Our Blog

How to Avoid Being Scammed

Are you planning your homes maintenance projects for the year? How can you be sure you will not get ripped off by a dishonest tradesman? We have prepared a few things to watch out for to make sure you do not fall victim to a home repair scam.

Firstly, you may get different estimates for work done depending on what kind of neighborhood you live in. If you live in a wealthier area, you may get quoted more than someone who doesn’t. Try and get a quote for work without giving your address. That way it won’t be based on the area.

It’s a sad fact, but a lot of the time, the elderly are mostly targeted by con men. Be very aware of this when you are looking for a contractor. Be careful of tradesmen who come to your door or call you on the phone trying to get you to have work done. A con man will shy away from giving an address, so check all these facts before you decide to use them.

Make sure that the person you hire is licensed for the work they will be doing. Try to have them agree to a flat rate for the work. If not, they may add a lot more to the price they quoted. Get this fixed price written down and signed on a contract beforehand. Also, it is unwise to pay large deposits for the work, and do not pay for the whole job before it is done.

If you have any questions or concerns about the type of tradesmen to hire, please contact us. We will be happy to assist you.

Windows And Stairs – Threats To Your Kids

The safety of a young child is number 1 on parents minds. However, some areas in your house may not be as safe as you’d like them to be if you have a child between the ages of two and six. What are some dangers in the house, and what can you do to safeguard your children from them?

Nearly 8,000 children are sent to the ER every day, averaging around 2.8 million every year from non-fatal injuries. So the first step in protecting your child from windows would be to move any furniture from the windows area to make it less accessible for the child. Secondly, by installing windows stops will allow the windows to only be opened to a certain point, maybe 4 inches, thus removing the possibility that a child could put their head out the window or even a limb.

Stairs are another huge danger to young children. Having a safety gate either at the top of the staircase or at the bottom will prevent your child from gaining access to the stairway, which would potentially lead to a fall. Also, your railing along your staircase poses yet another problem. The child may want to climb on it, put their head through the risers, etc. Having the height of your ballisters be between 34″-36″ inches will not allow the child access to the top of the railing, and having 4″ space between each riser will keep the child from putting a limb though.

Keeping all these tips in mind will help you to further protect your child from potential dangers in the home.

Elderly Safety

Slips and falls are one of the most common reasons why elderly ones are injured, either in a home or in a business. How can you make sure your business or home is accessible and safe for the elderly?

First of all, keep all power chords and lines free from the flow of traffic, and not laying freely across the floor. Reducing the number of chords on the floor will decrease the chance of a slip or fall for an elderly person. In addition, in the case of an emergency, have emergency contact information accessible near a telephone or doorway. In the case of a slip or fall, having such emergency lifelines like the ‘Life Alert’ necklace will allow emergency response teams to react quickly.

Also, bathrooms are one of the main areas where elderly ones are most likely to fall. Keeping your floors cleaned, your area free of clutter, and stalls handicap accessible will keep elderly ones from injury.

These are just a few things you will need to keep in mind to prevent injury to elderly ones and keep yourself from blame in the case of a court case.

Wall Coloring Versus Wallpaper – The Battle Of The Ages

Wall Coloring and Wall Paper have been used over the years to beautify homes around the world. But the question arises: what would work best for you.. wallpaper or wall coloring? Well here are a couple pros and cons for each item.

So first off, if you are looking for something modern, simple, efficient, and pleasing to the eye, then wall coloring is for you. The expense of wall coloring in a house renovation is far less than buying the materials for wallpaper installation, which would include the wallpaper, the glue, and rollers needed for the install. If the paint is scratched, with a little patchwork and a little paint it will be good as new.

On the other hand, we have wallpaper. Wallpaper probably has thousands of designs and gives you the choice of decorating your walls to your hearts fullest content. However, because it is paper, it has the con of having mold grow on it quickly. If in a moist area, the paper could begin to lose the adhesive, then begin to have mold grow. If this happens, then you will have to cut out entire sections and replace those specific sections.

Keeping these in mind will help you to make a decision that is best for you and your house so that you can continue living on and enjoying your home.

Flooded Homes

USDA Loans

Are you thinking of getting a USDA Loan? There are some great opportunities for first-time home buyers out there with this type of loan. The home inspection is basically the same, but there are some requirements. For instance, be sure to tell us if you are getting a full USDA loan,as they have the home inspector fill out the USDA Home Inspection Summary FOrm. It isn’t anything special, just a one page document that summarizes the report.

Other than that, there are a few other things to consider, such as Applicant Eligibility – Currently, the USDA has set out the following eligibility factors;

To be considered ‘low income’, applicants must earn below 115% of the median income for the city/state. If you happen to earn above this amount, there may be small adjustments that can be made to help you qualify.

Although the idea is to get people in housing in rural areas, there are some zip codes that happen to fall in the suburbs of major cities.

In order to qualify, a family must not have adequate housing but still have the funds to pay for a mortgage.

Depending on the number of dependants, this will decide the loan amount and credit histories need to be acceptable. With any previous bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, and late payments, they will show on a credit check.

Appliances – How to Save Energy in the Home

We love our appliances, don’t we? Whether it’s our fridge, microwave, stove, toaster, coffee maker, etc, all these appliances and electronics take a lot of power, sometimes too much, which will, in turn, have a profound effect on your electricity bill. With just a few simple tricks, you can take steps to reduce your electricity bill and continue to have an energy efficient house.

