In most Phoenix homes over ten years old, the exterior paint is cracking, peeling, or fading, but the last thing you want to do is pay for an expensive painting company to do the work for two to three times what it would cost to do it yourself! Many people think it is as simple as getting a bucket of paint and a roller and you are done, but it is actually a lot more complicated than that. Luckily, One Avenue has a step-by-step guide for you to follow and some Turn Key Tips for you to use along the way. [Read more…]
One Avenue Inspection exists to provide you advanced home inspection services and professional home maintenance advice. The Do-It-Yourself Turn Key Tips we talk about are meant to encourage you to improve your home safely and efficiently to both increase the value of your home for resale and make you love your bit of Arizona real estate even more. We love hearing from our clients about projects that worked out (or fell through) for them!
This week, we want to bring your attention to your backyard. While the temperatures outside are still tolerable, we encourage you to step outside and create a lovely, social atmosphere that you and your family will want to sit around year-round!
Steps for an Easy Fire Pit:
1. Measure your space.
Decide on a location in your yard that can fit chairs and lounges around it. Measure about 2-3 feet diameter, if it is circular, or whatever length and width you want for a rectangular fire pit. Remember that you want to contain the fire and be able to converse over it!
2. Buy your materials.
Depending on the height and width of your pit, you will need to purchase a certain number/size of concrete blocks (or brick, stone, etc.) One Avenue recommends talking to an associate who is familiar with outdoor building in Home Depot or Lowes before purchasing your base! You will also need a steel ring, capstones (if you decide to get extra fancy!), drainage gravel, and cement mortar.
3. Dig out the base.
Dig out a hole as deep as you want the pit to sit in the ground. We have seen some beautiful “buried” fire pits! For extra safety, line the pit with a steel ring so that the brick or concrete blocks don’t get burned and worn down.
4. Set up the base and the first layer.
Line up the bottom blocks and make sure they fit the size you want, adjusting the size of each block accordingly. Make sure the circle (or rectangle) is tight and that the edges fit together. Fill the hole with 6-7 inches of drainage gravel. Put the first layer into the hole you dug, lining it with about a foot of steel. Constantly make sure the blocks are level so as to prevent a big difference in the end!
5. Set up the next few layers.
Using caulk or mortar to fix the second and third layer of blocks in place, proceed to hammer them in with a rubber mallet. Pour in more gravel to create a solid base for the block wall and the fire’s bottom. Remember that whatever adhesive you use dries quickly so work efficiently and swiftly!
6. Finish it up.
Build the fire pit walls as high as you desire. Once you have reached the last layer, attach your capstones with mortar to the top, as always, using a level. Read more about how to use concrete properly. Wait three days before lighting a fire.
One Avenue team members hope you love your Arizona home and backyard to the fullest! Remember to get home inspections every five or six years, even if you are not selling your home. This will give you peace of mind and maybe even prevent an expensive future disaster! Contact the professionals at our office for more informations and home help tips. 623.299.2142
Radon is a dangerous, invisible gas that emits alpha radiation, like plutonium or other alpha generating radiation sources. Basically, it is extremely damaging to living cells, especially when exposed directly to it in the home! It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States! While technically there are not ‘safe’ amounts of radon, the EPA recommends taking action if the radon levels are 4pCi/L or lower. Our experience with dangerous radon levels during Phoenix home inspections has been fairly high in Valley homes, but the only way to determine your home’s level of risk is to test for radon.
Choose your method:
Short Term Testing
This is a good method for quick and easy results, ranging from two to ninety days. There are several different radon-testing devices to chose from. There is a passive device and an active device. The passive test contains alpha track detectors, electret ion chambers, and charcoal canisters. In contrast, the active test must be plugged in and works continuously in its detection, usually having to be installed by a professional. We recommend conducting two of these short term tests at the same time for precision and a better representation of the seasonal radon exposure in your home.
Long Term Testing
This is a slightly more accurate account of your home’s radon levels, remaining in your home for more than ninety days. There are alpha track and electret ion chamber detectors. Be sure to contact a professional or contact One Avenue Inspection for recommendations about which test to use given your home’s size and situation.
The difference between the long term and short term tests is the level of year-round accuracy vs. the time it takes to produce results. We recommend several short term tests a year, and maybe a long term test, which can confirm the results of the short term tests. Remember to always conduct a radon test for more than 48 hours, although it is usually a longer period for best results.
