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Texas Home Inspectors Cannot Perform Sewer Camera Tests

Aug 8, 18 • News

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It should go without saying that home inspectors are not plumbers. That’s not enough for the greedy inspectors who foist these inspections on unsuspecting clients for hefty fees. Even if the camera inspections are free they are ILLEGAL unless the inspector is also a licensed plumber. If you doubt this read the ruling issued by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Dodging the Square Foot Question

Aug 7, 18 • News

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This article will give you some insight into how your home builder (or real estate agent) will answer any possible question you may ask – with bullshit.

The Square Foot Question

 

5 Tips When Planning for Your Home’s Maintenance and Rehabilitation

Jul 27, 18 • News

5 Tips When Planning for Your Home’s Maintenance and Rehabilitation

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Buying a home is a considerable expense, but the beautiful thing about it is that you have your own place that it may just replicate your dream home. We are sure you want to keep it that way over the years, which is why maintaining the property is essential. Preparing for the process of maintenance or rehabilitation might save you some time and money and here are some tips to keep in mind in that area.

The Gutters Should Be Clean

 

This might be unnoticeable, but it is an essential component when it comes to preventing potential problems in the future. It’s the gutters that catch water that runs off from the roof and divert it in the opposite direction from your house, which makes them an integral part of the residential drainage system. If you head to the basement and notice that water is accumulating, the reason may be small water diversion or improper gutter maintenance. You should ensure to clean the gutters once or twice every year and do not only use the hose to rinse them, but also inspect the channels and physically remove any debris.

Inspect the Roof

 

Just to be on the safe side, you should do this twice per year – in the spring and in the autumn. You should be looking for any form of damages, as well as discolorations. This will help you to prevent any future leaks and loss that they may cause. You should mainly focus on shingles that are located around your chimneys, vents, and skylights, as this is where most leaks occur. If you notice any discoloration, you may need to repaint that section. Or, while you are there, why not repaint the entire roof to complement your house siding?

 

Inspect the Exterior of Your Home

 

When you plan to do this, make sure to have enough time and patience to do a proper job. If you notice a joint that may lead to leaks, consider using house wrap to improve weather resistance. Pay particular attention to wood siding if you have one. If you haven’t done anything to maintain it in a while, there is a good chance that it will need repainting. However, your primary concern should be that there is no damage from insects or water as wood is prone to that.

Inspect the Interior Walls

 

Once you are done with the exterior, move to the interior of your house and start with the walls. You should look for potential leaks and places where drywall perhaps needs to be removed, as well as anything else that may seem out of the ordinary. If you have stone accent walls, make sure to check their condition by looking for grout between them. Also, keep in mind that various impacts may have damaged or loosened them.

Check the Rest of the Interior

 

Walk from one room to the other and look for possible issues. If you are starting from the bathroom, check the toilet tank, washing machine, and dryer for possible leaks. Experienced homeowners say that you should pay particular attention to the metal ends of the hoses used for water supply. As for the water heater, you should make sure to drain it at least once every year. The reason is that sediments from the water that settles on the floor of the heater may damage its bottom.

The chances are you also have some leaky faucets in your home, so make sure to include that in your upcoming maintenance session. You should also analyze the pipes and check if the water flows freely through them or they need to be unclogged. Finally, do not forget to check the condensation hose of your air conditioner and see if you need to change the air filters in your central heat and air unit.

Once you have all the things that you need to do list, it is much easier to organize your maintenance session and conduct it in the most effective way. If you are a homeowner, the chances are that you will need the help of a professional. However, informing yourself on what needs to be done before calling your maintenance guy can save you both some time, and you may even keep some money in your pockets.

New Air Sealing Method

Jun 24, 18 • News

The Death of Freedom of Information in Texas

Jun 5, 18 • News

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Access Denied Article from the Texas Observer

That Sinking Feeling

May 17, 18 • News

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Sinking foundations in North Central Texas.

More North Texas Builder Ripoff Artists

May 17, 18 • News

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More unlicensed North Texas home builder shenanigans.

