Thursday, September 19, 2013

Avoid Extensive Repairs by Winterizing Your Home This Fall

HomeTeam Shares Fall Home Preparation Tips 

Autumn is on the way, so don't fall behind on your seasonal home repairs checklist.

It pays to know which renovations to tackle now, which repairs can wait until next season, and what preventative measures can help you avoid large-scale, costly repairs.

"While staying warm is top of mind for many homeowners this upcoming winter, it is important to note that in order to stay warm and dry, homes must first be functioning properly," says Bill Jacques, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) president. "A home inspection can help homeowners prioritize maintenance projects as the seasons change and weather becomes more severe."

ASHI recommends fall as the ideal time to begin home inspector consultations and any necessary home repairs. Maintenance costs are generally lower when homeowners proactively prepare their home for winter weather instead of waiting to fix issues that appear.

Homeowners may want to consult with a professional home inspector on winterizing projects, including:

* Cleaning gutters and downspouts - When ice damming occurs, water cannot drain from gutters and can sometimes seep into the home and damage ceilings and walls.

* Roof, siding and shutter repairs - Heavy rains and high winds can call for window protection from shutters and the necessity of a sturdy exterior and roof for protection. ASHI recommends inspecting your roof, siding and shutters at least once a year.

* Caulking cracks to stop cold drafts - Worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows allows cold air to seep into the home, which increases heating costs.

* Inspecting chimneys - Adding a cap or screen to the top of a chimney will prevent birds nesting or animals entering. ASHI also recommends inspecting the damper for proper operation and checking mortar between bricks.

* Checking batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors - Many fires or cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur during cooler months due to an increase in furnace and other heat source usage. If you have gas appliances, you need a CO detector for increased safety.

"The time to get serious about necessary home repairs is before the temperature starts dropping," says Jacques. "Once winter weather begins and your home has problems, you will be wasting money each month, so think about getting your home professionally inspected so you can keep the home in good condition and reduce problems from lack of maintenance."

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

HomeTeam Inspection Service Named 2013 Military Friendly Franchise®

Ranks in the top 10 percent of the nation’s franchises that are doing the most to recruit military veterans

HomeTeam Inspection Service was recently ranked in the top 10 percent of the nation’s franchises that are doing the most to recruit military veterans, and named a 2013 Military Friendly Franchise® for a third consecutive year.

For more than 20 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has brought exceptional quality, value and dependability to the home inspection industry.  HomeTeam offers faster, more efficient home inspections by bringing a team of inspectors on site. “The team approach resonated with my military background,” says Brian O’Rear, owner of HomeTeam Inspection Service in Louisville, KY. “I understand teams, I understand leadership. I understand the power of a team. It was a pretty easy sell for me.”
 
HomeTeam currently offers military veterans 25% off the initial franchise fee (up to a $10,000 value) to help launch their dream of owning a business. “We are honored to be named a Military Friendly Franchise®. Our veteran owners have proven to be great leaders within our organization, fostering the team approach and consistency in everyday operations that our model employs.” says Greg Haskett, Vice President at HomeTeam Inspection Service.

The 2013 Military Friendly Franchises® list was compiled via a data-driven survey overseen by an advisory board of industry experts. The survey results list was independently tested by Ernst & Young based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media.

“One in four returning service members indicate interest in owning their own business,” said Sean Collins, director for G.I. Jobs.  “Franchises are a perfect fit for service members, who bring unparalleled operational skill sets and work ethic but are often unclear how to start a business.”

ABOUT HOMETEAM: For more than 20 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has brought exceptional quality, value and dependability to the home inspection industry.  HomeTeam franchise owners with homebuyers, home sellers and real estate professionals to service home inspection needs through a unique TEAM concept, and unparalleled professionalism.  HomeTeam Inspection Service continues to expand throughout the United States and Canada by offering franchise opportunities.  For more information, visit www.hometeam.com.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

HomeTeam.com!

HomeTeam Inspection Service Announces New Domain and Updated Website


HomeTeam Inspection Service, an industry leading provider of residential home inspections for over 20 years, announces the launch of www.hometeam.com, a recently acquired domain with an enhanced look.

“This updated, user friendly site couples easy access to service features and essential home information for our clients, with the visual elements of our national branding campaign.” says Shannon Keeney, marketing coordinator for HomeTeam Inspection Service.

Visitors are able to learn about the distinguishing features of the HomeTeam brand on the site with a short introductory video, access the Home Essentials Library for relevant home tips and can quickly locate an inspector in their area simply by typing in their zip code.

“Acquiring HomeTeam.com is a significant milestone and holds a great benefit for our franchise owners and our brand,” says Adam Long, VP of technology.

The purpose of the new site is to provide a resource to home buyers, home sellers and real estate professionals and allow visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of what makes HomeTeam Inspection Service different from other inspection companies.

