7 Tips on Correct Etiquette When Visiting Open House Inspections

Some real estate agents have seen everything at Open House inspection days. Everything from people turning up with pets, people eating ice-creams and fast food, people with unmentionables stuck on the bottom of their shoes – the list goes on.

Truth is; most home owners are not very comfortable with strangers wandering through their homes, but most accept it as a “necessary evil” if they are to get their home sold. Well all consider our home our own personal space, so having strangers traipsing through our living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms, opening cupboards and closets is somewhat an invasion of our privacy.

That’s why it is really important to follow the proper etiquette when visiting Open Houses. It is important to respect other peoples privacy and property – after all, they still own the home. It is also important to show some respect and courtesy to the agent, as he or she is only doing their job as a salesperson and security guard. I say security guard, because thieves are known to attend Open Houses to steal items and/or inspect security arrangements in preparation for a later burglary.

With all that in mind, here are 7 tips for visiting Open House inspection days:

1. Arrive on time. Most agents hold several Open Houses on the same day. They not only need to find a car park, unlock the home, sometimes have a quick chat with the parting vendor, put up signs/flags, open any doors/windows, put out their marketing materials, be ready to talk with visitors and genuine potential buyers, collect names and details, then lock up the home, and arrive at the next open for inspection on time. It can be a race against the clock, they need to be attentive, yet often put up with rude visitors who consider it a game to annoy agents. It is important to remember the agent is just doing his or her job, and is often working long hours to earn a living. So, the first bit of etiquette is to show some respect for the agent and arrive on time.

2. Remove footwear. It is common courtesy to remove shoes when entering someone else’s home. Even if the home is not that flash, removing shoes is still a sign of respect. The home owner will usually have spent considerable time cleaning and preparing their home for presentation.

3. Supervise children. A busy agent often has genuine buyers to talk to and can’t be expected to babysit children and protect the home owners property from damage.

4. Don’t pry into personal belongings. As children many of us were taught to keep our hands behind our backs when visiting shops. Visiting Open Houses is a bit like that. Touching ornaments, discussing family photos, going through cupboards or clothing is considered unacceptable. However, genuine buyers would be expected to test the water pressure of a shower nozzle and pace out room sizes etc. If unsure, ask the agent.

5. Speak quietly and be careful what you say. The home owner or their friends/family/neighbors might be present, or a genuine buyer might be standing alongside. They won’t want to hear a stranger’s critique – good or bad.

6. Leave your contact details. It is normal courtesy to leave a name and contact details at an Open House inspection. If you decide you are not interested you could quietly tell the agent the property is not what you are looking for.

7. Keep the driveway clear. Home owners will want the entrance to their home to appear spacious and uncluttered. Genuine buyers will want to inspect the driveway for cracks and weeds, so keep the driveway clear and park your car up the street.

In summary; the agent is just doing his or her job (so be polite and respect their time pressures), and show respect for anything that doesn’t belong to you. It might sound a little old-fashioned, but taking personal responsibility and showing respect for others (and their property) is really not a lot to ask.

Things to Look Out for When Buying a New Home

When people are looking for a new home, they are typically looking for a place that has a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, is within a certain price range, and located in a specific area. However, there are a number of other factors that prospective homeowners should look out for when viewing homes. If certain products in the home are more than 20 to 30 years old, they may need to be replaced in the future. Home repairs and renovations can cost anywhere from $1,000 to replace an old water heater and its connections, while replacing all of the old windows in your home can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Here are some things that you should be sure to look out for when you are searching for a new home.


It is fairly easy to tell if the windows in a home have been replaced recently. Old windows often look weathered around the frames and on the glass. You may also be able to feel hot and cold drafts of air if you stand by the windows. You can also try asking the Realtor or homeowner how long it has been since the windows have been replaced in the property.


If the roofing shingles or the frame around them is rotted, molding, or otherwise damaged, you may have to replace the entire roof of the home if you decide to purchase it. A damaged roof can lead to water leaks inside of the home and can result in additional repairs. On average, the cost of having a new roof installed will run in the $5,000 to $30,000 range, depending on the materials used and the size of the house.


Although it is difficult to see what is going on with a home’s plumbing when walking through it, you will get a report on the plumbing when the inspection is completed. If the inspection report shows that the plumbing in the house is outdated and in need of significant repair, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars to update it.

Remedying Sump Pump Problems

Sump Pump Problems affect many homes, but there are steps that can be taken to either prevent these problems, or address them when they do occur.

If you live in an area where constant water damage is a concern, then there’s a good chance that your home has a sump pump installed. The pump’s main job is to get rid of water that has collected in a sump pit or water basin so keeping it working at all times makes sense. Sump pump problems are sometimes common and easily fixed.

