You may be excited about a house based on the kitchen, yard, or patio. However, no matter how great the property seems, take your time, talk to your real estate agent, and order a home inspection. Let’s look at a few of the reasons a homebuyer should request an inspection.
Give Yourself the Ability to Back Out of a Bad Deal
When you sign a real estate contract to purchase a home, make sure your agent includes a contingency for the home inspection. What happens if the inspection reveals a major problem? Sometimes repair needs or safety concerns are more than a buyer wants to deal with.
What will the repairs cost? Is the seller willing to fix problems or reduce the asking price? Even if the seller says they’ll fix the defects, negotiations might stall if they disagree with cost estimates or your choice of contractor. You can walk away from the sale if you and your realtor made the offer contingent on the inspection results.
A Home Inspection is Worth the Investment
Homebuyers need an inspection and the cost is minor in comparison to the amount you’re paying for the house.
Your inspector will provide a detailed report to help you understand the condition of your potential new home. The report will include photos illustrating any problems and defects with the property. As the buyer, you can move through the sale process with helpful, detailed information about the house.
Order a Home Inspection to Discover Safety Problems
There are various types of problems that might cause safety concerns. These should be addressed because they pose a risk to your family. Some safety issues that an inspector may find include a blocked chimney, mold growth, lead paint, radon gas, and faulty electrical wiring.
Order a Home Inspection to Uncover Structural Issues
Order a home inspection to learn about structural problems. You may not think doors or windows that don’t close properly or cracks in the walls are significant, but these are signs that there may be a bigger issue with the house. A home inspector is well trained to locate foundation problems and other structural concerns.
Home Buyers Need a Home Inspection: Helpful When Negotiating
Your inspection report is a useful tool when negotiating for a lower asking price. If the inspection reveals issues that the seller is unwilling to repair, talk to your real estate agent for advice. You may be able to purchase the home at a lower price and fix any problems yourself.
Budget Your Maintenance Costs
A home inspection is great for uncovering long-term maintenance issues. For example, it can tell you how old the major appliances are. Older appliances aren’t a reason to walk away from the purchase, but this knowledge allows you to budget for new appliances.
If you purchase the property, your inspection report will help you make a plan for repairs over the long term.
Our elderly family members are more prone to falls and accidents in the home, which pose serious threats to their health and mobility. Problems with muscle strength, balance, and even side-effects of the medications they take can make them more vulnerable to injury from accidents. Here are 10 ways to make a home safe for seniors.
1. Remove or Secure Throw Rugs to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
Unsecured throw rugs are among the top causes of falls in older people. In most areas, it’s best to eliminate these rugs altogether. But if their use is necessary, such as in the bathroom, secure the rugs with double-sided tape to help reduce the risk of falls.
2. Add Bathroom Safety Features
Grab bars in the bathtub and shower provide stability and help prevent falls. Bath mats with rubber backing also help reduce the chance of slipping. A raised toilet seat is useful for seniors who have difficulty getting to their feet. Install a grab bar beside the toilet to offer extra assistance.
3. Install Extra Lighting in Stairways and Hallways
Impaired vision is a common problem as we age. Illuminate stairs, hallways, and other frequently traveled areas with additional fixtures or lighting that turns on when it senses movement.
4. Place Electrical Cords Out of the Way
Cords from lamps, TVs, and electronic equipment should be carefully tucked away to remove them as a tripping hazard. Don’t run cords under rugs, as this can cause overheating and lead to a fire.
5. Use Orange Tape for Floor Hazards to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors
Changes in flooring in the home, such as from hardwood to carpeting, can cause a fall. Steps from one room to another are also hazardous for elderly family members. Install bright orange tape in these transition areas to make them more visible and to help keep the home safe for seniors.
6. Keep Pets and Toys Out of Pathways
If older family members have significant mobility problems, keep pets confined to areas where they will not be underfoot. Similarly, children’s toys can be a hazard for seniors. Encourage children to keep toys in designated play areas in the home.
7. Prevent Medication Mix-ups
Keep medications in their original containers with attached labels detailing dosage and frequency. If needed, ask your pharmacist to provide large-print labels to make reading them easier. Medication alarm apps are helpful reminders for seniors to take their prescribed meds on time.
8. Cooking Hazards
Seniors should use care when cooking. Don’t allow them to wear loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire. Store food prep items in easy-to-reach areas so older family members don’t have to struggle to reach higher cabinets.
For some elderly people, cooking should be confined to the microwave. Make sure to test your fire alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice every year.
9. Rearrange Furniture to Provide Clear Walking Paths
Move items that block walking paths in each room. Replace glass coffee tables or shelves with other furniture that is less dangerous. Glass is more difficult to see and may shatter if a fall occurs. Remove items that may not be clearly visible and present a tripping hazard.
10. Use a Medical Alert System to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors
Medical alert systems have technology that allows the senior to call for help with the touch of a button, should they find themselves alone and in need of help.
Small changes make a big difference in your senior family member’s safety. Carefully inspect each part of your home, looking for potential hazards for someone who has impaired sight or mobility. Correcting these issues will keep the home safe and help prevent accidents.
Moving is hard work any time of year but if you’re moving in the winter, you may also have to deal with snow and ice. Here are some helpful tips when you have to relocate in cold weather. While you have a lot of planning and organizing to do, you’ll also need to prepare for cold weather.
When Moving in the Winter, Plan for Snow Removal
Shovel: Unless snow is still in the forecast, shovel and remove any snow the day before your planned move, preferably early in the day. Doing it early will give the sun a chance to melt away any residual snow on the walkway, giving you a clean surface.
