One of the more common defects I come across during home inspections is missing anti-tip devices on free standing ranges. Though a property inspection can reveal many defects that require a repair from a licensed professional, such as electrical defects, this particular defect can be corrected by just about anybody handy enough to give it a go. The truly sad part of this issue is that just about every new range sold should already include an anti-tip device with the range when sold, per the manufacturer. It seems, they're just not installed...
Why these are not properly installed is another one of the many head-scratchers I see as a licensed real estate inspector in west Texas. At any rate, if you find that your free standing range is missing an anti-tip device, it's time to correct that defect. ASAP! Here is an article from several years back providing additional details.
From the N.Y. Times:
Is There a Killer Stove in Your Kitchen?BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
MARCH 6, 2008 3:44 PMMarch 6, 2008 3:44 pmFor about a year now, consumer groups have been waging a war against killer stoves.
It sounds like a bad horror movie, but it’s for real. Consumer advocates estimate that there have been at least 33 deaths and 84 serious injuries in recent years from stoves that suddenly tip over and burn or kill someone underneath.
Most of the victims have been children scalded by whatever is bubbling on top of the stove, or elderly people trying to get something in or out of the oven.
The stove grandma used probably couldn’t be moved or tilted without using a small forklift. Newer stoves, however, are different.
Many are so light that when their door is opened and weight is applied — by, for example, resting a pot on that open door for a moment — the entire appliance turns into a see-saw, spilling hot food and liquids on cooks and onlookers.
Worse, some stoves have been known to tilt and then fall over completely.
The solution is simple. An anti-tip bracket should be installed with every stove to keep it steady and upright while in use.
In a recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit, Sears agreed to install the necessary brackets on about four million free-standing or slide-in stoves that were sold, delivered, and connected by the store between July 2, 2000 and September 18, 2007. The company also agreed to install anti-tip brackets on all free-standing stoves delivered over the next three years.
The settlement is good news for Sears customers, but what about people who buy their stoves somewhere else?
So far, the Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn’t done a thing for them. Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen last month petitioned Nancy Nord, the acting chair of the commission, to begin recall proceedings against stoves sold by retailers other than Sears.
Discussions are still underway. Unfortunately, in recent years, the commission has been know for its close ties to industry, and its reluctance to stand up for consumer safety. Ms. Nord has been criticized for traveling on industry’s dime — and then failing to rein in industry.
This is not the first time the commission has been asked to fix these stoves. The first accidents started happening almost twenty years ago. After the Sears settlement, the commission did act on stoves — sort of, as Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG points out. The commission announced a voluntary recall of a toy stove after a child reported being bruised when it tipped over.
Toy stoves bruising children are bad, certainly, and should be stopped. But what about real stoves scalding and killing people?
If you'd like to learn more, have questions, or would like to discuss property inspection, call me! I can help!
(806)544-8540 or (432)202-7544
One of the most common questions I hear from buyers and agents alike is related to inspection of sewer drain lines under the home and on the property. As a home inspector in Texas, this information exceeds that Texas SOP for home inspections, and is generally the purview of a plumbing service company.
The most effective way to provide this information is by using a camera attached to a cable to view the interior of the sewer line for defects. This process is generally referred to as using a sewer scope.
The photo above is a great example of the value of such a service. The photo shows a clear indication that the sewer line below this home(mine!) has been damaged and is compromised by tree roots. The sewer lines below my home are comprised of cast iron, which is known for rusting and degrading over decades. Of course, my home is over 55 year old, so it is no surprise that these lines are beginning to fail. This has presented the good ol’ fruitless mulberry tree in my front yard with a veritable endless supply of nutrient (yuck!) rich moisture to pilfer at will. And that’s just what the tree roots have done. By entering the small crack in the wall of the sewer line, they have accessed the drain line and will only continue to damage the sewer line over time.
The bad news: there is no repairing this type of damage. The modifications necessary would include replacement of the damaged area of the sewer line (though replacement of the entire sewer line is a better long term solution) or having the sewer line lined with a special product that in effect creates a new sewer line from the inside out. Each of these processes are offered by many local plumbing companies. Costs range from about $5000 on up for a home like mine. Needless to say, this is not cheap, or fun. Plan to be without sewer access for a day or more, at least.
However, when buying a used home, or sometimes even a brand new home, hidden problems are everywhere. As an informed home owner, you can plan ahead and be as prepared as possible for the unexpected.
I can offer you some helpful advice if you are facing this problem with your own home. It might even save you some $$$. Call me for more details and we can discuss further!!
