with a professional installer to help determine the best type of skylight for your situation. Then let the sunshine in!


Curb appeal

HOME SENSE

Spring Curb Appeal

Try these tips to help keep your place looking its best this season and beyond!

  1. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed, removing any damaged or dead branches.
  2. Use seasonal accents such as flowering plants, brightly colored planting containers and a fresh doormat to create a welcoming entry for your family.
  3. Paint the front door in a bold accent color for maximum impact.
  4. Update the front door hardware and house numbers to a new style that suits your home.
  5. Make sure window and door trim is in good shape and give it a new coat of paint if needed.
  6. Concrete steps and walkways can be stained to coordinate with your home’s color scheme.
  7. Clean the windows so you can’t miss the sparkle from the street. It really makes a big difference!
Potted flowers

Modern backyard deck with pool
Woman painting the deck

MATERIAL WORLD

All Hands On Deck!

Adding a deck to expand your indoor-outdoor living space? Before you build, it’s important to choose the right decking material for your situation and budget. Pressure Treated Wood This common decking material can last 20 years or more if properly maintained. Typically, pressure treated wood for the deck structure is rougher and less expensive than the higher-quality boards used for the decking surface. These boards look better both right after construction and in the long term. Wood Cedar is a premium decking material with a rich look and feel. It deteriorates slowly even if left untreated. Untreated cedar will naturally turn silvery gray in a short amount of time, so if you that’s not the look you’re after you’ll need to stain it soon after construction. In the Western U.S. redwood is a popular, long-lasting decking option that can weather naturally, but unlike cedar the original color can be restored. Composites Composite decking is more expensive than most hardwoods but requires little to no maintenance beyond cleaning. Popular brands include Trex, AZEC and TruOrganics and typically offer a 25-year warranty. Composite decking is usually very heavy and normally requires a strong support structure. It can also get very hot underfoot, especially darker colors. Most municipalities require a permit to build a deck to help ensure it’s safely designed and built. Be sure to check on local requirement before proceeding. Then sit back, relax and enjoy your new space! Back yard deck with tables and chairs Discover the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!