3 (Little Known) Things to Consider Before Renting Out Your Home

May 17, 18 • News

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Image Source: Pixabay

There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Renting a property out might seem like a way to bolster one’s income without requiring additional work, but anyone with even the slightest amount of experience as a landlord will be quick to correct that line of thinking. From destructive parties to flushing things that ought not enter a drain, you’ll always find a story that reflects poorly on the profitability of renting.

Not every horror story starts with something as simple as a hole kicked in the wall behind a door or a carpet stain that is easily fixed. Sometimes the real horror stories are the tales that involve taking advantage of little-known loopholes, laws or simply the kindness of a landlord until it reaches a natural breaking point. These are just a few of those stories to offer a few straightforward reasons to study up before you hand your keys over to a stranger.

Maintenance Is Impretative, Even If Tenants Don’t Want It

Imagine a landlord’s dream scenario: Your rental property has a small issue. It’s nothing life-threatening, but it does cause a small inconvenience to someone who lives there. The issue requires what might be nearly impossible, either through neglect of a contractor while installing fixtures or a massive renovation project just to reach the source of the otherwise small problem. So far this sounds more like a nightmare, but wait: Your tenant is willing to live with the issue in exchange for a reduction in maintenance fees. Rent still comes in, no massive project is required and everyone is happy.

Except for lawmakers, as this very scenario is explicitly against the law in states like New York. Landlords being required to keep up their property isn’t a new idea yet it is absolutely required even in cases where a tenant might otherwise be happy to ignore the problem in exchange for some form of reimbursement.

If you’re concerned about the state of your building, make sure you brush up on rental codes and requirements for your area even if the problem is a small one. Something as simple as a toilet that backs up every week without major incident could require massively expensive repairs. When all else fails, brush up on how to fix a toilet that won’t flush and roll up your sleeves if you have to. Bringing in outside help is almost always more expensive in the short run.

Some Renters May Not Want To Leave

Companies like Airbnb work to make renting an easier process in the short term, especially for those on vacation or simply wanting to see unfamiliar sights but don’t want to shack up in a hotel for two weeks. While that aim is all well and good, the act of renting out your property through a site of that nature opens you up to squatters taking advantage of a legal gray area that could leave you without your home for some time.

This exact scenario happened to Cory Tschogl, a California property owner who rented out her condo for what was supposed to be a month-long stay, only to have rental protection laws kick in just in time for the renters to refuse payment and squat for an extended period of time. Though they eventually left the premises under the cover of darkness, Tschogl reported no longer feeling safe in her own condo and will likely sell it to avoid potential retribution from the squatters.

Taking the word of references may cut it for some areas, but not every landlord wants to put their livelihood at stake. Screening tenants thoroughly through a reliable service is the best way to avoid being burned by renters with a history of poor habits. Know the laws for your state and know the reliability of your renters before you sign anything over to anyone.

Financial Pain Might Hinge On A Renter’s Hobbies

While there are plenty of stories that regale with accounts of respectable homes being turned into burnt-out husks by negligent or criminal renters, sometimes a less obvious hobby can hurt you in the long run even if you aren’t aware of it. Jimmy Moncrief told an amusing story about trying to have a rental property refinanced, only to be denied after the home he had inspected turned out to house a massive collection of water pipes traditionally used for recreational marijuana use.

While he never mentioned any explicit damage to the property or even wrongdoing on the part of the renters he still found himself out of the running for refinancing over the lack of value found in the property along with similarly related factors. It’s a good thing he found the situation humorous.

Renting isn’t for everyone and being a landlord requires patience, handy know-how and a fair knowledge of local laws to ensure you end up ahead in the end. Brush up on statutes and speak with people who have been there before to see how their stories might save you from reliving their worst rental nightmares.

 

Another Texas Builder does the Bankruptcy Two Step

May 9, 18 • News

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http://www.kxan.com/news/investigations/many-families-out-of-homes-large-sums-of-money-after-builder-files-for-bankruptcy/1052774959

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home with Foundation Issues

May 9, 18 • News

What You Need To Know About Buying a Home With Foundation Issues (1)

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home with Foundation Issues

The foundation of a home is a vital aspect to its stability and strength. Without a good foundation, a home can’t stand and may begin to sink, fall, and crumble.

