4 Easy Ways To Pest-Proof Your Home With The Help From Orlando Home Inspectors

Orlando Home Inspectors a big rat eating its food(BPT) – It’s late and you’re in your favorite, cozy pajamas. You get in bed and pull up the warm comforter. You turn out the light and are just about to drift off to sleep when you hear a noise coming from the attic. You sit up to listen, but it quickly goes quiet again. You lay back down and close your eyes, and just as you fall asleep, the noise is back, this time it’s coming from inside the wall.

You have a visitor — an unwanted visitor.

As much as we all enjoy our cozy homes, they are also the perfect setting for pests like rats, mice and raccoons to snuggle up and escape the cold air, too.

“There’s nothing more unsettling than knowing you and your family may not be the only ones enjoying this season indoors,” said Buck Hempel, manager of wildlife services at the pest control company Terminix. “Luckily, there’s still time to prepare your home to prevent critters from finding their way in.”

Whether you’ve already noticed signs of pest activity or just want more peace of mind at home, use these four preventative tips to eliminate and prevent potential pest infestations.

1. Seal off entry points to stop rodents from squeezing in.

Rodents can enter through holes as small as a dime, and will use any vulnerable opening to get in—from your foundation to your roofline. To keep these unwelcome intruders out, start by checking the perimeter of your home and repairing any small cracks or holes. In order to prevent rodents from chewing through these sealed areas, layer your sealing work by stuffing it first with a metal mesh, such as steel wool, and then sealing it down with caulk. This can also help keep summer pests such as spiders and ants at bay.

Don’t forget to check for gaps around conduit pipes, worn-out door sweeps and garage seals, as well as torn screens behind gables and roof vents. And, avoid leaving your doors open unnecessarily—even between trips to the car for groceries.

2. Secure food sources to eliminate the attraction.

Pests are not picky eaters. Once they find a food source, they are notorious for overstaying their welcome (and inviting friends). While critters can thrive in even the cleanest of houses, homeowners should remove any temptations by sweeping up spills and crumbs immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends storing food in airtight containers made of thick plastic or metal. This is especially important when storing pet food or bird seed in the garage.

3. Clear up clutter in your yard.

Stacks of firewood, old tires or other debris leaning against your exterior walls are a perfect, protected pathway around your house. Leave at least a foot of space between these items and your home, and move mulch away, too. Then, clean out your gutters and remove any dead leaves. Not only do piles of colorful fall foliage make for the perfect autumn Instagram photo, but raking these away from your home can help prevent pests like earwigs and snakes from finding warmth and building nests.

Homeowners with green thumbs should also thoroughly clean out planters before bringing them in for winter, as spiders will often lay eggs at the bottom of pots to hatch next spring.

4. Know when to call in the pros.

As with most home improvement projects, there are great do-it-yourself methods available to prevent pest control issues in your home. However, waiting until it’s too late to call in a certified professional can be dangerous and lead to major damage, costing you money and time. Pest control companies like Terminix offer free pest inspections to assess your home, and if needed, can remove any critters that may have settled in. To keep your family worry-free, they will seal any entry points to ensure winter pests can’t return. – (BPT)

 

Pest Proofing Your Home

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

4 Tips To Keep Your Home Warm And Energy Efficient With Home Inspector Orlando

Home Inspector Orlando a kid's feet standing in her mother's feetWith winter comes the holiday season, a time that’s supposed to be associated with “comfort and joy.” But how joyful will it be if pests invade your house, or if your home is cold and drafty? Help stay warm all winter long by addressing factors like air leaks from gaps and cracks that can make your home feel uncomfortable.

“Drafts and heat loss are common problems in the winter, and they affect homes of every age, size and construction,” says Gary Parsons, fellow at The Dow Chemical Company. “Those factors can seriously affect your home’s energy efficiency and how comfortable it feels. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to deal with issues like air leaks and insulation, and doing so can significantly improve your home’s function and livability.”