Plug in pumps are prone to failure in the event of power outages, so checking the power is one of the first things you can do to see if this is the reason the pump has failed. If this is something that happens, consider switching to a battery operated sump pump or a plug in model that has a backup battery in the event of a power outage. There are also water powered pumps that rely on the home’s pressurized water system and not an electrical power source.

Another common sump pump problem is the accumulation of dirt and debris over the course of time. Like with any mechanical device clogged with dirt, a sump pump that has this kind of accumulation built up can see a decrease in its intended performance. A simple, routine cleaning will fix this. You also want to check any screens or openings into the pump, as dirt clogging these can make it so that the pump has a hard time moving water.

If your sump pump has a check valve, then check for compressed air. Enough of a build up can render the pump completely useless, especially if your model has a solid pipe leading to the check valve. This can be fixed by making a small 1/8th inch hole in the side of the pipe to prevent air from being trapped in it.

Another problem can be rooted in the switch float. Check to make sure that the switch float inside of the pump is floating freely and not stuck. The switch float’s job is to activate the pump once the water reaches a certain level to prevent flooding, so the switch float becoming stuck causes the entire device to not function.

What Is A Leak Detector?

Pipelines are the most common mode of transportation for gases, mineral oil and other fluid products in today’s world. They can be used for short-distance transport and even long-distance and they are pretty safe and decently fast. However, like all things in this world, pipelines become older and start to corrode. When that happens, it is soon followed by leaks of the fluid or gas it contains, and this is why a leak detector is needed.

A leak detection device is very important because it tells you if your pipelines are having any leaks. This is extremely useful for two reasons. The first reason is safety. Some of the gases or liquids contained in the pipes can be dangerous for the worker’s health and if a problem isn’t found and fixed very quickly, it can lead to potentially fatal situations. The second reason is productivity. Sometimes, the content of a pipeline can be very expensive and one cannot afford losing part of it due to leaking. Also, a leak detector helps increase productivity by keeping workers from inspecting pipelines manually, which takes a lot of time.

Leak detectors are of different types, each type with its own system of detecting leaks. Some are visual and use density and heat to spot a leaking problem, such as the infrared detector, while others use sound, tracking the audio “fingerprint” of a normal pipeline in order to find a leaking one. There is also the vapor-sensing tube, which relies on the smell and chemical reaction that leaks produce in order to detect them.

So if you are working near pipes and want to work in a safe and productive environment, there are enough types of leak detection devices to choose from.

A Home Inspection is a Must Before Selling Your Home

One of the most intelligent things you can do before putting your home on the market is to have an inspection done. It has actually been proven that a good inspection can increase the listing price of your home. It will also give you the opportunity to fix anything that needs to be corrected before potential buyers get in there.

By correcting these issues that arise, the buyer will have fewer things to negotiate with and ensure a more successful sale is made.

There is no doubt that there are many home inspectors out there, so you need to be careful and take your time when hiring one. One with lots of experience will certainly get the job done in an efficient manner. They will be able to provide you with a higher amount of detail about what they inspect and what needs to be fixed.

Instead of just leaping into any type of inspector, make sure you understand the report they will provide you with. You do not want a two-hundred paged book about what is wrong. You want a clean, short report that is detailed enough to provide you with fixing information. The inspector should also take the time to go over it with you.

The better the detail, the more likely your home will sell higher. If the inspector you hire uses technological equipment, it is possible to find out certain things that you may not have known about. A few examples of these are moisture levels, carbon monoxide levels, and electrical circuits. These are important, as if they are in great shape, they can increase the listing price of your home.

You may ask the inspector to also include photos. This can help as a before and after for potential buyers.

Of course, having an inspection done will also give you a reality shock. Sometimes we conjure a listing price for our home that is way too high, and an inspector may just help you realize that.

He or she will provide you with facts and things you may not have noticed. With this list, you will be able to make a much more accurate listing price.

Home Inspections Save Time and Money

When purchasing a home, having it inspected by a licensed general contractor can save time and money. An experience builder can spot problems in their sleep, saving you a hassle and a fortune in the long run. A General Contractor has knowledge on all the trades imperative to your making a wise decision on just what home you choose. Some common important things they look for are:

  • Water Heater Hook Up & Safety Straps
  • Foundation Integrity
  • Electrical
  • Drywall & paint
  • Termites
  • Wood Rot
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Vents
  • Attic
  • insulation
  • Exterior siding
  • Masonry
  • Pool & Spa
  • Decks
  • Appliances’
  • Flooring
  • H.V.A.C.
  • Codes
  • Structural Integrity {Frame}
  • Hand rails

The list often ends up a stack of pages over an inch thick. On a recent job, the window handle cranks alone cost $3400 to replace as they turned out to be stripped from erosion due to the salt air near the sea. Do the toilets function properly. Does that addition have a permit?