"2013 marks the 20th Anniversary of HomeTeam Inspection Service franchising, and what a great way to celebrate. We see many opportunities for HomeTeam in the next 20 years as we continue to grow.” says president and founder, Paul Spires.

ABOUT HOMETEAM:For more than 20 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has brought exceptional quality, value and dependability to the home inspection industry. Their team concept is unique to the home inspection industry, and allows inspections to be faster and more efficient. HomeTeam franchise owners work with home buyers, home sellers and real estate professionals to service home inspection needs. Today, HomeTeam Inspection Service continues to expand throughout the United States by offering franchise opportunities.  For more information on HomeTeam Inspection Service, visit www.hometeam.com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HomeTeam Featured in Chicago Tribune

Home inspectors see a house for what it really is

By John Handley, Special to the Tribune
January 4, 2013

What are the secrets of that house you're thinking of buying? What's in the basement, in the attic, on the roof? Are mechanical systems working properly?

As buyers gradually jump back into the housing market, a thorough examination of a dwelling is an essential step toward homeownership. It can increase confidence about the condition of a property and save thousands of dollars down the road. Risky deals like foreclosures and short sales require even more scrutiny.
Ed Miehlke and Bill Hayes of HomeTeam

That's where a home inspection comes in.

"Home inspectors lay all the cards on the table," said Doug Hanscom, broker associate with ReMax Properties in Western Springs.

Like doctors, home inspectors give thorough physical exams. They probe the ins and outs of residences and make detailed reports. What they uncover can make or break a deal.

Illinois law requires home inspectors to be licensed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Trade organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors promote high standards of practice.

Home inspections cost an average of $350 for single-family homes and $300 for condominiums, but they can pay for themselves if serious defects are discovered. In that case, the buyer and seller can negotiate the cost of repairs. Roofs can be deal-breakers because of the $15,000 to $30,000 replacement cost.

The No. 1 problem discovered in inspections is water intrusion, frequently from leaking roofs and basements, according to home inspector Ed Miehlke.

"Home inspectors are like general practitioners. We check out a house for a couple of hours. If we need more information, we call in a specialist — a plumber, electrician or other expert," said Miehlke of HomeTeam Inspection Service of Arlington Heights.

The standard inspection checklist includes electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems. Siding and roofs are evaluated, as are foundations and interior walls and ceilings. Doors and windows are checked for tightness.

"The age of a property tells us what to look for," Miehlke said. "Older houses may have issues with cracked foundations and wiring."

"We give buyers three choices of home inspectors," said Chris Downey, a real estate agent with Koenig & Strey in Winnetka. She noted that sellers must report pre-existing defects in a disclosure statement that covers major components. Downey said home inspections are especially important for young, first-time buyers not seasoned in how to evaluate a house.

"Usually, people don't make an issue about small things, like a few cracks that don't have a structural cause. But in the case of a major problem, the buyer and seller may split the cost," she said.

What issues do the pros often encounter?

"We check certain building systems that have had problems in the past. One of them is a certain brand of circuit breaker panel that was popular in the 1950s and '60s," Miehlke said. "Asbestos frequently was wrapped around ductwork from the 1950s to the '70s. Some Chinese drywall has a high sulfur content."

Miehlke said he finds mold in as many as 10 percent of houses his company inspects. "Mold occurs because of lack of ventilation in an attic or basement," he said, noting it can cause respiratory problems and allergies.

Elevated radon levels are found in an average of 30 to 40 percent of homes in the Chicago area, Miehlke said. "Radon is a naturally occurring gas from the breakdown of uranium. It's easily corrected by venting the gas with a pipe from the ground to above the roof," he said.

A valuable tool in home inspections is a thermal imaging camera, which detects heat loss. "It can't see through walls, but it measures temperature," said Jack Schubert, managing inspector for Windy City Home Inspection Inc. in Highland Park. "When water evaporates, it cools the wall, and that can be measured," he said.

Schubert said flaws also are common in new construction. "We find small stuff like electrical outlets that aren't properly grounded. One new house needed a furnace filter replaced because it was clogged with sawdust."

An inspection of a gut rehab of an older house includes making sure the landscaping doesn't angle running water toward the foundation, Schubert said. He noted that some sellers pay for a prelisting inspection in order to make repairs that will increase the value and marketability of their house.

Even after all flaws have been reported, Schubert estimated that 95 percent of homes continue on to closing. "Our reports don't sugarcoat the house, but they rarely torpedo the deal," said home inspector Bill Hayes of HomeTeam Inspection Service of Schaumburg. "We take the emotions out of the transaction."

...

Read the complete article here: Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Tune Up Checklist


Fall is here and HomeTeam Inspection Service has a list of tips and areas that you can homeowners can check to ensure that their home is well prepared and more energy efficient as the winter months approach. 

