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…]
Summer is coming.
Although it is only January, we Arizona homeowners can feel the heat lurking in our not-too-distant future. Is your new home ready to embrace the weather? One Avenue Inspectors always find the following little problems in Arizona homes, old and new. These easy fixes can greatly decrease your energy bill and increase your home’s efficiency. In reality, this is a beginning checklist for any Arizona homeowner, not just the new family on the block. [Read more…]
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
We get it. Writing large checks during this national economic slump does not sound appealing to anybody. That is why One Avenue Inspection has come up with some inexpensive and effective improvements to structural areas of your home that are easy to manage and excellent selling points. Whether you are in the market to sell your home or you are simply looking to renovate, a thorough home inspection is crucial for the safety and integrity of your home. This week, we recommend taking a long hard look at your garage. Do you have unnecessary clutter everywhere (be honest…)? Is there exposed piping and unfinished flooring? Can you fit your cars in without bumping into anything? As your home inspection agency, we recommend doing one, if not all of the following ‘Turn Key Tips’:
Think UP: Vertical Storage
Floor space is valuable, especially in a garage. Think vertical when looking for home storage installations. We find it useful to bring the measurements of the room to a home improvement store near you and walking through your options with a representative. Many storage units are portable and light, making the installation and future usage a breeze. However you do it, get the mess off the floor and in cabinets and on shelves so that it’s easily accessible. You might even discover hidden rot or pests that could have festered for years!
Fill in, Repaint, and Repeat
Oftentimes the garage walls and floor go neglected in terms of their paint-job. However, as a space used every single day, the garage should receive some TLC every once and a while. Drag the kids out one weekend afternoon, and paint the walls and floors so that your garage looks clean, usable, and damage-free. Who knows? Maybe you will even take a walk down memory lane or find those tools you’ve been looking for by removing all of the boxes and clutter. We recommend power-washing/bleaching the floors and walls first, then using the right kind of paint for the floor and walls. Try to find a paint and primer that contains latex and slip protection (for the floors, especially). Fill in moldings and cracks with caulk and patch up any holes in the drywall before starting.
Get Technical: Garage Door Keypad
It may seem more intimidating than the previous projects, but when you have that sinking realization one morning that you have locked yourself out of your home, you will thank us. Install an automatic door opener with an accessible keypad. You can hire a technician to do it for you, but follow these easy steps to do it yourself. This simple home improvement will save you time now and add value to your home in the future. Make sure you are always careful when working with electricity, and watch out for the pre-existing garage door safety devices!
Our final Turn Key Tip for you is to focus on one small space at a time, not the whole home.
As always, our inspectors are available to answer home-questions and come inspect any changes made to your home. We recommend home inspections not only when buying or selling, but during your current stay at any residence, as this could save you money on future, unforeseen repairs. Give us a call to set up an appointment. 623.299.2142
The Valley is notorious for its beautiful, brand new tract housing complexes. These homes, as you know, have all the glamorous details and facades that young buyers are looking for in a first or second home. However, many buyers become blinded by the appearance and will not take a home inspection as seriously. This is a mistake! Remember that a home’s value is only as good as its insides. One Avenue Inspection is here to make sure your perfect home is solid and functional, before you make a downpayment. According to M.P. McQueen of the Wall Street Journal, about 17% of the new houses built during the 2005 boom had significant structural and design flaws.
Home Inspection Checklist for New Houses
1. No new damage?
Often times when a seller moves their furniture and belongings out of the house, additional damage is inflicted on the walls and surfaces. Make sure to do a meticulous walk-through after the previous owner is out and before signing the final contracts!
2. Everything working?
Any appliances, light fixtures, and faucets that come with the new home should be scrutinized. Walk through the house and yard with a lamp or something requiring electricity and test each outlet. Don’t be afraid to turn on the washing machine and dishwasher to make sure they work. Lastly, remember to get copies of the warranties and owner’s manuals for all appliances from the seller.
3. Unseen cracks?
This might be more difficult to examine by yourself. With the help of an inspector and real estate home expert, you should analyze every inch of the roof, foundation, and pool area for cracks in the structure. Leaky roofs and cracked foundations are the most common serious problems in new homes. Left untouched, these damages could dance to the tune of thousands of dollars of repairs down the road.
Additionally, do not forget to open and close all windows and doors. Check for cracks and poor installation in the windows particularly, otherwise you might have future mold and leakage problems.
“One of the best defenses against buying a defective house is a thorough inspection by a state-licensed building-inspection engineer, experts say” (McQueen WSJ).
As always, One Avenue Inspection is available to walk through your home at any stage of construction or purchase! Give us a call for a quote. 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
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!