It is easy to conduct the radon tests yourself, which can save you quite a bit of money and time dealing with professional radon testers. Be sure to follow all instructions on the kit’s box! Each test’s requirements are different, often including shutting all windows and outside doors for long periods of time. If your test results are between 2 and 4 pCi/L, fix it immediately by calling a radon contractor, or a Phoenix home inspection company, like One Avenue, for advice about who to hire and what steps to take to safeguard your home.
This checklist should help make the process a piece of cake!
Before Conducting a Radon Test:
During a Radon Test:
After a Radon Test:
Home Storage Installations that Pass Inspection:
A useful home is a valuable home. In today’s highly competitive real estate market, you want to keep your home at its highest potential, whether you’re interested in selling or not. Installing tasteful and simple storage units in the nooks and crannies of your home will give each room an anchor. In fact, the boost to your home resale value alone should be incentive enough. One Avenue Inspectors have recently noticed that most buyers will pay more for a livable, custom home than a lavish, unnecessarily large property.
Floor to ceiling shelves:
Always take advantage of vertical space! Get out the stepping stool and stop wasting the area between the ceiling and your furniture. Use full walls to create shelving systems that not only de-clutter your living room and bedrooms, but decorate and add uniqueness to the entire home. It is easy to install manufactured, grid-like units or to build and paint your own. Not a single home buyer will say ‘no’ to extra home storage space.
Utilize every inch:
Maximize corners in every room, particularly closets and bathrooms. Open shelves and cube-shaped stackables are extremely inexpensive to install in the under-used spaces of closets and over the toilets. Behind cabinet and bedroom doors, position organizing tools like hooks, baskets, filing racks, etc. You can get extremely creative with closets from installing cubbies that clear up space that a dresser would have taken up to putting a small desk and wall shelves in the corner to create a small, private office.
The interior walls of most houses are hollow, meaning that there is space behind them between the wall studs. Open up rooms instantly by creating alcoves or in-wall shelves. Ask your home inspector about safety measures when cutting into walls.
The purpose of installing home storage in the smaller areas of your home is to simplify the clutter and utilize every inch of the property. Try to avoid overly elaborate storage options and extremely large, moveable furniture units that only fit in a handful of spaces. Use as many natural materials as you can as they will last longer and look better to a buyer. Straight lines and usable areas for shelving and home storage are a must.
As an agent or a homeowner, a sturdy and safe home is the most valuable asset of all. If you are able to, we encourage you to do some of the work yourself in order to maximize the return profit from home storage installations. Allow One Avenue Inspection to help you with your remodeling projects as our experts are available to answer any question. 623.299.2142
Whether you’re planning to sell your home or not, the laundry room always seems to be that one little overlooked detail in your home. It’s ironic that it is so necessary, yet so forgotten. With a few small touches, you can completely change the look and utility of your laundry room. A nice-looking laundry room can be the tipping point of buyers’ interest because cleanness and attention-to-detail stands out in a market filled with homes that look identical. It may not be the kids’ new favorite ‘hangout’, but a home laundry room remodel will leave you with peace of mind and a valuable selling point in your home.
What to expect from the home inspection of the laundry room:
Plumbing will be crucial come inspection time. The inspector will look for problems with the pipes and electrical fixtures, specifically exposed wiring, leaks, hot water valves, and the GFCI outlet.
Washer and dryer must be working and working well. If you have old machines, the inspector will likely recommend an update due to the vents and energy-usage.
Laundry sinks will have the same home inspection guidelines as the kitchen and bath areas. If you do not have one, consider buying and installing a laundry room sink for added value.
Make sure the gas line is capped off if it is not in use- this is crucial for safety and often forgotten by homeowners.
What to do to turn the laundry room into the home’s best selling point:
Replace your washer and dryer for energy-efficient models. This is not only beneficial for the selling value of the home, but your personal usage. A new washer machine can save you thousands of dollars on your energy and water bills every month (20% less energy; 35% less water). Look for the Energy Star labeled washer-dryers because new machines will instantly double the value and appeal of your laundry room.
Repaint the walls and/or cabinets. This is the easiest and most inexpensive way to give any room a facelift. Pick light, calming colors for a magazine look that sells. Too often the laundry room is the most dim and uninviting room in the home, but it does not have to be. Make the look of your laundry room reflect the function and purpose it brings to the home.