Parsons suggests these steps to help ensure a draft-free, pest-free and comfy home this winter season:

Seal cracks and gaps

Gaps and cracks throughout the home allow hot air to escape and cold air and pests to enter. Energy Star estimates that homes can have a half mile or more of cracks around doors, windows and sill plates alone, and those aren’t the only places in a home where gaps can exist. Air duct joints, points where piping enters a home, and anywhere wood meets concrete (such as around the foundation) are locations where cracks and gaps can occur.

Sealing cracks can help prevent air leakage, improve a home’s overall energy efficiency and block out pests and insects. In fact, homeowners can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling by air sealing their homes and adding insulation, according to Energy Star.

Even do-it-yourself novices can easily and quickly seal cracks and gaps in their homes. Products like GREAT STUFF(R) Gaps & Cracks and GREAT STUFF(R) Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealants are specially formulated to seal gaps and cracks, blocking out air, moisture and even pests. The ready-to-use insulating foam sealants can fill gaps up to 1 inch. When using the product, be sure to follow safety guidelines, including covering all skin, using gloves and safety goggles, and keeping the work area well ventilated.

Check insulation

Insulation is like a blanket that your home wears to help keep everyone inside warm and cozy. If your home doesn’t have the right amount or type of insulation for your climate, it can lose heat, energy efficiency and comfort. About 90 percent of existing homes don’t have enough insulation, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Follow Energy Star’s guidelines for more information on how to check your insulation to see if your home could benefit from adding more.

Take care of the HVAC system

If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system isn’t working as well as it could, you’re sacrificing comfort and increasing your energy bills. Make sure to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall to ensure they are operating efficiently.

Have the ducts inspected and seal any leaks. Be sure to change air filters regularly, per the system manufacturer’s recommendation for filter type and frequency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty air filters restrict airflow, making HVAC systems work harder and consume more energy to heat your home.

Don’t overlook little things

Things as simple as a forgotten window left cracked in summer months or neglecting to close the flue in your wood-burning fireplace can all affect the amount of heat and comfort that escape your home in the winter.

Before the weather turns very cold, make a sweep through your home and check for these minor but important points:

* Windows – Are all your windows closed? If you’ve recently sealed around windows, you probably opened them for ventilation. Double check to be sure you remembered to close them.

* Thermostat – Is yours properly programmed to optimize energy use by adjusting the temperature when you’re out of the house? Proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut energy bills by nearly $200 per year, according to Energy Star.

* Ceiling fans – you can use ceiling fans to supplement your furnace during the winter, but you have to remember to reverse the air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down from the ceiling during winter. – (BPT)

 

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

Buying Your First Home? Follow This New Year’s Plan From Orlando Home Inspectors

Orlando Home Inspectors christmas ball decoration with a mini toy house insideSo buying a new home tops your list of New Year’s resolutions. As you picture the big moment – the one where you pull up to your dream home in your moving truck, sprint up and unlock your front door – you probably understand there’s something you need to do first. You need to get your finances in shape.

Just like those who make resolutions to run a marathon, making this big investment starts with a plan. Runners know that if they run a certain distance each day, it gets them closer to accomplishing their goal.

“The same is true, in many ways, when it comes to buying a home,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “Before taking on a loan, many home buyers find they need to build their ‘financial muscles’ and establish ‘healthy’ money habits.”

By following a few tips to reach financial fitness goals, you, too can achieve the goal of home ownership.

Do those daily sprints

People who reach their fitness goals begin with a look at their current habits and then make a plan to replace them with better ones. The same is true for homebuyers. First, look at the spending choices you’ve been making, and review three to six months’ worth of bank statements. Consider what is necessary and what needs to cut back. The goal is to trim the fat in your budget so you can use the extra money to reduce your debt and increase your savings.

