$100,000+ of Warranty’s & Guarantee’s w/ every Residential Inspection.


November 16, 2015

curtiskloc


REALTORS: Are your vendors helping you grow your practice?

referralsWhen I ask a Realtor why they work with a particular inspector or any kind of vendor really, they usually say he/she is thorough, on-time and communicates well with their clients.

I say, “well, yeah, of course,” but I think that should be the bare minimum before you put someone in front of your clients, right?

Imagine a world where your vendors are setup as a Real Estate Practice Cultivators. So, not only are they doing a good job for you and your clients, but they are bringing a level of service, expertise and back end support that brings a major WOW factor to your clients. That’s how you get referrals! Every one of your vendors should be WOW’ing them…

Now I don’t mean, being genuine, honest, thorough, on-time, communicating well… Those are all a given! If you’re putting your clients in front of someone that doesn’t have these minimums, start interviewing immediately.

I’ll speak directly to the home inspection business, since that’s what I know best; let me ask you a few questions:

  1. Is your inspection company helping you market?
  2. Do they cover you if the client were to file a lawsuit?
  3. What’s their plan if they missed something during the inspection?
  4. What if something breaks after the inspection?
  5. Do they have a relationship with manufacturers that gets them to fix outstanding problems with systems & appliances?

The answers should & could be…

  1. Yes, mostly by ongoing email effort to your clients on your behalf, although it has nothing to do with sales, only service and info your clients will want every month, and when they see your name and picture every month along with all that valuable info that talks directly about their house, it’ll be easy to remember you and forward that email to their friend or family when it’s time to buy or sell.
  2. Obviously, lawsuits are rare, but if it ever came to that, some people just end up having to leave the business. That being said, most lawsuits can be avoided, and if they can’t, who’s paying the legal fees? If it’s a home inspection issue, the coverage should come from the inspection company or the inspector.
  3. Did you know that some inspection companies will buy the house back, for whatever your client paid, if their inspector missed something?
  4. A 90 day warranty, although not common as they should be, are offered by the best inspection companies with every inspection.
  5. The best inspectors and inspection companies offer a report in tandem with the site inspection report, that will contain information directly from the manufacturer of all the systems and appliance, and outstanding service calls will be taken care by the manufacturer at no charge to your client.

These are a few of the best practices available to Realtors. There are more, but I figured I’d share only 5. You may have heard of a few of them or none of them, but at least now you know they are available to you, and at no cost to you.

Since most of the people you work with couldn’t ever give you as much business as you bring them, you hold all the cards; you tell your clients who to work with, don’t you! You should find out from every vendor you work with, what’s possible; ASK! What can you do for me? You’re bringing them the business, right? They should be bringing the latest and greatest from each industry to your clients. There are always companies leading the way with new ideas for you… They want to earn your business! Expect the best!

Just know that if you are in the mindset of growing your practice and setting yourself apart from all other Realtors, you should first consider leaning on all your vendors to help you be the WOW to your clients. If everyone you recommend gives your clients that big WOW, then you’ll have systematized much of your business to avoid client complaints, things won’t be falling through the cracks and you’ll be fast on your way to having more referrals than you can handle.

As for the answers to 1-5 above and how those protections work for you and your client, there are explanations and videos at http://eliteanalysis.com that should answer most of your questions.

Ask me how to get your vendors working for you & your clients…


November 10, 2015

curtiskloc


how to save $1000’s at closing

What’s the big downside of a pre-listing consultation? If the seller has an inspection, now you have a disclosure issue if anything is found, right?

But, the flip side is that the buyer will probably have an inspection, and most or hopefully, all the issues will be found, and the seller will be stuck either paying top dollar (think contractor prices instead of handyman prices) for the repairs or giving up the equivalent at closing. It probably will mean $1000’s, depending on the age of the house.

I was in the US Navy for 8 years in the 90’s. I did nuclear chemistry and radiological controls. (think yellow suits and orange gloves) The reality is that while the rules are always black and white, the world we live in almost always gray. Sometimes it takes some finesse to do the right thing, while at the same time not putting yourself in a position of vulnerability.

SO… How do you help your seller get the most for their house without the downside?

A pre-listing consultation. It’s not an inspection; there isn’t an inspection report. A qualified inspector walks around the property noting things the seller should consider repairing or replacing. The seller follows along with a clipboard taking notes. He/she decides to fix and/or upgrade what they feel (with the counsel of their Realtor) and now, no surprises during the inspection period.