Declutter by installing extra storage space, like shelves and cabinets from floor to ceiling. Laundry rooms tend to become dumping grounds for the family’s clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. Make a place for all the stuff! One Avenue Inspection also recommends adding a countertop or long table for folding as we have noticed that this detail particularly attracts buyers to the laundry room.
Show your laundry room a little TLC. After the work is done, let us approve it so that there are no future problems, like leaks or rot. Give One Avenue Inspection a call for any home tips or questions at 623.299.2142. Don’t forget that a periodic home inspection could save you thousands of dollars on future repairs in the long run!
With the holiday season upon us, we’re sure you are looking for ways to save money here and there. Fortunately, now that environmentally friendly products are becoming more common, they are also much cheaper, and some even pay for themselves. We here at One Avenue want you to enjoy the holiday season without feeling pressure on your wallets.
Here are a few simple home inspection tips for minimizing costs without sacrificing the warmth and joy of the season! [Read more…]
Getting your home and appliances ready for the fall and winter months takes a bit of preparation. When the air starts to cool, it’s time to get your air conditioning adjusted for the season. AC maintenance can be simple or a more involved, depending on which unit that you have. If you have any concerns about prepping your AC for fall maintenance, you can call on a professional for help. Here are some tips to help you out.
- If you have a portable unit, all you need to do is detach it, clean it, and store it. It is that simple. Don’t forget to change any filters if your unit needs it.
- For air conditioning maintenance of a centralized system, you will need to change out the filters and inspect the system to make sure it is still clean. Cleaning your central system and filters twice a year should help to keep the air in your home uncontaminated, and your family healthier throughout the season.
- If your unit is located outdoors or is an HVAC unit, you might need to do a little more preparation. You will want to start by switching the unit off, which will help to keep it from accidentally kicking on if the temperature rises. You will then want to take a hose and wash off all of the debris and dirt that has gathered on the unit over the spring and summer. Once you have finished washing it, let it completely dry.
- The next step in your outdoor air conditioning maintenance is to take care of the pipes. You will want to cover exposed pipes with foam to keep them from freezing. Pipes that freeze may potentially crack or break, especially if there is water inside of them. You can keep foam pipe covers in place with duct tape.
- Once the unit is clean and the pipes are covered with foam, you will want to cover the unit itself. You can purchase plastic or vinyl covers for your unit. You will want something that is waterproof and designed to cover an AC unit. You can keep the cover in place by wrapping bungee cords or ropes around it. Make sure whatever you use to wrap around the cover is also vinyl and waterproof. Wrapping cords around the cover will keep it from blowing away.
Follow the steps listed above to get your unit and home ready for the cooler months. If you have any apprehension about preparing your unit on your own, it does not hurt to call in a professional to handle it for you. Either way, getting your unit ready for fall is an important part of taking care of your home. Make sure it is on your fall to-do list!
The certified home inspectors at One Avenue Inspection want to arm you in the war on pest control. One Avenue Inspection wants to ensure that the buying process is a clean, critter-free experience. We don’t want the little things to be forgotten. Pests seek places to live that satisfy basic needs for air, moisture, food, and shelter. The best way to control pests is to try to prevent them from entering your home or garden in the first place. You can do this by removing the elements that they need to survive. Remodeling and renovation offer opportunities to take action against indoor and outdoor pest problems. Pest control is a battle; Here are some quick and easy tips for regaining control of your home.
- Remove water. Fix leaky plumbing and do not let water accumulate anywhere in or around your home. Remove or dry out water-damaged and wet materials. Even dampness or high humidity can attract pests.
- Remove or block off hiding places. Don’t let the enemy gain territory. Caulk and sand crevices to control pest access. Avoid storing newspapers,paper bags, and boxes for long periods of time. Also, check for pests in packages or boxes before carrying them into your home.
- Block pest entry ways. Install screens on all floor drains,windows, and doors to discourage crawling and flying pests from entering your home. Make sure any passageways through the floor are blocked. Place weather stripping on doors and windows. Keep doors shut when not in use.
- Remove and store food. Consider pest-proof food and waste containers. You may use this as a criterion when evaluating cabinetry or designing space.
For more help call One Avenue Inspection 623-298-0704 and request an inspection. We love empowering agents to find the best property for their clients, and giving each client the tools to make their home a safe place.