Crunch your debt

Take a look at your debts and consider the monthly payments you make. Are there any debts standing in the way of making a house payment affordable? Those are the ones you want to knock out with an accelerated payment plan, using the money you freed up by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Try focusing on one debt at a time, paying close attention to the ones with the highest interest rates to pay off first.

Beef up your credit score

The good habits you exercise today will make all the difference on your interest rate later. Put in the extra work to raise your credit score. Your credit score pulls together many details from your past and current debts as well as other financial factors, and helps lenders determine your creditworthiness. Making the effort to raise your score is worthwhile because shaving off even one-quarter of a percentage point from a mortgage loan can potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage. A credit score factors your history of on-time payments, the amount you owe on your debts, the type of credit you have, the age of that debt and any recently opened new credit lines as well as other factors. You may be able to improve your score and get the lowest possible interest rate on a home loan if you follow these “reps” every month: pay all your bills on time, don’t close old credit card accounts and don’t open new lines of credit.

Increase your intake of savings

Even when paying down debt, it’s still a good idea to start a small savings plan so you have some cash to fall back on if, say, you need to go to the doctor or get new tires for your car. Start by opening a savings account and set up automatic transfers each month. Even with $50 a month, you’ll have $600 in one year, which could bail you out of a number of small emergencies. Eventually, once your debts are paid off, you can divert those payments right into savings, which also can build your down payment for that new dream home

Prepare for the big event

All these steps lead to one main event: buying a home. Once you meet those smaller goals – following a budget, eliminating debt, raising your credit score, and saving for your down payment – you’re ready for the final push toward home ownership.

First, figure out how much home you can afford: look at home prices in your area, use an online loan calculator to estimate your payments, and go through your budget. Then gather up the financial documents you’ll need, including proof of employment, bank statements and tax statements. Finally, choose a lender that is right for you. Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. has many programs that can fit many kinds of buyers. Perhaps you’re getting your first mortgage, have perfect credit, and in some cases, less-than-perfect credit. All loan programs are subject to credit approval and restrictions apply. Contact Vanderbilt for details. If you are interested in learning more about Vanderbilt, visit, http://www.vmfhomeloan.com. Vanderbilt is a Berkshire Hathaway national housing lender that has been in business for more than 40 years and has helped families just like yours find the right financing program.

“Following these habits can be challenging from a motivation standpoint,” Hamilton says. “It takes patience, but once you’ve followed the steps to get financially healthy, it is a very rewarding experience.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking. – (BPT)

 

How To Buy Your First Home

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

4 Questions Homeowners Must Ask Remodelers And Their Home Inspector Orlando

Home Inspector Orlando man preparing materials for home remodelingIf you’re like millions of Americans, you’re doing some sort of home improvement project within the next year. Have you thought about how you’ll select your remodeler? Don’t be wooed by beautiful before-and-after photos – they are created to grab your attention and impress you, but they don’t tell the whole story.

For example, when you review a restaurant, you don’t base your rating just on the food. You expect an excellent experience, including a welcoming atmosphere and attentive service during the meal. Similarly, the overall impression of your remodeling project will be based on how you and your family were treated by the remodeling firm and its subcontractors from start to finish.

You can take the first steps toward a livable remodeling experience by asking your potential remodeler about what will happen during the project. Your home, in essence, will become a construction zone for weeks, months or longer. During that time, you and your family could be mired in a dangerous dust bowl, weeks away from seeing your living area turn into the showplace you envisioned.

Here are four key questions to ask contractors about ensuring a livable remodeling experience:

1. What is the work schedule and projected timeline for this project?

Agree on a working schedule that fits with your family’s lifestyle, but be willing to make modifications when necessary. Make sure the timeline includes project milestones as well as other important dates, such as when a utility will likely be disrupted or paint fumes could be bothersome.

2. What are the potential risks associated with this remodel?

While no one can predict every obstacle that will arise on a job site, both remodelers and homeowners should take safety precautions and be prepared for setbacks. Find out what chemicals, materials, tools and other equipment will be used in your home and how they will be stored when not in use. Being aware of potential dangers is key in keeping your family safe.