1. Examine Your Home’s Foundation 
  • Examine crawlspace for standing water, mold, or fungus 
  • Install vapor barrier for crawlspace 
  • Check for cracks in basement walls 
  • Identify basement leaks 
  • Check for proper insulation in basement and crawlspace 
 
2. Inspect the Framing and Exterior 
  • Reseal brickwork every five to eight years 
  • Caulk around windows, doors, utility line entrances, and vents 
  • Look for signs of insect activity, especially in crawlspace framing and around floor-framing perimeter 
  • Secure any loose sections of vinyl or aluminum siding and replace damaged sections when appropriate 
  • If necessary, retrofit insulation into sidewalls and attic floors 
 
3.   Check for Problems on Your Roof
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure they are securely attached 
  • Check for missing or cracked shingles 
  • Look for signs of a leaking roof
  • Observe chimney and flu stack for visible damage 
  • Be sure all bath, kitchen, and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just into the attic.
 
4. Look Over Any Electrical Wiring 
  • Check outdoor recepts to make sure they are water tight 
  • Change or install bulbs in any outdoor light sockets 
  • Upgrade faulty wiring 
  • Set up GFCI recepts by sinks, lavatories, garage and outdoor receptacles 
  • Contact an electrician if you constantly blow fuses or trip circuit breakers 
 
5. Investigate the Plumbing in Your Home 
  • Put away garden hose and shut off hose bibs 
  • Insulate water supply lines and water heater 
  • Fix slow drip leaks and leaky valves 
  • Install temperature and pressure valves 
  • Tighten any loose fixture attachments
 
6. Take Time to Observe the HVAC 
  • Cover your air conditioner 
  • Tightly seal all ductwork seams with foil tape 
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or check for battery life 
  • Clean flues from the furnace, water heater, and fireplace 
  • Have a heating contractor inspect and ready your heating system 
 
The above suggestions may require professional assistance to ensure proper installation. To maintain a safe home for you and your family, order a whole home inspection by The HomeTeam Inspection Service, the professional leader in residential home inspections. Our team of expert home inspectors will provide you with a thorough evaluation, covering over 400 points inside and outside of your home. For peace of mind, trust the HomeTeam.

Friday, September 21, 2012

HomeTeam featured on Ocala.com


HomeTeam Inspection Service was recently featured on Ocala.com in an article titled, "Home inspection services on the rise in Marion County." The story dicusses the resurgence of home sales and prices in Marion County, and then details the Home Team servicing the county and surrounding areas. Owner Danny Blankenship talks about the service and also shares stories of some of his odder home inspection encounters. Click here to read the entire story.

Home inspection services on the rise in Marion County
By: Carlos E. Medina

Home sales and prices have seen a resurgence in Marion County recently. The positive signs are good news to more than just homeowners and real estate agents.

Home inspection services are among the other ancillary real estate businesses that were hard hit during the financial crisis.

“We’ve seen some positive movement in the local market. Hopefully, that will continue. There are a lot of great homes out there at very good prices,” said Danny Blankenship, who owns a HomeTeam Inspections franchise that covers Marion, Citrus, Lake and Sumter counties.

In July, the median sales price for a single-family home in Marion County increased to $94,000, nearly 12 percent higher than in July 2011. The number of single-family homes available dropped to 3,368, down 21.4 percent compared with the same month a year ago.

Ken Wilson, who owns a Pillar to Post home inspection franchise in Ocala, also has seen business improve a bit, but he also sees a growing number of buyers routinely skipping the home inspection.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting Creative With The Kitchen

When it comes to selling a home, no room in the house seems to have more importance than the kitchen. "Sometimes the kitchen is a dealbreaker, especially when there's so much on the market for buyers to choose from," says Tampa Realtor Susanna Madden. "They want a lot of cabinet space and they like wood cabinets. White cabinets are outdated. They want granite countertops. Most prefer an open kitchen versus a galley kitchen. They like tile flooring in the kitchen. They like things that are clean, pretty, neat, not cluttered, eye-catching. Like what you see in a model home." Those are some pretty high standards. And if you're considering bringing your kitchen up to that level, here's a couple of "dos" and "don'ts" you need to consider.

DO: Fully plan out the remodel before starting. This will probably be the only shot you get at fixing up this house's kitchen. Carefully consider the space you're working in as well as the amount of time you're willing to have this crucial part of your home out of commission.

DON'T: Understimate unforseen factors. With so many appliances, electrical, and plumbing merging in one room, there's bound to be some complications. Make sure you give yourself enough time and money to see this project through to the end.

DO: Consider doing some of the work yourself to cut down on costs. Even if you hire a professional to do most of the job, there are some parts you can probably do yourself.

DON'T: Be afraid to call in professionals if the job gets to big. A project this large can easily overwhelm you. In the long run, it might be easier on your wallet and sanity to just bring in outside help to finish the remodel.

Due to the safety risks involved in home improvements and repairs, we recommend that home owners hire a professional home repairman to handle the home improvement projects and tips listed above if they don't have much experience doing so.
 
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