Any regular home inspection person lacking building experience will not spot half the list above.

Even a good inspector can miss a flaw that later on rears its ugly head, usually costing the new homeowner thousands of dollars. Deck leaks can lead to health problems from rot and mold build up. Leaks can be very difficult to spot, but, a good contractor would flood the deck with a hose to measure its integrity. Would the less experienced Jr. inspector find that flaw using that particular technique? That is why it is better to have a more qualified inspector perform your inspection. Many experienced inspectors are also licensed general contractors. A licensed contractor usually has the experience from working on homes to inspect them more completely.

Home Inspections – Discover Crawl Space Concerns

As a home inspector I enter crawl spaces as part of the whole home inspection. These spaces are rarely clean. It is a good thing I enter these spaces because I locate a lot of issues and concerns in these areas during home inspections.

I admit that I do not like going in to crawl spaces. They are nearly always dark, dirty, dusty and filled with spider webs. Some home inspectors will not actually enter these spaces. They instead will look at it from just the opening and report on what could be seen from there. I have a face mask that filters out the dust and molds that are present to make it healthier for me to enter crawl spaces. I also keep with me a set of overalls that I will put on over top my clothes to help keep me from getting as dirty as I would have gotten without my “dirt suit”. This gives me better ability to enter these places.

With this extra level of protection I have come across many issues under houses. One of the biggest issues I found was at a home only three months after it passed the final county building inspection. All the way in the back of the crawl space someone had cut out a 3 foot sections of the main support beam to make room for some HVAC duct work. The house was already beginning to sink in that area.

I have located piers supporting the house that were less than desirable. Wooden footers that were directly on the soil and beginning to rot. I have found support piers made of 2×4 wood that had no footer and was tilting off to one side. No very supportive. Often poor pier construction will result in the house having sloping floors.

Damaged duct work is another issue observed in crawl spaces. The duct work has been found disconnected and allowing the conditioned air to enter the crawl space costing the home owner extra money in heating and cooling bills. If the ducts are metal and sitting on the ground it will rust badly enough to have holes in it also allowing air to escape on to the crawl space. If the hole in the duct work is in the return air duct this opening or damage will let air from the crawl space enter the home along with the moisture, molds and dust located in the crawl space.

There are of course electrical issues as well that are discovered in these areas. When looking for a home inspection company find one that puts in the effort needed to help ensure your well being.

Facts About Mold

So everyone if your family keeps getting sick and you don’t know why? It could be the air quality in your home, or maybe the mold that lays inside your hvac unit, refrigerators, vents or even inside your drywall. It is extremely important to know what mold is and where it comes from. In order to prevent or remove mold from your home, it is important to know where it comes from and how it enters.

Molds are microscopic organisms found everywhere from inside your home to outside your walls. It is a living organism but it not a plant or animal. It is actually a type of fungus which is part of living organisms which serve an important role in our environment. One of the most popular antibiotics known as penicillin is actually a type of mold. This popular medicines has saved millions of lives. Mold is formed by creatures living in the fungi kingdom. The mold lands on a favorable surface, turn into colonies and then find new favorable services in which to develop.

Moisture, warmth and food are the three conditions favorable for mold to begin its growth. Common places consist of bathrooms, basements and kitchens, yet can grow in other places if the conditions are right. The climate in which your home rests and your households living habits can also affect the mold growth. Areas that have had flooding or leakage in roofs, pipes, walls or even areas with plans are favorable. A warm, moist area can lead to mold growth in as little as 48 hours.

Mold is reproduced or spread by creating cells called spores. These spores are too small to detect with your naked eye. They are everywhere and we cannot avoid being exposed to them. They travel in the air and are attached to clothing, shoes, belongings and even your skin. They can also enter your home through open doors and windows, through your home’s hvac system or even on your pet. You cannot avoid these spores from entering your home, but regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent the molds from growing.

Be careful with mold because it an make you sick. It can cause allergic infections and toxic reactions. Most common alleges are nasal congestions, mucous irritation, sneezing and coughing and difficulty breathing. Though it is impossible to completely eliminate airborne mold, try reducing humidity, preventing leaks, regularly cleaning and limiting carpets and plants in your home.

What Faults Will a Home Inspector Find With Your Home?

A Home Inspection Report is not usually expensive when compared to the cost of repairing faults identified in a report. A home buyer can avoid taking on major problems by commissioning a Home Inspectors report. After reading the findings a buyer can then decide to walk away from the sale, negotiate the price down, or require the problems be fixed prior to settlement.

