When buying or selling a home it is important to know what features will increase and decrease the value. As a buyer, you will be looking for a home that can handle your family’s lifestyle, so it is important to make sure that all of the features of your future home are in proper order, before you sign on the dotted line. As a seller, you need to “walk in their shoes” and think about your home from the perspective of a buyer. Do you have enough storage? Can your kitchen accommodate cooking for a larger family? Do you have energy efficient appliances or is the buyer going to have to replace all of the appliances when they move in? Many of these issues in your home can be changed with a simple fix, adding thousands of dollars to the value of your Phoenix property. One Avenue Inspection encourages you to improve your home little by little! [Read more…]
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…]
Oh, we have been there. The feeling of pure bliss as you discover the leaky pipe underneath the kitchen sink. With each twist of the wrench, you regain mastery over your abode, without having to hire outside help. One Avenue wants to prolong that feeling of accomplishment through a little plumbing education.
Here are some facts and tips about the pipes that are the lifeblood of your Arizona home. [Read more…]
The usual home-buyer thinks that the purpose of a home inspection is to find any major structural problems in the home before going through with the purchase. While avoiding draining all of your money in a bad purchase is a crucial reason for a home inspection, it is not the only purpose! There is more value from a home inspection that only savvy home buyers will tap into.
1. Choose the best home inspector
Many home buyers choose a home inspector based only on their realtor’s recommendations. But home professionals say that you should find a home inspector not only through your real estate guide, but also through attorneys, lenders, and appraisers. One Avenue Inspection has relationships with many of these kinds of professionals because our reputation exceeds just the real estate market. It is best not to shop by “price” but by “experience” as many of the best home inspection agencies will not be the cheapest, but their expertise and hard work could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
2. Prepare properly for the inspection
Before the inspection, you should make sure the home is free of clutter and major furniture items so that the home inspector can move through quickly and see all areas of a room without moving things around. You should do your own walk through before the inspector comes so that you notice problem areas or parts of your home you may have questions about. Make sure you visit the home for sale several times in the daylight and in the night time before making an offer. Make sure to check up on the seller’s disclosure statement about the condition of the house for accuracy and thoroughness. As always, the more preparation, the better!
3. Walk through with the inspector
This is a fairly self-explanatory step. However, many home buyers allow their home inspectors to do the inspection by themselves, relying solely on the inspection report after the fact. This is a mistake! Not only can an inspector explain to you what is wrong about your house, but they can also give you great maintenance tips and educate you about your property. At One Avenue Inspection, we schedule a meeting at a time when you are available to accompany one of our home inspection professionals throughout the home. We deliver our written reports the same day as the inspection so you don’t have to waste time!
4. Don’t be blinded by the home itself
One Avenue Inspection has worked with many buyers who are so in love with the home for sale that they become blinded to any problems, minor or major. As a buyer, you must remain alert and logical throughout the entire home buying process! We understand the appeal of cheap real estate or the look of your dream home. Watch out for foreclosed homes as they often have utilities problems and plumbing leaks. Additionally, many homes lack proper insulation and ventilation so you must pay attention to those details as well. With the right home inspection, you can keep a clear, informed mind going into the purchase agreements and be confident that the home is manageable, budget-friendly, and meant for you.
One Avenue Inspection recommends that regardless of the home you are buying (brand new, older, foreclosed, etc.) you maintain a high level of interest and involvement in each step of the home buying process! Always keep a defensive position in order to get the most value out of your purchase and not make a real estate mistake! Give us a call with any home inspection questions. 623.299.2142
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:
Not sure where to start a remodel? Begin with the kitchen!
Oh, we have heard it all…the prepaid contractor who skips town, the cracked countertops, the leaky plumbing installation. Remodeling can be a nightmare. Maybe you’re thinking: why fix what isn’t broken? If done carefully, with proper inspections at each step in the process, your kitchen remodel can go smoothly and efficiently. We know for a fact that an updated (and not to mention pretty) kitchen is one of the biggest selling points of any home. Not looking to sell? Doesn’t matter. Pamper yourself a little in 2014. We know you want to get rid of that rattling dishwasher.
You have two options: a small or a large remodel.
Stick to the Necessities
One Avenue understands that budgets are tight this year. Analyze the space to determine what is most important in the room and what needs to be addressed first. Ask yourself questions like, “How important in easy cleanup?” and “Is the size of the room functional enough for a semi-large group?” Here are what One Avenue clients usually invest in first, during small and large remodels.
1. Install new drawer hinges
This is the hidden secret of new and efficient kitchen: fast glide cabinets and drawers. Without tearing out the existing cabinets, you can easily install soft-close drawer hinges, adding nearing invisible value and ease to the room.
2. Recoat the surfaces
This step is fairly self-explanatory (not to mention you can definitely do it yourself and save money without a contractor/painter). Give your cabinets a face-lift and change the entire look of the room. Don’t cut corners here though! Make sure you paint several layers of primer after sanding before you paint or stain the wood. While you’re at it, might as well screw on some updated hardware to complete the room.
If you cannot afford to knock down walls or install another window, fresh lighting is the next best solution for opening up a room. Without hiring an electrician, you can easily install a central fixture and some track lighting around the walls. The DIY Network has some specific lighting solutions that fit with any budget.
Go Big or Go Home
If you have the time, means, and an air-tight plan, why not change the entire room? Including the above recommendations, here are a few places to begin your complete kitchen makeover.
1. Knock down walls
Ask yourself: how many meals do you actually eat in your dining room? If you have the time and the budget, consider opening up the kitchen into the dining room and doubling the size of your kitchen and eating area. In most modern homes, value is found in versatility and convenience, not formality. The removal of a single, non pivotal wall can change the flow of your entire home.
2. New appliances
Try to find energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances. A new stove and kitchen sink can make or break a sale. We are always surprised at how easily a buyer can be persuaded by the shine of new merchandise in the kitchen.
3. Islands: the kitchen necessity
One Avenue firmly believes that every kitchen should come with an island. It’s one layout that will never go out of style. The versatility and usefulness of a kitchen island is endless and anyone who ever spends time in their kitchen (so…everyone) knows how valuable counter space is. Plus, you can install portable islands!
Staying or selling, always have a home inspection done after (or during!) your remodel. Our inspectors are professional and honest. In a world of cheapskate contractors and difficult home projects, take a breath of fresh air with the One Avenue stamp of approval!
Call today with any question or to set up a consultation. 623.299.2142
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