And because no report is written, a pre-listing consultation is less money than a full site inspection, and since it’s a listing consultation, not an inspection, you don’t have disclosure issues. Wouldn’t $200-300 make $1000’s of difference at closing? I know for a fact that it’s both saved that much or cost that much when seller’s haven’t done it. And these start at $150. It’s a no-brainer!


October 23, 2015

curtiskloc


Why hire a home inspector?

Home-inspector-6632

Ten Reasons to Get a Home Inspection by a trusted home inspector

If you were buying a used car from a private party, you would probably want to have your mechanic check it out before you laid down your cash. After all, there is just so much you can discern from looks alone, and even a spin around the block might not reveal problems that could crop up once the seller has disappeared with your hard-earned money. Really, wouldn’t you agree that a trip to your trusted grease monkey at $40 an hour is well worth the cost when you consider that it could save you a lot more loot down the road – literally?

The same is true when you offer to buy a “used” home. While you may be tempted to skip a home inspection because of its several hundred dollars cost, you would be wise to make the investment for a multitude of reasons. Here are ten good ones:

Contingency – You may think that you’re a great negotiator and that you’ve made a terrific deal on your home purchase, but unless you have the experience and training, you’re likely to miss some crucial deficiencies in a home’s structure, condition and/or mechanical systems. And that means you could be buying someone else’s troubles. A professional home inspection allows you to back out of your deal if the inspector reveals problems that would cost you way more than you bargained for.

Objectivity – Buying a home is usually an intensely emotional decision. It’s easy to overlook the glaring shortcomings of your “perfect” new home when you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. An objective home inspection report will help bring you down to earth and put you in a more business like demeanor. You may think you’re buying your dream house, but a detailed home inspection may prove that your intended purchase is more like a nightmare with four walls.

Safety – Older homes, especially, may contain lead paint, asbestos-filled tiles or insulation, radon or any number of other health hazards. A home inspection will reveal the type and extent of safety issues. You don’t want to gamble with your family’s health just because you like the fact that there’s room in the garage for your wave runner.

Negotiating Power – A home inspection allows you, as the buyer, to negotiate who will be responsible for needed repairs before money changes hands. If a seller is unwilling to spring for items that need maintenance or upgrades, the purchase price can be adjusted downward to reflect the costs you might have to incur once you’ve got the keys to the kingdom in your own hands.

Insurance Discounts – A positive home inspection report tells your homeowner’s insurance company that your house is in good shape. Added to the insurance company’s own inspection, you may be able to purchase a policy at a discounted rate.

Hidden Problems – Sometimes problems are hidden deep inside the structure of a home and are invisible to the naked eye. Termites and rats, for instance, can cause terrible damage to an otherwise good-looking house, but can’t be detected without a thorough home inspection. Mold is another problem that may be lurking in unseen places. Unless you’re willing to climb, crawl or creep in tight, unlit spaces, you should make sure that your home inspector is.

Illegal Additions or Installations – The seller may have been a talented do-it-yourselfer, but a home inspection can reveal if alterations or installations were completed without the proper permitting or if they fail to conform to local building codes and standards. Illegal room additions, for example, can affect your insurance, taxes, usability and resale value. It’s better to discover any illicit construction before you sign on the dotted lines.

Determining Future Costs – Home inspectors are experts at helping you determine which systems may need replacement, how soon, and how much it could cost you. An older home may have charm and character, but a twenty year-old air conditioner may leave you sweating in the middle of your first summer when it breaks down. All mechanical systems have life spans. It makes sense to know how long they’ve been around and how much longer you can expect them to function properly.

Protection – Home inspections are critical if you are buying a property “as-is,” such as in a short sale or foreclosure. Houses that have not been lived in for awhile tend to decay faster than homes that have current occupants. Abandoned houses can also be more easily vandalized and/or damaged due to weather-related events.

Peace of Mind – In the end, home inspections afford you peace of mind and give you the knowledge that you are making the right choice – and paying the right price – for your new home.

There is no substitute for a complete understanding of the condition of the house you plan to live in. Buying a home while foregoing a professional home inspection is a little like buying that used car just because you like the color of the paint job. It’s important to remember that it’s what’s under the hood that really counts.


October 23, 2015

curtiskloc


What’s up with mold?

Learn all you need to know about mold, how to prevent it, and why you should hire a trusted professional when the situation is out of hand!