3. What are your dust control practices?

Exposure to small dust particles can cause serious health issues affecting both the lungs and the heart, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The threat is magnified when anyone in the home has breathing issues, allergies or other chronic conditions. Select a remodeler that follows dust control best practices, including isolating the work area, sealing vents and air ducts and establishing negative air pressure while maintaining proper ventilation. Ask if they use an air scrubber to collect and eliminate dust particles before they’re able to migrate throughout your home.

4. How can I help you?

That’s right – you, the homeowner – can be a help or hindrance to the progress of the project. Find out what you can do to make it go as smoothly as possible. In addition to keeping children and pets away from the work area, try not to distract or hover over your remodeling team so that they can work safely and efficiently.

A quick search online can provide insight on which top remodelers are in your area. As a homeowner, you also need to ask the right questions and communicate your specific requirements to the contractor, ensuring a smoother, more comfortable experience for everyone involved.

See how you can work with your contractor to ensure livable remodeling by following these tips. – (BPT)

 

Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask Their Contractor

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

10 Smart Ideas From Home Inspectors Orlando To Heat Your Home For Less

Home Inspectors Orlando couple drinking wine in their new homeAs cooler temperatures begin to sweep the nation, homeowners are turning on their heat for the first time in months. With every degree increase on the thermostat, utility bills follow suit.

A warm, comfortable home shouldn’t cost you a small fortune. Luckily, there are some simple strategies for combating the chill while lowering heating costs at the same time.

Change the filters

The summer and fall months are a prime time for airborne allergens and microbes, which can clog furnace filters and inhibit airflow. This makes your furnace work harder and in turn, costs you more. Change your filters monthly to help open airflow and save money.

Embrace the sun

Want to help heat your home for free during the winter? Pay attention to the sun. Try opening curtains on south-facing windows and the radiant heat from the sun will help naturally heat your home. Just remember to close them at night to keep out the evening chill.

Use a programmable thermostat

You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Use a programmable thermostat to change the temperature for time periods you are sleeping or away from home. Some air conditioning systems can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app like “Smart AC,” which works seamlessly with LG duct-free systems, allowing the homeowners to wirelessly connect, control and monitor the temperature through an easy-to-use smartphone app.

Consider installing a duct-free mini-split system to provide zoned heating

Instead of moving air through ductwork as central heating and air conditioning systems do, duct-free systems deliver warm conditioned air directly into a room. Duct-free systems like those from LG provide high-performance zone heating, allowing homeowners to keep their bedrooms toasty warm at night when it’s frigid outside, while turning the heat down (or off!) in the rest of the home to help save energy.

Clear heat registers

One common mistake homeowners make is covering heat registers with furniture, toys or other items that block the heat flow. To improve heating efficiency, inspect all heat registers in your home and remove anything that’s blocking them.

Seal leaks and lock windows

Phantom heat loss is a huge energy drain. Test for leaks by using a flashlight to see if light filters through cracks or try pulling a dollar bill through. Then, seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs, chimneys and recessed lights with spray foam. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal windows and doorway drafts. Don’t forget to close and lock windows and doors. Locking pulls the components tight against the weather-stripping to block cold air from entering the home.

Consider installing an Energy Star certified heating system

Energy Star certified energy-efficient products provide superior performance while saving energy to help lessen the impact on the world around us. The EPA Energy Star program identifies heating and cooling products that are energy efficient and can save you money.

Use your fireplace wisely

The warmth and ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace are hard to beat on a chilly day. But to ensure you don’t lose valuable heat when the fireplace is not in use, always remember to close the damper when the fire is completely out.

Fill attic insulation

When was the last time you checked your attic’s insulation? Heat rises – so if you don’t have proper insulation in your attic, you’re losing money. Start by checking to make sure insulation is evenly spread throughout your attic. Then, visit energy.gov/energysaver/insulation to learn recommended insulation amounts for your region.

