Helpful hints for home owners
I am glad you’re here. I want to you to know that these helpful hints will give some of you a better understanding of how your home is built and designed. In the long run, knowing this could save you a lot of money and headaches.
Your home has many interactive parts that make it whole. If one or more parts are not working correctly, the cost of repairs could be in the thousands. In this series of post, I will go through each of the major systems of your home and give you information about how the system works and what to look for. This is not a how to fix-it blog, simply I will show you what I look for as a home inspector, contractor and environmental technician.
As we go through each of the household systems, you may find some areas that are in need of repair. If you are capable, then go ahead and make the repair as soon as you can, just don’t forget about them. If you do not feel comfortable making repairs yourself, you can use Google or You Tube to find out how it is done. If not, you will have to find someone to do it for you. This could be a friend or family member, but it might have to be a contractor.
Hiring a contractor can be a very intimidating experience to some. Don’t be afraid, they won’t bite you. Just be very cautious and diligent throughout the hiring process. You can start by asking some of your family, friends and neighbors if they know a reputable contractor. And I am sure, that if they know a bad one, you will hear about that first. If that does not pan out, you can check Pro-Matcher, Local Saver, Yelp and other similar sites.
During the interview process, ensure the contractor carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage. Ask for references and recently completed pictures of projects that are similar in nature. Once you feel confident that you have found a reputable contractor, discuss the work that you need completed and make sure to get everything in writing. And yes, there will be paperwork involved.
The most important paperwork will be a signed agreement or contract describing the work and the price, and a lien waiver after the work is completed and the final payment made. If any additional work is needed, get that in writing also. Speaking of payment, if the contractor asks you for 100% of the payment up front, ASK HIM TO LEAVE NOW! It is normal for contractors to ask for a down payment, generally up to 30%.
Let’s get back to the nuts and bolts of this post. The inspection and upkeep of your home will require basic tools. I listed just some of the tools and equipment that every homeowner should have in order to take proper care of their home. I am going to start with the basics. The tools listed below are only a suggestion. But as we go along, you will find out how important each one truly is. A few great places to get tools are your local flea markets and of course the good old garage sale. Whatever tools that you decide upon, be sure they are a quality tool that will last for many years. Don’t buy cheap tools! They will always break when you need them the most.
|Tool Box||Claw Hammer|
|Screwdriver set||Vise grips|
|Combination wrench set||Slip-joint pliers|
|Tape measure||Cordless drill|
|Adjustable wrench||Utility knife|
|Wire cutters/strippers||Small handsaw|
|Shovel||Long extension cord|
|Utility tarp||5 gallon bucket w/lid|
|Touch up Paint||Wet & Dry vacuum|
|Electrical tester||Pry bar|
|Multiple fasteners||Duct tape|
|Step Ladder||Needle nose pliers|
|Safety glasses||Work gloves|
|Hearing protection||Dust mask or respirator|
Now that we have our tool list, familiarize yourself with the tools and learn how to use them if you don’t know how. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone has a first time. Some of you might have a fear of heights, so I added the binoculars to the list just for this reason. Inspectors often use binoculars to make a visual inspection of the roof. Checking your roof from a good vantage point with binoculars can be just as effective as if you were up there yourself.
So get those ladders or binoculars ready, in the next post we will discuss how to inspect your roof.