Priority Maintenance for Home Buyers There are so many home maintenance and repair items that are important; it can be confusing trying to establish which are the most critical. To simplify things, we have compiled a short list of our favorites. These are by no means all-inclusive, nor do they replace any of the information in a home inspection report. They should, however, help you get started on the right foot. Remember, any items marked as priority or safety issues on your home inspection report need immediate attention. One-Time Tasks 1. Install smoke detectors as necessary (usually one on each level of the home, near any sleeping areas). Install carbon monoxide detectors, according to manufacturer’s recommendations. 2. Make any electrical improvements recommended in the home inspection report. 3. Remove any wood/soil contact to prevent rot and insect damage. 4. Change the locks on all doors. Use a dead bolt for
15 Questions That You Should Ask When Shopping for a Home Inspector Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS? A: Home inspectors come and go. The long time firms are here to stay. They'll be here if you have a question or a problem down the road. Q: WHAT ARE YOUR INSPECTORS' QUALIFICATIONS? A: The industry is essentially unregulated. Anyone can call themselves a home inspector. Q: CAN I FOLLOW ALONG AT THE INSPECTION? A: If they won't let you go to the inspection, don't use them. We actually encourage you to attend. This is a valuable learning experience for most home buyers. It is the perfect opportunity to ask specific questions about the condition of the home. Also, where defects are identified, the engineer can discuss these so that you understand what repairs are required, when and at roughly what cost. Q: ARE YOU MEMBERS OF ANY ORGANIZATION?
Follow these simple steps to protect your house and property to stay warm and dry this winter. The first areas to check are the roof and gutters.  If you are not comfortable with heights or ladders hire a professional to do this type of work. Make sure that the gutters are clean. Are they sloped correctly and are the downpipes connected and not loose? Checking the slope of gutters is easy as water will accumulate in the incorrectly sloped areas. Remove all debris from the gutters as well as from the roof. The roof should be free of debris and moss. If you have moss growing on your roof have it removed by a professional  as moss growth will degrade most roofing materials and can impede drainage, particularly in valleys. If your roof is flat, annual cleaning is important as debris tends to accumulate quickly here particularly at drains. Beware
Drainage Systems in Vancouver: Do You Need a Rowboat to Navigate Your Basement? In the Greater Vancouver area, water damage in homes is a constant threat. If your basement smells moldy or shows signs of moisture or water damage, it may be the result of an improperly functioning drainage system. Since the exterior components of a home are often the most neglected, and the drainage system is largely hidden from sight, this system is especially prone to problems. Professional Home Inspectors know where to look for water damage and mold. The earlier the water damage is identified the better so you can repair the damage before it gets out of hand. Although localized repair is sometimes possible, costs to replace the entire drainage system will be $10,000 – $15,000, making this a costly repair. There are, however, things you can do yourself to assess the condition of your drainage system
Mold in Your Home Can Make You Feel Lousy It may be more than just the short days and lack of sunlight that gets us down at this time of year. During the dark months of the Greater Vancouver winter most people spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors. Dampness and molds growing inside the home could be to blame for some of our bleak moods. Molds are some of the most common of biological indoor pollutants. Molds suppress the immune system and particularly affect children, the elderly and people with medical problems. Negative health effects range from irritant to allergen to toxin. The American Review of Respiratory Disease reports that the effect of dampness and molds on the respiratory health of children is equal in power to that of parental smoking. Symptoms associated with dampness and molds include: sluggishness; mental fatigue; irritation of skin, eyes, nose and throat;
Moisture Problems in Building Envelopes – knowing the score is key to reducing risk. We’ve all heard the heartbreaking stories. Most of us know someone who was affected by the “leaky condo” crisis that blindsided homeowners and caused them immense hardship and loss. Between 1983 and1998, a massive failure of the building envelopes in coastal BC homes allowed moisture to enter walls and reap havoc in rot, mold and leaks. Although the damage was most prevalent in condominiums, it also hit rental units, co-ops, townhouses, high-rises and single-family homes. When all is said and done, an estimated one to two billion dollars — most of it paid by homeowners — will have been spent to clean up the mess. Public confidence in the residential construction industry went into a tailspin as a result and stayed low for many years. If you’re thinking of buying a property, you’re riding a new
Electrical Systems: Are You Wired for Safety? A properly functioning electrical system is an essential feature of a healthy and safe house. Since electrical systems are generally expanded and upgraded over the life of a house, safety hazards often arise due to amateur renovations and improper installations. With the help of professionals, you can identify common flaws and take corrective action to protect against electrical shock and fire. You will also ensure optimal efficiency of your electrical system. How electricity works Voltage (volts or V) is the pressure between any two wires of an electric current. Most modern houses have two incoming voltages: 120 volts for lighting and appliance circuits and 240 volts for larger appliances such as stoves and dryers. Current (amperage or amps) flows constantly back and forth through live and neutral wires (conductors) when an appliance is turned on, completing the electrical “circuit.” This is known as
Buyer Beware – Learn to Recognize Common Problems in Single Family Homes Buying a home in Greater Vancouver’s competitive real estate market is not for the faint of heart. Until recently demand has far exceeded housing supply often leading to intense bidding wars, and typically resulting in offers at or above asking price, and sometimes with no subjects conditional to the sale! Frequently too, buyers have only the briefest of opportunities to view the home. The pressure to make a major financial decision within a very short time frame and often without adequate objective information can expose home buyers to risks that may be overwhelming. While the following information should not be considered a substitute for a professional home inspection, it is intended to help you recognize some common and potentially expensive problem conditions that may affect your purchase and planning decisions. First, know what you can manage. Are you
The toxic threat of “Chinese drywall” to homes in Canada While the risk of asbestos in home construction has been long recognized and action taken to stop it, a less well-known recent threat is the use of an extremely toxic drywall that was imported from China during the U.S. housing boom of 2004-2007 to satisfy the drywall shortage, and in response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Many thousands of homes in the U.S. have been irreparably damaged by this substance, and the homeowners sickened, leading to extensive lawsuits. Although there was no similar shortage in Canada, the defective drywall found its way into the country through Vancouver and has reportedly spread to the Prairies and eastward to Toronto. By 2009, many homeowners in British Columbia had reported illnesses linked to its use. The full extent of the toxic drywall crisis in Canada has yet to be revealed. The
How to Safeguard Your Home from the Risk of Asbestos Most people are aware that the use of asbestos in home construction has been banned in Canada due to the serious health risks it poses. But when it comes to our homes, how can we know whether asbestos is present and how to safeguard against it? This article highlights some pertinent information about asbestos that you should know for your peace of mind and planning. It discusses where asbestos can be found in the home and what to do about it. Asbestos was widely used The word asbestos means “inextinguishable” in Greek.  It has been used since antiquity in a wide range of products such as lamp wicks, funeral shrouds, and ceremonial tablecloths, which the ancient Greeks would throw into the fire to clean. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of long, thin, silky strands of fibrous material that
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