Remove ice: After you shovel the snow, spend a few minutes chipping away any ice on the walkway and driveways of the new house and the old one. Removing ice will help prevent falls while you’re loading and unloading the truck.
Spread sand: Once you have the walkway and driveway cleared of ice and snow, liberally sprinkle a mixture of sand or ice-melt on the pathways. This will create a non-slip surface and the ice-melt will take care of any snow or ice you missed.
Drop cloths: Another tip for moving in winter is to cover your floors. Invest in as many fabric drop cloths as necessary to cover all of the hardwood and tiled floors in both houses. The sheer number of trips you and your helpers will make in and out can ruin the surface of hardwood and possibly scratch tile.
Plastic tarps: While you’re getting the drop cloths, get plastic tarps to cover the carpeted rooms. Tracked-in snow and mud can ruin carpeting. Purchase enough extra tarps to cover the areas of carpet you will be walking on. For extra protection, put fabric drop cloths on top of the plastic ones. The cloth will keep you from slipping on the wet plastic.
Entryway: Use a non-slip, rubber-backed rug in front of all entryways. These are available at restaurant supply stores and home improvement stores.
Adjust the Thermostat
When you’re moving, the doors of the home are open just as often as they are closed. Don’t stress the heating system. Turn your thermostat down to the lowest setting without turning your furnace off completely. Otherwise you will be wasting a lot of energy.
Designate a Doorman
An often overlooked tip is to have a designated helper who holds the door for the movers and makes sure it gets closed when no one is entering. This is a perfect job for an attentive child who wants to help out. This job provides movers with hands-free entry into the house and will keep your home warmer.
Dress for the Weather if You’re Moving in the Winter
Wear gloves: The best gloves for moving in the winter are thinly lined leather, suede, or work gloves with palm and finger-tip grips. These will keep your hands warm and give you extra gripping power. Don’t wear thick gloves. They will prevent you from firmly gripping the items you are moving.
Dress in layers: Don’t wear a heavy, bulky winter coat; it can impede your movement. Wear a long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, and a light jacket. Put on a hat if it is very cold and windy. By dressing in layers, you can remove them if you get overheated.
Footwear: Wear non-slip shoes or lightweight snow boots. Even though you shoveled the sidewalk, winter weather poses a risk for slipping or falling on ice or snow. Waterproof, non-slip boots will keep you safer during the process.
Address electrical problems in the home at the first indication of trouble. Ignoring these signs puts your family and home at risk for a house fire. The longer you delay the repair, the more damage can be done. Pay attention to signs of electrical problems and make a call for repairs as soon as you notice any of the below signs.
Flickering Lights are Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home
Flickering lights are often caused by loose electrical connections. This can occur in a single light fixture or throughout the home. Both concerns need immediate professional attention, although the latter is a more serious sign of an electrical problem.
Electrical appliances generate heat when in use, but the outlet itself shouldn’t become hot. If you notice the outlet is warm to the touch, disconnect any cords and call a professional to troubleshoot the problem. Light switch covers follow the same rule, except in the case of dimmer switches which commonly generate some heat.
Aluminum wiring may comprise part or all of your electrical system. It was commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s when high copper prices caused builders to use aluminum instead. The aluminum oxidizes rapidly, which creates a fire risk in the home. Aluminum is no longer used in residential electrical applications. If you have aluminum wiring in your home, replace the wiring to improve fire safety.
A burning smell is always a sign of trouble. The smell indicates that plastic sheeting around the wiring is melting. This problem poses a fire risk.
Loose Outlets Can Indicate Electrical Problems in Your Home
Many people notice loose outlets but fail to realize their potential danger. If you plug in an appliance and the outlet moves or the plug falls out, it’s time to make a quick fix. Left in this condition, the outlet will eventually loosen wiring within the walls which requires a more involved repair and increases the risk of fire.
Vacation is an escape from everyday life to get some rest and relaxation. Make sure your vacation is the stress-free adventure that you’ve planned by preparing your home before you leave. The following steps to improve home security will help you to enjoy yourself on vacation knowing that your home is protected.
Home Security While on Vacation: What You Should Know
You’re excited about going on vacation and want everyone to know. However, sharing the news on social media is not the best idea. Never divulge information about your trip such as the destination or the dates of your departure and return. Wait until you’re back home to share pictures and details on social media.
Don’t let your home look empty while you’re away. Stop newspaper and mail delivery until you return. You can also ask a friend to stop by and collect your mail so it won’t pile up. Leave a light or two on in the house. Put lamps and your television on timers to create the illusion that someone is home. Install motion-detecting lights to illuminate the yard or back deck.
So that your home looks occupied, keep your regular appointments with the landscaper and other maintenance services. For an extended vacation, hire a company to handle the chores while you’re away.
An Alarm System Increases Home Security While on Vacation
More than 2.5 million burglaries occur in the U.S. each year. Approximately 66% of these are home burglaries. July and August are the most common times for burglaries to occur since they’re popular for family vacations.
Home alarm systems are affordable and protect you when you’re home or out-of-town. Not only does a monitored alarm system reduce the risk that a burglar will break into your home, but it notifies you and the police department that something is wrong. With an alarm system in place, you enjoy peace of mind and superior protection.
Protect Your Home While You are Away
Give the house a quick inspection before you leave to make certain all of your doors and windows are locked. Taking steps to improve home security requires only a small amount of effort so that you’re prepared for your time away.