(806)544-8540 or (432)202-7544
#realestate #doublec #lubbock #midland #odessa #property #inspection #inspector
Foundation failures are some of the most common worries for the average home buyer, and understandably so. Foundation failures can result in costly repairs, and can sometimes cause additional damage if the repairs are not completed properly.
First: the overwhelming majority of homes I've inspected have not had evidence of foundation defects. This means that homes with foundation problems of any kind are in the minority, to be sure.
How can you tell if your home has foundation concerns? First, the evidence will usually present itself in other locations, and in other ways. One of the ways I look for foundation defects is to observe cracks on the exterior. Cracks on the exterior do not mean you have foundation failures. However, cracks on the exterior, along with similar damage on the interior near the same location can mean we may have a foundation problem.
The photo above was taken at a home with obvious settlement cracks on the exterior and near the same location on the interior. This home was built with a pier and beam foundation, so it therefore had a crawl space. Unfortunately, many crawl spaces are inaccessible. However, this one was accessible, and it didn't take long to establish why there were so many cracks on the exterior and interior.
The ironic thing with this home was that the homeowner claimed to have already paid a foundation repair company to fix his foundation. I don't know whether that was true or not, as that's not a part of my job. But If that were true, the foundation repair company certainly let him down.
Some contractors place themselves in an adversarial position when it comes to home inspectors. Again, if this homeowner is telling the truth, this is a great example of why a professional home inspector is so important! I do not gain or lose because this home has foundation problems. Yet, a foundation contractor has already made $$ off of this home, and some other foundation contractor likely will again. This underscores the importance of having an unbiased expert to take a look at your property before it's too late!
I don't pass or fail homes: the home tells it's own story, I just record it!
#doublec #hireapro #protectyourinvestment #trustyourinstincts #realestate
The photo above is a Zinsco/Sylvania brand electrical panel. This panel is not especially common in West Texas, but I have seen around a dozen so far in my inspection travels. If you're home was built in before 1980, there is a possibility that this panel is installed in your home.
The Zinsco/Sylvania brand electrical panel has a documented history of failure since it's inception. As the decades have passed, savvy electricians and home inspectors have observed and documented that some Zinsco panels can fail to operate as intended and may leave homes and homeowners at risk to both fire and electrical hazards. These panels can work fine for many years, but as homes have increased energy demands (because of more and more electronic devices in the home), these panels may overheat and portions of it melt.
In a situation like this, if a breaker melts to the bus bar of the panel and can no longer adequately trip in case of an overcurrent or short circuit, an extreme amount of power from the outside electrical supply surges into a home’s panel and circuits. Once this scenario plays out, it cannot be stopped or shut off manually. Electricity will burn until it runs out of fuel or the wires melt. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants.
Many of the documented failures with this brand of panel and breaker relate to just such a scenario: the breaker melts to the bus bar, and then the only way to shut off power to prevent catastrophic electrical failure is to shut off power to the home itself, which is sometimes not an easy task. In fact, there are several highly respected home inspectors nationwide who refuse to even inspect this brand of electrical panel - they will simply recommend replacement.
What can you do if your home has this brand of electrical panel installed? Contact a licensed electrician to replace it with a modern panel and breaker system that is safe.
I would not advise taking chances with this brand of panel; just because it has lasted this long does not mean it can't fail today and endanger you or your family!
If you'd like to learn more, feel free to contact me!
#realestate #hireapro #protectyourinvestment #trustyourinstincts #doublec
August 24, 2017 – Home sales were down again in July 2017 according to the Lubbock Area Housing Market Report. According to the report, 376 homes were sold in July 2017, 14% less than July 2016. Home prices continued their upward trend, however, up 4% compared to July 2016, with the median price for Lubbock area homes being $156,750.
The number of active listings on the market increased almost 7% compared to July 2016, with 953 homes actively listed. Like the majority of Texas, Lubbock remains a strong seller's market in most price ranges. Buyer's should be prepared to make full-price offers, with little to no concessions. Months inventory is the best indicator of a buyer's or seller's market, and this figure increased slightly, from 2.8 months in July 2016 to 3 months in July 2017. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced. Months invetory is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. Lubbock's home invetory has not been more than 3 months since November 2014.
Homes spent an average of 65 days on the market in July 2017, five days less than July of last year.
July 2017 Statistics At-A-Glance
I am a Texas licensed professional home inspector. I inspect properties, big and small, all over West Texas. Texas has the most stringent standards for property inspectors in the U.S.. From training and education, to thorough background checks, we have been through it all to become licensed real estate inspectors. I take great pride in that!