Step 1: Keep your refrigerator or freezer away from the stove, dishwasher, vents, or in the direct sunlight. This will cause the fridge or freezer to use more electricity to keep everything inside cold enough.

Step 2: Something as simple as chargers for laptops and phones that are still plugged in, even when they aren’t connected to a device, draw power. So in this case, unplug chargers when not using them.

Step 3: Using ‘Energy Star’ rated appliances and devices. These appliances and devices have been specifically created to be energy efficient and use less power.

Following these steps will help contribute to a lower electrical bill and a better energy efficient house.

Saving On Electric Bills

Saving money is always a good thing. One of our most regular bills is our electric bill. It can be pretty large sometimes, especially this time of year with AC units running all the time. So how can you save on your electric bills?

Well, if you have kids, turning off the lights can be a big one. No matter how hard we try though – kids just forget. Consider installing motion lights for bathrooms and hallways, as this can reduce how much power is used in these areas.

Also, since we are heavy in the cooling season, keeping the AC off when people are not at home is very helpful as well. Please be considerate of pets though – animals may need the AC.

And lastly, insulate better. Insulating attics and other parts of your home are relatively easy and can save on cooling costs.

Buying a Second Home

Buying a second home is the goal of many people. It gives you something away from your actual home, without having to stay at someone else’s house or a hotel. Are you ready to buy a second home? Here are some things to consider.

Be sure to consider the distance. Everyone thinks that the beautiful cabin in the middle of nowhere 5 hours away is perfect. But those 5 hours turn into long drives. It also makes quick getaways hard too. If you only have Saturday and Sunday, but you spend 5 hours each day driving, it isn’t very relaxing.

A good rule of thumb is to find something about 1-2 hours away. Far enough to feel away from things, but not so far that if you forget your glasses you can’t drive back and get them if you had to.

Also, consider maintenance. Mowing the lawn, water heaters breaking, squirrel in the attic causing damage, and other things can happen without notice. So have a good handyman in the area ready to help.

11th Month Inspections

Buying a Foreclosure

Are you buying a home that is in foreclosure? A foreclosure has the potential to be a great deal for many buyers – especially if it is a fixer-upper. But it can also be a risky buy for others.

If you are considering buying a foreclosure, be sure to check the property thoroughly. Try to find the history of the property. Talk to neighbors and maybe even some agents who know the area well.

Also, be sure to get a home inspection. A home inspection is the best way to make sure you are getting what you are expecting when buying a foreclosure.

Seller Inspections – Pre-Listing Home Inspections

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is now becoming one of the most standard floorings in consumers homes these days. Why is this so, and is it for you?

Well for starters, any type of engineered wood flooring is any type of wood flooring that is not solid wood. For instance, plywood is considered to be the first type of engineered flooring, but since the creation of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) engineered flooring, it is cheaper to produce, maintain, and install in large quantities than normal plywood would be. Another advantage of this type of flooring is that building codes do recognize the use of this flooring.

Also, OSB can be created into not only flooring materials, but roofing, siding, and sheathing as well. Due to the many available options and uses from the OSB, contractors will most likely use OSB for flooring or for roofing, however. Interestingly enough, this type of wood can be mass produced, not only using less natural resources to do so but also have a consistent scratch resistant quality from panel to panel.

To conclude, engineered hardwood flooring would be an excellent choice for your house due to its scratch resistant qualities and inexpensive cost to both install and purchase.

Experienced Home Inspector

I see a lot of new home inspectors come and go here in Bossier City. Some may say they get out of it because of the heat, or because of the business aspect, or for other reasons. When it comes down to it though, many new home inspectors do not last in Bossier City because of experience.

It takes a lot of experience to perform home inspections in Bossier City. We have hurricanes, tropical storms, tight crawl spaces, and many other items that need to be taken into consideration.

Many new home inspectors think that home inspections will be “easy”, or that they won’t have to get dirty. But that is just simply not true. Home inspections require a LOT of work, and a willingness to get dirty. That, combined with experience, make it difficult to find the right Bossier City home inspector.

Contact us, and see why so many continue to choose Pelican State Inspections for an experienced, and hard working home inspector!

How To Check an Asphalt Roof

What should you look for on an asphalt roof? Here are a few pointers if you are buying a home with an asphalt roof.

First, look for signs of wear and noticeable damage. To do this, bring binoculars with you to be able to see the roof better.

Are there trees over the roof? This can lessen the life of the roof and cause damage.

Do the shingles cup or curl? This can be a sign of age and deterioration.

Most of all, look up at the ceilings when inside the home. Are there any water stains – either painted over or otherwise?

Still not sure? Contact us and we will be happy to help!

Your home has flooded….. What to do now

Regardless of whether your home has flooded from a disastrous natural event or from another source, there are steps you should take to guarantee you get the assistance you require.

We trust that these suggestions have been helpful to you.

Should You Be Worried About the Wiring?

That is an easy question to answer – Yes, yes you should. Especially if the wiring in your potential home looks anything like the wiring in this picture.

The wiring in your home is not always the most expensive issue to fix, but it is one of the biggest safety issues. Loose wiring, missing junction boxes, and improperly wired outlets are among the most common things we find on home inspections.

But while those items mentioned above aren’t overly serious (typically), there are other factors to consider.

For example, if someone leaves the wiring in your house looking like that, what else were they willing to neglect? What does the inside of the electric panel look like? Are there any fire hazards?

Having us perform your home inspection can alleviate many of these fears for you. Contact us today!

 

Buying a Home That Was Flooded

How To Start a Manual Generator

The Right Bossier City Home Inspector