A mold is a type of fungus, that, in the natural world, plays its part in the greater scheme of things by helping cause the breakdown, or decomposition, of dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and trees. This biodegradation helps forests prepare for new growth. There are thousands of known species of molds in the world. Some molds are utilized by humans and play a positive role in biotechnology by helping in the production of certain foods, beverages, medicines and enzymes. Conversely, some molds can cause disease and death by producing toxic chemical compounds that are inimical to life.

Molds reproduce by means of tiny cells called spores which are invisible to the naked eye. These spores float through the air in search of the moisture which is necessary for their survival and growth. When mold spores land on indoor surfaces that are wet, they can grow and multiply rapidly. Molds have the potential to damage or destroy a home and all its furnishings. They can also cause health problems that can range from the merely irritating, such as coughing and wheezing, to more serious conditions, such as asthma and skin rashes. For these reasons, indoor molds should be avoided at all costs. If there is mold growth in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the water problem that allowed the mold to develop in the first place.

Preventing Mold

While it is impossible to get rid of all indoor mold spores, mold growth can be prevented by controlling indoor moisture levels. Here are some things every homeowner can do to prevent mold from causing any or all of the problems outlined above:

Fix all plumbing leaks and any other water problems in the home such as leaky window frames, or wet and rotted wood in walls and building facades.
When spills occur, act quickly – within 24 to 48 hours – to dry the area or the materials that were affected.
Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Check the roof for leaks.
Make sure ground water cannot leak into the home by sloping the ground away from the building’s foundation.
Keep air-conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines flowing properly.
Keep indoor humidity as low as possible. Use a dehumidifier, if necessary.
Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and stoves, to the outdoors, where possible.
Increase ventilation, which reduces moisture, by opening doors and windows, when practical.
Insulate cold water pipes to prevent condensation.
When showering, open the bathroom window, or run the exhaust fan if there is one.
Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
Refrain from carpeting basements, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Mold Remediation

As long as moisture and oxygen are both present, mold can grow on virtually any surface including wood, wallpaper, carpeting, ceiling tile, and insulation. If mold is already present in the home, it needs to be removed as quickly as possible. If mold is found on a hard surface, it can often be removed by scrubbing it with detergent and water.

When cleaning moldy surfaces, make sure to protect yourself from exposure. Wear long gloves and avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands. Protect your eyes with goggles and wear a properly fitting respirator to prevent mold spores from entering your nose, mouth, throat and lungs.

When mold is present in absorbent materials, such as cloth, ceiling tiles, carpeting and upholstery, the items may have to be tossed and replaced. Even if they can be rescued, mold will often leave a stain that cannot be eradicated.

Hiring a Professional – Mold Inspection Orlando

In some cases, if there has been a lot of water damage to your home and you either suspect or detect that mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, you might want to hire a professional contractor or other service provider to do the cleanup. This is especially important if you suspect or know that that your HVAC or sewage system has been contaminated, or if you have any health concerns cleaning up the mold, yourself. Also, if you are unsure about how to clean a particular item, such as an expensive piece of furniture, rug, or artwork, you may wish to consult a specialist.

Another reason to contact a professional is if you suspect that mold may be present in areas of the home that cannot be seen or accessed. For instance, mold can be hidden in places such as the backside of dry wall or paneling, the top-side of ceiling tiles or the underside of carpeting. Mold can also hide inside walls and ductwork, or in roofing materials. Sometimes, even if mold cannot be seen, it can be smelled. A musty odor in the home may indicate mold growth. In some cases, normally healthy people will fall victim to various respiratory problems for no apparent reason. Often, unseen mold is the cause.

Remember: Killing or otherwise ridding your home of mold will not end the problem unless the moisture situation that allowed the mold to grow, in the first place, has been solved, as well. Since mold spores are omnipresent, as long as the environment that favors their replication continues to exist, is it is only a matter of time before a new infestation will appear.


October 23, 2015

curtiskloc


What is a wind mitigation?

Wind Mitigation

Learn all you need to know about wind mitigation, inspection features and why you should hire a trusted company!

Mitigation is a term that means diminishing or moderating the force or intensity of something. When applied to the power of a natural phenomenon, say, like the high winds that can arise during a tropical storm or hurricane, mitigation means lessening their destructive character by the implementation of certain building techniques in order to prevent or reduce the damage they can cause to a home or other structure.