I wanted to take a moment to share with you what you can expect during the home inspection at your property:
First, let me say that I will treat your home with the utmost respect, just as I would any other property. I am a guest, and will conduct myself as such.
It’s important that I can access all areas of the property, inside and out. Some common areas that are difficult to access during inspections are attic access locations, crawlspace access locations, electrical panels, HVAC systems, the garage, storage closets, and the water heater. This list is not all encompassing, of course. As a general rule, the state of Texas does not require property inspectors to move personal belongings to access anything. I would not want to risk damage to your property, so I ask that you do all you can as the homeowner or occupant to make all areas “readily accessible.”
Pets are a non-issue for me personally. However, if your pet could become nervous or anxious with my presence and activity, It might be best for you and I if your pet is placed in a safe location that won’t prevent my access to the entire home for inspection.
I’m often asked if it’s ok if you, the seller or occupant, are present for the inspection. The answer is it’s your property, not mine. I’m your guest.
I will take lots of pictures throughout my inspection. Some are of defects, and trust me your home has defects. I have never inspected a property that was defect free. New, old, it makes no difference. No property is perfect. Some pics I take are merely for my information, and may never make it into the inspection report. Don’t worry, I take all parties privacy very seriously, and would never dream of risking that trust.
I will strive to place everything back just like I found it when I leave.
I appreciate you accommodating me!
TREC License #21098
Double C Home Inspections PLLC
Hundreds of times every year, I see homes with brick veneer or stone veneer. Many of the homes in your own neighborhood are constructed this way, too. There's a common misconception that the brick or stone on these walls is in fact, "the wall'. In fact, a recent local news story on an accident that damaged a home called the destoyed wall "a brick wall". The truth of the matter is the brick or stone on almost all homes in our area is simply a facade, a veneer. It is not structural, though it could present evidence of structural defects. But maybe I better stick to the purpose of this blog entry, huh?
Virtually every home older than 5 years that I've inspected with brick or stone veneer has some sort of mortar joint &/or brick damage on the exterior. Most of the damaged areas 'appear' to be insignificant. Spoiler alert! They're not, and I can prove it!
I was recently hired to consult with a property owner on a recurring problem they were having. When I consult with a property owner regarding an issue like this one, they usually have an idea that they have a problem already, and just want my help to recommend a fix.
Above is a photo of a window enclosed on the exterior with wood trim and brick veneer. Looks like any other window in West Texas, right? No visible defects, right?.....
Here, we have the inside wall behind said window. Obvious to at least some folks, there is staining on the baseboard. Cause? Could be a variety of possibilities. Spills on the interior? Pet urine? Leak from the roof?
The next question a professional inspector will ask is, "Is it still wet?" Or, at least, is the moisture level in the drywall above the baseboard, or in the baseboard elevated when compared to the rest of the property?
No fancy tools necessary when you know what to look for. And I do!
Here we have a simple, highly accurate moisture meter, and as you can see, the moisture level in the drywall above the stain reads over 17%. Is that high? Well, compared to the rest of the living area, this reading is nearly 10% higher than other walls with no staining. So, yes, it's elevated.
With the approval of the property owner, we were able to remove the drywall I just tested for elevated moisture levels, along with the insulation in the wall. I then had the property owner use a garden hose to spray the exterior window near the mortar joints to see what happened, as I had my suspicions. You can see water trickling in near the corner of the window/brick veneer junction. A clear sign that the cause of the moisture staining in this room near the window is due, at least in a large part, to the deteriorated mortar joints on the exterior. This property owner recently purchased the property, and is unfortunately looking at major repairs due to moisture damage and possibly termite damage. This could possibly have been avoided if the property had been well maintained, especially the exterior.
The last photo is of the worst case scenario; different window obviously, with major deterioration at the mortar joints. I'm sure you can probably guess that the moisture intrusion damage in the interior near this window was much more severe!
In conclusion, this is a great reminder that moisture will find it's way into your home if you allow it. It's up to each of us to make sure our homes are well maintained!
