Inspecting a Home

Written by Jim O'Keefe

Inspecting a House

Before you buy any house, takerepparttar time to thoroughly inspectrepparttar 100148 structure and mechanical systems.

Costly repairs can often be avoided or at least anticipated by a preliminary inspection before a purchase offer is signed. Ifrepparttar 100149 house is inspected before a purchase offer is made, you will know in advance if heating equipment, rewiring, or any other costly repairs or replacements will be needed. If defects are found, you do not necessarily have to rejectrepparttar 100150 house. A purchase offer can include a contingency clause that identifies what needs to be corrected beforerepparttar 100151 sale is finalized. Another option is to offer a lower purchase price based onrepparttar 100152 cost of correctingrepparttar 100153 problems.

After an offer to purchase contract is signed (but before a loan is applied for or a title inspection ordered), a thorough inspection should be done. Some lenders require a mechanical and structural inspection by a qualified house inspector. Even if a lending institution does not require such an inspection, you may want one. Reserverepparttar 100154 right to cancel or renegotiate a purchase agreement if a professional inspection reveals significant defects.

If you decide to hire a professional inspector, be there whenrepparttar 100155 inspection is done. Follow him or her around. Ask questions. It is important to know what is being checked, why, andrepparttar 100156 condition of each area.


· Pencil and paper to record information onrepparttar 100157 house.

· Measuring tape (25 or 50 feet) to measurerepparttar 100158 dimensions ofrepparttar 100159 house and individual rooms. (The measurements will show whether pieces of furniture will fit into specific rooms).

Keep a file withrepparttar 100160 links that you visit and find valuable and you can write another article with just links to great places to visit related to that topic. You can also use these to create a links page on your site.

· Stepladder, if needed, for access to an attic

· Flashlight with a strong beam for inspectingrepparttar 100161 attic, basement, and storage areas with poor lighting.

· Coveralls to protect your clothing when inspectingrepparttar 100162 attic or crawl space.

· Ice pick or pocket knife to testrepparttar 100163 condition of wood structure.

· Hand level to check drainage of sidewalks, porches, and basement floor and to see ifrepparttar 100164 floors are level.

· Screwdriver to remove electrical faceplates to look for evidence of insulation andrepparttar 100165 condition ofrepparttar 100166 wiring. (Turn off electrical power at fuse or circuit breaker box first!)

· Three-prong electrical circuit tester to test receptacles.

· Binoculars for inspecting roof shingles and flashing fromrepparttar 100167 ground. INSPECTION PROCEDURE

Walk aroundrepparttar 100168 outside ofrepparttar 100169 house at least twice. As you walk, note specific areas that you need to inspect more carefully when insiderepparttar 100170 house. Look first atrepparttar 100171 foundation, drainage, and siding;repparttar 100172 second time check windows, gutters, andrepparttar 100173 roof.

Oncerepparttar 100174 outside inspection is finished, move insiderepparttar 100175 house. Start inrepparttar 100176 crawl space or basement and work up throughrepparttar 100177 house torepparttar 100178 attic. Take plenty of time to look behind boxes, in dark areas, under cabinets, etc.

The items listed below will help you do a thorough inspection. Use this list as a guide when inspecting any house. The items do not include such personal preferences as interior decoration (color, carpet, window treatment, etc.) orrepparttar 100179 presence of optional equipment (air conditioning, security system, etc.) NOTE: The items are not listed inrepparttar 100180 exact order which you might follow when inspecting a house.

Answer YES or NO to as many ofrepparttar 100181 questions as apply torepparttar 100182 house you are inspecting:

Doesrepparttar 100183 slope ofrepparttar 100184 lot prevent water from standing next torepparttar 100185 house? Water-saturated soil could indicaterepparttar 100186 lack of drain tile.

Is there easy and safe access torepparttar 100187 lot? Isrepparttar 100188 lot safe and convenient?

Are there signs of septic field drainage problems? These may include odor of raw sewage, extremely soggy soil overrepparttar 100189 drainfield, sewage discharged overrepparttar 100190 ground or in nearby ditches, broken or cracked white pipes that stick out ofrepparttar 100191 ground, or an alarm flashing or beeping inrepparttar 100192 house. Are there enough electrical receptacles to meet your needs? Grounded receptacles have a third, round hole. Use a circuit tester to see if receptacles are wired correctly and are grounded.

Doesrepparttar 100193 house have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection inrepparttar 100194 kitchen, bathroom, garage, and outdoor circuits? Special GFCI receptacles can be identified byrepparttar 100195 "test" and "reset" buttons onrepparttar 100196 face of each outlet; GFCI breakers are labeled inrepparttar 100197 service box. If this protection is found in an older home, it indicates thatrepparttar 100198 electrical system has been upgraded.

Is there visible electrical wiring inrepparttar 100199 attic, basement, or garage? Noterepparttar 100200 type of wire used and its condition.

As withrepparttar 100201 heating system, you may wish to have a professional checkrepparttar 100202 electrical system.


Arerepparttar 100203 plumbing fixtures, especially inrepparttar 100204 bathroom and kitchen, in good condition? Look for water damage onrepparttar 100205 bottom of sink cabinets, aroundrepparttar 100206 bases of toilets, and on ceilings (below upstairs plumbing fixtures).

The Perfect Porch Swing

Written by Debbie Rodgers

The Perfect Porch Swing There is a magical quality to porch swings. In his summertime classic Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury describesrepparttar "ritual ofrepparttar 100147 front-porch swing."

"Inrepparttar 100148 garage they found, dusted, and carried forthrepparttar 100149 howdah, as it were, forrepparttar 100150 quiet summer-night festivals,repparttar 100151 swing chair which Grandpa chained torepparttar 100152 porch-ceiling eyelets…they sat, smiling at each other, nodding, as they swung silently back and forth, back and forth."

Perhaps it isrepparttar 100153 soothing rhythm orrepparttar 100154 reassuring creak ofrepparttar 100155 porch swing that attracts us. Perhaps it isrepparttar 100156 companionable silence or quiet conversation. Or maybe swings simply remind us of more genteel times.

Materials and Construction Although porch swings can be purchased in a wide range of materials,repparttar 100157 most common are wicker and wood. You can also make your own porch swing from one ofrepparttar 100158 myriad of woodworking patterns available at garden centers, hardware stores, or onrepparttar 100159 Internet. You can even improvise with a rope chair or a wicker chair withrepparttar 100160 legs cut off and a support base added.

Whether you are buying or making, here are things to look for: •Seat depths vary from 18 to 36 inches (50-100 cm). There is no one "correct" depth -- it's a matter of personal comfort. •Chair slats should have some curve or slant to them to make a more comfortable seat, and there should be enough space between slats to allow air to circulate. •Swings can hold one to three people depending onrepparttar 100161 length ofrepparttar 100162 seat. Of course,repparttar 100163 biggerrepparttar 100164 swing,repparttar 100165 heavierrepparttar 100166 load andrepparttar 100167 sturdierrepparttar 100168 supports need to be. •Swings with additional length-wise supports underrepparttar 100169 chair slats will be sturdier and will swing more evenly. •All joints should be bolted or screwed together, not nailed. •Pine, maple or oak swings will not weather as well as cedar or teak, but can be painted with an exterior paint to extend their life. They also suit a sheltered porch area. •Wooden bench backs come in a variety of styles. Back slats can run horizontally, vertically with a topper or even vertically at differing heights to form a "round" back. Some styles will suit certain homes better than others. •Seat cushions, covered in durable outdoor fabrics, can adapt a swing to just about any architectural or decorating style, and also makerepparttar 100170 swing more comfortable for whiling away those summer evening.

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