In coastal areas, and especially in states such as Florida, tropical storms and hurricanes are more common than they are elsewhere in the country. In fact, hurricane season in the Sunshine State lasts for six months each year, from June 1 to November 30. And although we have been fortunate to have avoided major catastrophic damage over the last few hurricane seasons, it is only a matter of time before the next devastating hurricane sweeps across the Florida peninsula.

Florida homeowners would be hard-pressed to forget the damage inflicted by Hurricanes Charley and Ivan in 2004, and Katrina and Rita one year later. Because of the widespread destruction caused by these violent storms, many insurance companies went bankrupt over mounting claim and reparation costs, subsequently leaving many homeowners high and not-so dry, in their wake.

In order to protect both property owners and insurance companies alike, and to some extent, government agencies that must often step in to provide financial relief to hurricane victims, in 2006, Florida became the first state in the nation to mandate some form of insurance cost discounts based upon certain wind-mitigating characteristics of a home or commercial structure that would help limit the damage caused by high winds and their associated water intrusion. Florida statute 627.711 requires insurance companies to notify homeowners of premium discounts for hurricane loss mitigation and establishes a uniform mitigation verification inspection form.

However, in order to qualify for this discount, properties must undergo a certified wind mitigation inspection performed by a qualified inspector, usually a board-certified contractor, architect or engineer. Once the inspector submits his report to the property owner’s insurance agency, outlining the home or business’s ability to withstand storm damage, an appropriate discount can be applied to the owner’s insurance premium. In Florida, the average discount of 30 percent of the wind portion of the insurance premium (which can be between 15 and 70 percent of the total premium), can save a typical homeowner several hundred dollars a year – not to mention the much greater potential savings in repairs and rebuilding costs should a major storm actually hit.

In Florida, a wind mitigation inspector will look at several key categories of safety features that help protect a home from severe wind and water damage, including:

Roof Covering – The most common roof covering materials in Florida are composition shingles and tiles. A key factor in roof covering performance is the method of attachment of the roof covering material to the roof deck. Nails, not staples, should be used to fasten these materials. Asphalt shingles should be able to withstand winds of over 130 miles per hour. Clay and concrete tiles should be able to ensure uplift resistance.
Roof Decks – Roof decks, generally made of plywood, should be installed with large nails and close spacing with a maximum of six inches on-center. Warped, damaged or deteriorating roof deck boards need to be replaced and nailed down with a ringed shank to provide a more secure grip.
Water Barriers- A sealed roof deck can prevent significant water intrusion if roof shingles are blown away in a storm. Vents and soffits must be properly fitted and installed. Roof deck seams should be covered with a self-adhering membrane tape followed by a synthetic underlayment or foam seal, which is sprayed onto the underside of the decking.
Wall Construction – Steel reinforced concrete block homes will stand up to high winds better than homes with plywood-only framing and plastic siding. The higher the percentage of strong construction materials used for framing and reinforcement, the higher the discount.
Roof to Wall Anchoring – Wall-to-roof connections that establish a continuous load path allows a home to resist high-wind forces as one unit. Metal connectors, such as hurricane clips or straps that hold the roof structure to the walls add strength, as do wall-to-foundation reinforcements.
Roof Shape – Gables that are taller than four feet should be reinforced and braced. These gable end-walls, if not properly built or braced, have been known to fail outward due to the negative suctions on the wall. Additionally, tests show that hip roofs receive up to 40 percent less pressure from wind than gable roofs. Chimneys over five feet above the roof, or on the side of the home, should be anchored.
Glazed Openings – Glass doors and windows should be replaced with impact-resistant glass, or covered by steel or aluminum shutters. Windows should be structurally attached to the building in order to prevent them from popping out of their frames. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable to flying debris due to their large expanse and should be protected.
Doorways – Main doors should be replaced with hurricane rated doors that have at least three mounting brackets and secured with long screws. Garage doors commonly fail during windstorms due to inadequate door-track strength and mounting systems, as well as flimsy metal panels. Existing garage doors can be braced, if replacement is not an option.

Remember, even though wind mitigation inspections are optional and not required by mortgage lenders or insurance companies, they are the only inspections that are likely to result in some level of discount on a homeowner’s insurance policy. The more wind resistive features a property has, the higher the total discount will be.

A wind mitigation inspection usually takes less than an hour, is relatively inexpensive when measured against the potential savings on insurance premiums, and is available for single family homes, multi-family buildings, condominiums and townhouses.

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