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
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.
- One of the main things to do is take photos of your property, both outside and in. Its vital to have photographic evidence of the damage.
- You will need to start tidying up the chaos and debris left by the flood, this will cost you some money, so make a point to keep any receipts for the tidy up things bought.
- Contact an InterNACHI certified inspector to help you with noting down the damage to your property, they can likewise propose suggestions on what should be done and when.
- It is vital to note though, that if your house is flooded because of a natural disaster event (e.g. a hurricane), different action should likewise be taken. In the event that the president has pronounced your location a Major Disaster zone, at that point contact FEMA who can assist you with the help you need.
- It is a very good idea to contact your insurance agency at the earliest opportunity, as they may have a specific period of time within which to make a claim.
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
Downspouts are an important part of your gutter system, and often make the difference between a dry crawlspace and a wet one.
As a general rule, your down spouts should discharge at least three feet away from your home, but may need to be farther depending on your grading.
Remember, all/a lot of the water from your roof gets put into one spot – so if it is not far enough away you can have serious issues.
Spring Cleaning Tips in Bossier City – From Your Home Inspector
Sump Pump Discharge Points
In terms of an inspection, the discharge location is not checked. Although InterNACHI inspectors often note if an improper discharge is spotted, searching for the discharge location isn’t recommended. However, there are some general rules of which the owner should be aware;
- When water drains back into the house, it places strain on the sump pump and can actually cause damage to the structure of the system.
- When choosing a location, it should be 20 feet or more away from the home.
- Unless their approval is granted, neighbor’s land should be avoided.
- In most areas in the US, water cannot enter the public sewer systems.
- Finally, it should never come in contact with the septic system.
- During adverse weather conditions, the septic drainfield will suddenly struggle to handle the demand of two water sources and this leads to damage.
Summary – By removing water from homes, sump pumps can prevent damage, moisture, mold, and various other problems. Although there are different types, they all have the same premise which is to measure water levels and bring the pump into action when required. As long as they are maintained regularly, they should last a long time!
Disadvantages of Central Vacuum Systems
As with most products and ideas, there are also some downsides;
Firstly, central vacuum systems can be rather expensive. In fact, a unit can cost around $1,500 which is a significant increase when compared to the portable units.
After this, they have also been known for weak suctio
n and this occurs whenever there is an obstruction in the system, a full canister needing to be emptied, or even a dirty filter. With this in mind, they can be ineffective if they aren’t maintained correctly. If the unit stops working altogether, there could be a problem with the wiring, motor, or breaker.
Finally, there is also a danger of items being sucked up by mistake. When a system is powerful, there is a risk that unwanted items will be sucked up and this can damage the unit. If you have children in the house, they have to be very clear that toys, jars of jelly, and yogurt pots are not supposed to fit into the system. With portable vacuums, they are often too weak to suck up such items.
Summary – As you can see, a central vacuum system is certainly worthwhile in the right household. Although they can be expensive, they repay the risk when considered an ‘investment’ and they provide a very good service as long as you maintain the unit regularly!
Scary HOA Situations
Around 57 million of homeowners in America are members of homeowners association (HOAs). They are selected bodies that regulate the architectural preferences and lifestyle of their members. Generally unchecked by federal and state laws, these associations are fundamentally autonomous miniature ‘government’ bodies that could wield sufficient influence or power to force their residents into a foreclosure. Therefore, inspectors may want to equip themselves with the needed knowledge about how their clients struggle under these associations.
Take the story of a Chicago resident Wally Kuchlewski, 67 who is a machinist. One day he went back to his condominium only to find all he possessed on the streets. His home had been foreclosed on by his HOA in reaction to his unpaid dues to the tune of $400 which had suddenly increased. The due was for the association’s attorney fees. The distressed Wally grabbed a gun and shot dead the secretary of the condominium and also wounded a bystander. Though his reactions were very extreme, this clearly shows the increasing resistance against the overwhelming influence of Home Owners Associations.
Well Water Contaminants
Buying a home with a well comes with responsibility. We become responsible for the purity of the water we drink and making sure to check for pollutants.
So what are some common pollutant sources in well water to be aware of? Below is a list of sources to be aware of:
Common Contamination Sources –
fertiliser/pesticide use and storage
chemicals from swimming pools
petroleum/chemical production and storage
municipal sewer lines
de-icing on the roads
storm water drains
road maintenance depots
open burning sites