If you'd like more information, or to schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact me at (806)544-8540 or (432)202-7544
#realestate #inspection #lubbock #midland #odessa #professional #consulting #moisture #themoreyouknow
When buying a home in a competitive market as we are currently experiencing here in West Texas, it’s tempting to make some risky decisions to make your offer seem like the best one. This could mean offering more than the asking price or a agreeing to a quick closing which aren't so bad. Insome cases, waiving the much needed inspections. This is a VERY BAD IDEA! Although waiving inspections might seem like a good idea when your offer keeps getting beat out, it’s not. Here's why:
While the house may look good to the eye, there are many problems the average buyer can’t detect that can cost you a lot of money down the line. More than once, I've had sellers and BUYERS tell me that they don't expect I'll find much in the way of defects during their home inspection. 100% of the time, those sellers and BUYERS are wrong! For example, beyond the surface there may be problems like termites, malfunctioning systems, or improperly installed electrical that is potentially hazardous! No matter how much you want the house, do not make an offer without having it thoroughly inspected. Here are some solutions to satisfy your need to inspect while remaining timely and competitive.
Pre listing or pre sale Inspection
If you really love this house, have it inspected before you make an offer or sign a contract. Although you might end up spending a few hundred dollars on a house you don’t end up purchasing, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the house ends up passing inspection, now you can waive your inspection contingency.
A seller will often have his or her property inspected before putting it up for sale, called a pre
listing inspection. This way the seller can fix any issues before listing, or tell buyers upfront what they are getting. This protects the seller from future negotiations as well as allows proper pricing of the home. The only issue with this is that the inspector is liable to the seller only, the person who ordered and paid for the inspection.
Quick Inspection Contingency
Sellers like to keep the process moving, so there is usually a small window of time between when offers are due and a deal starts to move forward. When you need to get your offer in quickly and there’s no time to inspect, write a one- or two-day inspection contingency into your offer. This gives the seller comfort knowing the sale won’t lose momentum, and you’ll have peace of mind, too. If you are working with a good local agent, he or she should probably already works with me! I can usually fit in urgent inspections to help you meet your deadlines!
If you feel yourself getting caught up in the bidding war, keep in mind the bigger picture. You are purchasing a large asset, and you do not want to find yourself in debt due to a pricey problem you missed by waiving the inspection.
To schedule a home inspection today, call me! (806)544-8540 or (432)202-7544
#realestate #inspection #texas #realtor
I inspect pools on a regular basis as part of a home inspection. Here are some great points to keep in mind regarding owning or installing a swimming pool.
If you're planning to install a pool, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. On average, in-ground pool installations average $40,000. A word to the wise: Don't expect to add the pool value to your asking price when you sell your home someday. The truth is, many buyers may consider a home with a pool more of a burden than a blessing.
If you decide to begin with a pool installation, carefully consider pool placement in your yard. Consider daylight and how it will impact water temps, view from the home from a safety standpoint, etc. An experienced pool installer should be able to help you avoid making a mistake with pool placement.
I also recommend getting to know safety guidelines and requirements for pool installation. The short version amounts to you being responsible for whatever happens, so bear that in mind when planning your pool. Safety should be your #1 priority in considering buying or installing a swimming pool.
Of course, before you buy a home with a pool, get the pool inspected. Please remember that the pool should be operating as if it will be used for swimming at any time in order for a proper inspection to take place. Many times, some or all equipment has been shut down by the homeowner to save money or hide defective equipment. I do not turn on equipment or operate valves/components of the pool due to liability. Most experienced pool inspectors nationwide stick to these guidelines as well.
It may help to find out if the previous homeowner had a pool company servicing the pool so you can find out if it's been serviced regularly and what that company charges. Keep in mind that maintenance is never cheap, and can become a burden if you are attempting to DIY.
Many pool maintenance companies charge a few hundred dollars for the company to open the pool at the beginning of the summer (including removing the cover, cleaning out debris and getting the motor running again), and close it at the end of the season, while others also charge for weekly or biweekly cleanings. When homeowners don't pay for regular cleanings or clean it themselves, that can trigger costlier maintenance calls.
The cost of replacing motors, heaters, pumps and covers (which can get moldy if they're rolled up while wet) varies depending on the size and model used. Adding chemicals to balance the pool's pH level is another cost. Pools that are unused or partially filled in the heat of the summer are always a red flag. If the home you're considering has a pool that is not operating or partially filled, assume the wor$t!
Don’t forget about insurance costs. Insurance companies usually try to avoid insuring homes with swimming pools. Contact your insurance company or agent to make sure you can get coverage, and find out what it will cost you, since a pool increases the homeowner's liability risk.
Pools are meant to be fun, so getting a handle on the expected costs can help avoid costly surprises in the future.
If you're planning to purchase a home with an in ground swimming pool, feel free to contact me! I can take care of your home inspection and pool inspection.
#pool #swimming #realestate #lubbock #odessa #midland #texas #inspector #realtor