Lower your water heater temperature

Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Consider setting your water heater to a lower setting of 120 Fahrenheit and you’ll still enjoy hot showers without a utility bill that will scald you. – (BPT)

 

Projects to Keep Your House Warm All Winter

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

4 DIY Projects For Your First Home With Orlando Home Inspectors

Orlando Home Inspectors a deck with the right furnitures and lot of trees in the surroundings“Where should I start?” It’s a question many homeowners ask themselves.

DIY is a great place to start for new homeowners. DIY projects are very versatile – they can easily be adapted to your skill level, budget and desired project. With a little extra time and creativity, you can transform your home.

Other benefits to choosing a DIY project are that they are typically more cost-effective than the alternative and they offer an added sense of ownership and pride in your home.

Since DIY project ideas are endless, it’s important to choose ones that will improve your home’s value at a reasonable cost. A DIY project should make your life easier and more enjoyable. These are some top recommended DIY projects for first-time homeowners. They won’t break the bank but they will deliver a bang for your buck.

1. Add crown molding or update casing and trim. The addition of crown molding to the top of interior walls is a subtle change with big impact. Casing, which is the trim around doors and windows, can also make a huge difference. The replacement of dated crown molding, casing or trim can make a room look newly updated. Go one step further with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you’ll basically have an entirely new room. For more information on how to install crown molding, check out these simple steps.

2. Replace doors. Doors are often forgettable, but don’t have to be. Replace hollow core bedroom, bathroom and closet doors with wood alternatives for an instant dash of richness. And don’t limit yourself to traditionally-styled options. From specialty woods to glass panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

3. Clean and refinish your wood deck. As long as your wood is in good shape, all you need is deck cleaner and wood stain to turn something dated into the focal point of your backyard. You can buy deck cleaner at your local hardware store. Wood deck stains are available there or at a paint store. You’ll be amazed to see weathered wood look like new again. If you haven’t cleaned or refinished a deck before, here are step-by-step instructions.

4. Update your closets. Add built-in shelving or simply streamline clothes hangers for an organizational boost you’ll thank yourself for every day. Or you can tackle a popular closet upgrade: lining a traditional closet with cedar. Natural cedar looks great, smells great and keeps moths and mildew away. It’s a classic and high-end upgrade that’s not terribly expensive or time-intensive. When your friends or family open your closet, they will be pleasantly surprised.

Use tongue-and-groove cedar to line some or all of an existing closet. You can leave baseboards in place if they’re thicker than the cedar. If not, remove them with a pry bar before the cedar installation. Use nails to attach the cedar to the wall studs, or adhere them with a construction adhesive. Prepare to feel like a bona fide fancy grown-up when it’s done!

These are just a fraction of the many DIY projects possibilities. The most important piece of advice is to have fun and don’t be afraid to try new things. The more DIY projects you complete, the more confident you’ll feel. To get started, pencil in a dedicated DIY day on your calendar and enjoy the process! – (BPT)

 

Budget Friendly Diy Projects For Your Home

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

4 Important Tips From Home Inspector Orlando For Planning A Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen upgrades can seem daunting. From full renovations to hardware updates, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your dream kitchen. To make the process as smooth as possible, Delta Faucet compiled key tips to keep in mind as you embark on the remodeling journey. These quick guidelines will help you focus on the end result and ensure the overall experience is enjoyable.

Storage solutions

Home Inspector Orlando woman washing her hands in the faucetDetermine storage needs based on how you work. Take inventory of kitchen tools and accessories to determine your path forward. For example, install a cabinet near the stove specifically tailored for pots and pans, or add a narrow cabinet by the oven to house cookie sheets and trays within easy reach. If you rarely use your food processor or slow cooker, choose a cabinet out of the way to guarantee storage space for the items you will need to access more readily. Plan a designated place for every kitchen utensil and appliance to avoid messy drawers and cluttered cabinets.