A Home Inspection Report may examine a number of areas including: roofing, dampness, plumbing, foundations etc. Here are six more areas of interest:

1. Breach of Firewall

The wall between a garage and the rest of the house can be critical in slowing the spread of a fire into the main house. The door from the house to the garage should be a solid core door. This is different from internal doors in the rest of the house which are often hollow doors.

The integrity of the firewall between the garage and house can be destroyed when holes are cut in the firewall to run cables, or when a hole is cut in the solid core door to allow pets to go in and out.

2. Pool/Spa/Jacuzzi

When buying a house with a pool or spa, make sure cleaning/filtering system works properly. Test the thermostat and check for leaks or cracks.

3. Hazardous Materials

A home inspection report will normally point out findings of asbestos and lead.

4. Pests and Termites

A home inspection report will advise of termite/beetle holes in wooden supports and under house. The home inspector may also check attic vents for hornet/wasp nests. He or she may also check for rodent droppings in cupboards and under house.

5. Electrical

Before buying a house test outlets, light sockets and switches to ensure they work properly and check that they comply with regulations. The light fixtures will need to be tested too. Note: electrical wiring can be a complex subject so you may need to seek specialized professional advice if you are in any doubt as to the competence or safety of the wiring.

6. Smoke Detectors

These may not be mentioned on a home inspection report, but always have adequate smoke detectors strategically positioned throughout the house. And, check the effectiveness of smoke detectors at least twice a year. The batteries do not last forever and the smoke alarms are useless if they do not work. Most smoke alarms have a testing button so check if they are working or if the battery needs changing.

In summary, a home inspection report can be a valuable tool when buying or selling a property. However, the report will only be as good as the person doing the inspecting. Some home inspectors rush inspections when a thorough inspection would normally take an hour or more to complete. There are also home inspectors who lack the knowledge or experience to inspect a home properly, however in saying that, most home inspectors are thoroughly professional and will do a great job.

As a final note, please be aware that your home inspection report may not cover all the points mentioned in this article and it may include other factors like: septic systems, radon, land boundaries, abandoned in-ground oil tanks, asbestos, mold build-up etc. This is a guide only so always seek professional advice from a home inspector in your area.

What You Should Expect From a Home Inspector

In buying or selling a unit of house, it is essential to have it inspected first by the experts before you decide on what to do with it. That is called home inspection. Home inspection is an inadequate, confidential and persistent examination of the features and condition of a house. This is often done especially when you are about to sell your house to your new buyer. But this does not go between you and your buyer, a home inspector is responsible and more reliable in doing such actions for your safety and contentment.

A home inspector should be trained well and has certifications from the agency where he is employed to perform the said inspections. The inspector does certain checkups and tests, roaming around the perimeter area of the house checking every detail. After he had inspected the whole house, he then makes an inspection report signed and verified and that report together with its certificate will be handed unto you if you are the buyer or to the buyer of your house. You can use the knowledge you have gained from the inspector on deciding on the price of the house or in pending the real estate. The inspector will describe to you the condition of the house at the time of his inspection but be aware that the inspector cannot guarantee you the life expectancy, future condition and efficiency of the house systems and components.

In home inspection, the usual areas that a home inspector inspects are the roof, basement, heating system, rooms, electrical wiring, air conditioning system, plumbing, structure and many other aspects of the house especially those areas that are intended for scheduled repairs and maintenance. But be always aware that there are really times that a home inspector cannot relay every condition of the house to you whether in a good or bad conditions. It is still better to double check it and have it inspected in a scheduled basis.

There are said to be four types of home inspection: delivery inspection, structural inspection, plumbing inspection and heating ventilation and air-conditioning inspection. These four types are the main concern in every home inspection examination. Since, these four are the most complicated and the most important and the most concerned of all the areas and features a house. The four also connotes on how to set price and deal in selling or buying a house depending on its condition and efficiency.

When you are to have your house inspected, there are tips given to you as preparation that could put everything at ease and safety. You should clean the entire house first before letting the inspector roam around your house. This could help him inspect the house easier and at maximized time. Be aware of the time when the inspector might arrive at your house. They are professional people so be professional enough to cater them. For a more reliable and accurate inspection reports, keep all the connections connected, as well as the heating and air-conditioning system to check if everything is working well. Always keep a work place for your home inspector for him to be comfortable and at ease.

Now, that you already know what to do in a home inspection service, get yourself prepared and decide wisely for your home. In the event that a home inspector will give you negative reports, immediately do actions for repairs and maintenance to help the value of your house continuously increasing.