Does this mean you shouldn’t consider buying a home with foundation problems? We’ve set out to answer this question in this article.

Some foundation problems are minor and can be fixed inexpensively. Some, however, can run deep and require a great deal of time and financial investment.

Before taking the plunge, here are the five things that you need to know about buying a home with foundation issues.

 

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  1. Hire a local foundation repair expert.

If you notice signs of foundation problems in the house, it’s best to hire a local professional. Common signs of foundation issues in Texas include:

  • Cracks in the tiles or floor

Hairline cracks are often not an issue. However, it should be an issue of concern if these are larger, or if the tiles are cracked and separated.

  • Flooring is uneven or sloped

You should be worried if the flooring is sloping or uneven.

  • Nails that are popping out

This is often a result of soil shifting.

  • Cracked molding

Molding that is coming out or cracked can point to movement.

  • Cracks on the interior walls

If you notice cracks on interior walls, it may be a sign that soil shifting has taken place.

  • Windows and doors that stick

This is another sign that soil shifting has taken place.

  • Cracks in the sidewalk

Look for cracks in the walkways, patio, or porch. This often indicates soil movement.

  • Cracks in the mortar

If there are cracks in the bricks or chimney, then foundation problems could be the issue.

  • Cracks in the foundation

Do you notice any cracks on the foundation? Regardless of their size, you should have them checked out by an expert.

You need someone who lives and breathes foundations on a daily basis. The results of their analysis should give you a clear idea of whether the house is worth purchasing, or not.

Hairline cracks oftentimes aren’t signs of foundation problems. However, if the cracks are more than ¼ inch, it’s highly likely that movement has occurred. In this case, call a foundation repair expert immediately.

  1. Ask the seller about previous foundation issues.

If you notice any of the signs, then it’d be best to ask the seller about previous foundation issues. If there were, request for the documentation of the repair work.

Next, gauge whether the repair company is reputable or not. A quick Google search should help you with this. You can also ask your home inspector for their opinion on the company and whether they think you should get a second foundation repair professional’s opinion.

If you do manage to find the company online, look at their online reviews. Do they point to a reputable company? If yes, then you’d want to carefully examine the reports.

Also, don’t forget to ask the seller whether the previous foundation repair came with a transferable warranty.

 

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  1. Understand the full costs.

The cost to fix foundation issues varies widely from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. According to HomeAdvisor, most homeowners will pay around $3,996 to repair foundation issues.

The main factors that influence repair costs include:

  • Who you choose to repair your structural issue
  • The method used for repairs
  • The extent of the damage
  1. Figure out how you are going to finance the purchase.

After you have the repair estimate, the next thing is to figure out how you are going to finance the home purchase. It goes without saying that most traditional lenders will not finance a home with foundation problems. But for the few that will, the interest rate is usually a bit higher.

Alternative financing is oftentimes the go-to option for most people.

  1. Know when to walk away.

There are always more homes in the market. However, if the issues are minor and won’t take much time and financial investment, you could consider going ahead with the purchase. Just make sure that the problems are evaluated by a professional foundation repair specialist.

You can also try negotiating on the purchase price of the home if the foundation repairs are significant.

Before beginning the project, some of the things that you may want to ask your foundation contractor include:

  • How soon can you begin work?
  • How long is the estimate good for?
  • Is the estimate the true final cost, or are there possible add-ons or line items to account for unforeseeable expenses?
  • What kind of warranties do you offer?
  • What kind of training do you provide for your employees?
  • On average, how long does it take your company to complete these kinds of projects?
  • Are you accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
  • How long has your company been around?

 

Now that you are armed with all these crucial details, you should be able to decide whether buying that home would be the best decision, or not.

 

This article was provided by Granite Foundation Repair. Granite provides foundation repair services in Dallas, Arlington, Plano and surrounding cities.

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