An island for your needs

A multifunctional island delivers additional storage and prep space to almost any kitchen. Customize your island area based on your cooking and entertaining style. Make the most out of the space to fit your needs. Avid cooks who prepare many big meals might consider including a prep sink for rinsing fruits and vegetables. Conversely, those who love to entertain can use the island to add counter space for hors d’oeuvres and accommodate bar stools.

Faucet functionality

Few people enjoy rinsing messy dishes, but the proper faucet can make this chore easy and carefree. Blending design and functionality, the Delta Mateo Kitchen Faucet with optional Touch2O Technology is an ideal choice for any kitchen redesign. Touch2O Technology with the TempSense system allows the faucet to be turned on and off with just a touch, simplifying kitchen tasks during food prep and clean-up. An LED light at the base of the faucet changes color from blue to red to alert users to the water’s temperature and avoid surprises. Beyond innovative technology, the faucet’s transitional design – inspired by the Italian countryside – works well with a variety of style preferences, creating a beautiful kitchen focal point.

Quick and easy design upgrades

When designing the kitchen of your dreams, take into consideration that tastes and styles are ever evolving. Peel-and-stick backsplashes are budget-friendly as well as quick and easy to install. If your favorite finish or pattern preference changes in a few years, simply replace with a new design for an appealing refresh.

Take the time to plan appropriately with these four tips in mind and you will create a space perfectly tailored to all your kitchen needs. For more information, visit deltafaucet.com. – (BPT)

 

Kitchen Planning Mistakes to Avoid

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

Orlando Home Inspectors Easy DIY Tips To Save On Your Winter Energy Bills

Orlando Home Inspectors man measuring a woodHere’s what Americans have to look forward to this winter: While the south will be drier and warmer, the northern U.S. can expect “wetter, cooler conditions,” predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

As a homeowner, what can you do to get ready for the season’s frigid blasts, in order to keep your family warm and comfortable while avoiding heart-stopping heating bills?

Whether you have an older or a newer home, chances are it could use additional insulation to make it more energy efficient. Approximately 90 percent of U.S. single-family homes are under-insulated, according to research conducted by Boston University for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. With proper insulation, “residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent,” says Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor of environmental health at Boston University.

Fortunately, adding insulation in a few key spots in the home isn’t difficult, and is within the skill level of many do-it-yourselfers. Two key areas to check for proper insulation are the attic hatch and basement walls.

If your home’s hatch to the attic is above a heated space (versus in an “unconditioned” space such as the garage), it could be a prime source for heat loss. “Hot air rises, and many attic hatches are not properly sealed and insulated, so homeowners can be losing big money through that opening,” says Tom Savoy, technical director for Insulfoam. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends inspecting the attic hatch to make sure it is “at least as heavily insulated as the attic, is weather stripped, and closes tightly.” For the insulation, homeowners can easily cut and attach rigid foam panels made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or graphite polystyrene (GPS), notes Savoy.

Rigid foam insulation is also easy to install on basement walls, in garages and attics. Some manufacturers even offer DIY Insulation Kits Kits to help simplify the job. Available at home improvement stores nationwide, such kits can be used for a quick weekend project to boost your home’s energy savings.

Because insulating the attic hatch and basement walls happens inside the home, you can complete these jobs even in the dead of winter in order to start seeing immediate savings on your energy bills. – (BPT)

 

How To Save Money On Your Winter Energy Bills

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

3 Reasons Why Winter Is A Smart Time To Buy A House With Orlando Home Inspectors

Don’t give up on buying a home as winter nears. In fact, December through February may be better for buyers than the busy season in spring and summer.

Enjoy less competition and lower prices.

Fewer propertOrlando Home Inspectors couple with their son standing in front of their houseies are typically available during the winter, as sellers and buyers aim to complete transactions before the school year begins. You can turn that to your advantage.

“In winter, there are fewer properties, but it’s less competitive, with fewer buyers per property,” says Greg Jaeger, president of USAA Residential Real Estate Services Inc., and former real estate agent.

The more favorable supply-demand balance can lower prices. In the winter, “negotiations are slower-paced and there is more negotiating room,” Jaeger says. Also, winter sellers may be more motivated, especially if they’re forced to sell by divorce or by corporate or military transfers.

In January and February, homes cost 8.45 percent less on average than in June through August, according to NerdWallet research conducted using Realtor.com data from 2014 and 2015. That’s in line with what Jaeger sees, particularly in competitive real estate markets where supply is limited.

Lower prices help at closing – and over the life of your mortgage.

A lower price eases your home purchase in many ways, Jaeger says. It lowers your down payment, any closing costs that are calculated as a percentage of the home’s sale price and your mortgage payments. There’s also less of a seller’s agent commission bundled into the sales price. These savings help when you buy, and they add up over the life of your mortgage.

The right agent can help.

When supply is limited, the right agent can help you get a jump on other buyers. Agents who are well connected learn about properties before they are listed.

The right agent understands the market where you are buying. That includes doing competitive market analysis so you understand what the house is worth.

Look for an agent who suits your style. For example, if you’re a statistics geek, you need an agent who’ll provide them. “Just having access to statistics doesn’t mean they have analytical skills and will use them,” Jaeger says. He recommends USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network as a source for seasoned agents who deliver great service to USAA members.

Many resources are available to help consumers find the right agent, including USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network, a free program that gives members access to USAA’s network of real estate agents and rewards when they buy or sell. – (BPT)

 

Winter Home Preparation

A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Buyer’s Inspection, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando and all areas in between since 2001.

Autumn And Early Winter: The Best Times To Be A Homebuyer According To Orlando Home Inspectors

The loOrlando Home Inspectors a family throwing leaves and enjoying the autumn seasonng-held belief that summer is the only time to buy a home is fading fast. Savvy home-buyers are learning that when temperatures drop, numerous benefits emerge that simply aren’t available other times of the year.

“With warm weather and many homes on the market, summer is generally the busiest real estate season. However, autumn into early winter can be opportune times for people who are serious about buying a home, too” says Geoff Lewis, RE/MAX, LLC President. “This time of year has big advantages – like motivated sellers and less competition – that simply can’t be ignored.”

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, there’s no need to hang up your house-hunting hat until spring or summer. Lewis offers eight reasons why now might just be the best time to purchase a home.

Year-end tax breaks

As long as you close on the property on or before Dec. 31, any property tax and mortgage interest paid are tax-deductible for that year. This can dramatically impact the amount of money you owe Uncle Sam, or increase your refund.

Less competition

The National Association of Realtors(R) recently noted that, in an average year, nearly half of all home sales occur from May to August. Although most people wait until the hustle and bustle of the spring selling season, you’ll likely encounter less competition during fall and winter. That means less stress and a reduced chance you’ll be involved in a bidding war.

Eager sellers

Sellers become more motivated the longer their home is on the market, especially now that the summer rush is over. If a home has been listed for a while, it may allow buyers more room for negotiation and potentially a better deal.

Quicker transactions

Motivated sellers paired with less-busy title companies may mean a faster closing in fall and winter. Do you want a new home in time for the holidays or new year? It’s entirely possible when you house hunt now.

Cheaper moving prices

You’re probably planning to hire a moving company in some capacity, whether you’re moving across town or across the country. In the fall and winter moving companies tend to be less busy, which means you might have the options of more flexible schedules and lower prices.

Easier to outfit your home

Need a new couch, cutlery or curtains for your home? Year-end sales are perfect for scoring a deal on these otherwise expensive items. Plus, if you move in around the holidays, there are plenty of deals on house-warming gifts.

“In addition to all these benefits for buying post-selling season, interest rates for home loans are still at record lows,” says Lewis.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a home, find more helpful information at http://www.remax.com/. – (BPT)

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