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sumas home inspector: Twin-Pick (Music Trivia Quiz) -- The Birth of Rock and Roll - 05/29/09 11:58 PM
This time on our nostalgic music trivia quiz known as "Twin-Pick" (dedicated to a 1960's KPUG deejay in Bellingham, WA named Kirk Wilde) we have a quiz that is guaranteed to tickle your memory gland. I do not think it is too hard this time. On the other hand, it might be for someone who is quite a bit younger than me. There are many arguments about what qualifies as the first recorded rock n' roll song. And, coming up with a definitive answer is about as easy as a definitive answer as to who was the best U.S. President in history. (12 comments)
sumas home inspector: Ah Pardon Me, But Regarding Your Dryer Duct - 05/29/09 06:46 PM
I see this issue at more than half of the home inspections that I conduct in Bellingham and Whatcom County. The photos below tend to go together as often as not. First, to the left, we have a dryer duct and draft hood that is full of lint. When we get inside the home, we see our old friend -- not -- the accordion pleated flex-duct. This stuff is not our friend at the best of times but, in this case, the dryer has been pushed up against that wall and any exit for the dryer exhaust is essentially choked off. (17 comments)
sumas home inspector: Twin-Pick (Music Trivia Quiz) -- The Supremes - 05/29/09 09:10 AM
Once again, we will take a look at the differences between the two most important music charts in the world -- the USA and the UK. We tend to think that what is popular in one English speaking country is always popular in another at the same time -- wrong! Our Twin-Pick quiz today revolves around one of the most successful female music groups in all of music history. The Supremes, when first signed to Motown by Berry Gordy, had trouble getting that first hit in the USA -- or anywhere else. But, once they had arrived on the top 40, they were (11 comments)
sumas home inspector: Twin Pick (Music Trivia Quiz) -- The Beachboys As An American Institution - 05/27/09 06:30 PM
A couple weeks back, I described that there is a big difference between the music charts in the USA and in Great Britain. We tend to think that what is popular in one English speaking country is, likewise, a monster hit in another English speaking land. Nope. That is not always the case. Previously we looked at the Beatles and Elvis. We are going to look at another American super group that is as all American as motherhood and apple pie. The Beachboys are favorites and national icons as a band. I remember when then President Ronald, and his wife Nancy, Reagan stood up (8 comments)
sumas home inspector: What Homeowners Don't Know Can Hurt Them - 05/22/09 09:12 PM
Most of us go through life knowing lots about our field, whatever that might be. But it is amazing, and sometimes scary, when one thinks about those things that people get by with that could lead to a catastrophe if certain factors came into play. A classic example of that would be the way many people do their own wiring -- creating any number of fire or safety hazards. But, for that to happen, one is talking about an assertive homeowner. How about the people who do something that requires zero effort but what they do leads to a fire hazard. I (13 comments)
sumas home inspector: Boys Will Be Boys - 05/20/09 05:28 PM
Everyone who follows the blog of Charles Buell, knows that he has a competition going with my certifried home inspector assistant, Nutsy Wallenda. I am not certain that this competitive relationship they have is that healthy. One of them is always trying to outdo the other. You know the game. Typical boys -- who will take the dare. At an inspection today, that dare just became even sillier. Anyone who does home inspection knows that one is not supposed to walk on the glass -- the glazing -- on a skylight. Well, today, Nutsy was walking on the glazing, in spite (15 comments)
sumas home inspector: If This House Is Shakin' Don't Bother Knockin' - 05/19/09 11:23 PM
We hear the most about earthquakes in California. But we feel the shakin' periodically here in Bellingham and in the Pacific Northwest. The reading I have been doing lately, I admit it, sounds kind of dry. It deals with earthquakes and seismic design according to the IRC -- the International Residential Code. I thought that the chapter on earthquakes was interesting. The goal is to "design buildings so they resist the load effects caused by ground motion from earthquakes and to limit the resulting damage". That has to be done differently in different areas. The IRC has created seismic maps specifically based on (11 comments)
sumas home inspector: Just Because It Is Obvious To You Does Not Mean It Will Be Obvious to the Client - 05/18/09 10:02 PM
If you work in the real estate field, including as a realtor or a home inspector, there are a number of issues that seem so simple to us, that we often take it for granted that the client knows or understands what we are talking about. For example, I once had a client ask where he could find his gas tank. I was puzzled and finally told him he was on natural gas -- piped in to his lot. I took him to the side and showed him the gas meter. He was totally amazed that such a system exists. He (12 comments)
sumas home inspector: Stories Behind the Music -- Those Mid-Sixties Hits - 05/15/09 08:55 AM
I like many different types of music and oldies of different eras. Anyone who listens to oldies radio will realize that most of the oldies stations play music from the 1960's or the 1970's. Since much of radio tries to target people ages 25 to 54, the years featured on the playlists change as the population grays. However, marketing information indicates that oldies listeners, and many rock critics, believe that some of the best music came out in the mid-sixties. And, of the 1960's, 1965 and 1966 were considered to be among the best years. The sixties might have had some of the best recordings but not (8 comments)
sumas home inspector: What is a Townhouse? - 05/13/09 08:23 PM
Townhouse is probably one of the more misused terms in real estate and the world of rental housing. At least in my area, Bellingham and Whatcom County, people often refer to duplexes and other multi-family dwellings as townhouses. Does the term townhouse sound better, less frumpy, than the term duplex? Maybe. Warning. The photo below is NOT a townhouse.
That is a duplex. How do I know that for sure, you may ask. People know about building codes, so let's talk codes. I have, lucky me, been studying the IRC lately. The IRC is the International Residential Code. Codes are great, and helpful, in that all the (12 comments)
sumas home inspector: The Value Of Trained Professional Staff - 05/13/09 04:01 PM
Two of my lesser known, but essential, home inspector assistants are Mr Tigretto Tartufo and Mr. Fratello Tartufo. These two gentlemen, of Italian linage, are excellent office assistants. Both of them have an interest in, eventually, graduating up to becoming certified rodent intervention specialists. But, since I believe that training is a gradual process, for the time being, this pair is learning the ropes in the office environment. Tigretto Tartufo (kind of translates to Little Tiger Mushroom or fungus) is a computer and marketing guru. His expertise at the computer is a joy to behold. And, when he is awake, his periodic batting, swatting and laying (10 comments)
sumas home inspector: Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House) -- Settling For A Gap - 05/12/09 06:24 PM
I was inspired to write this post, because I see this condition frequently while working in Bellingham and Whatcom County. When inspecting a home, certainly an older home, it is not unusual to find a gap between a porch and steps. This home, photo below, is more than 100 years old and, while I do not know what year the porch and steps were put in, a couple things have taken place. The porch has tilted back and the steps have sunk into the ground at the front. They moved away from one another. That has led to that gap between the two surfaces (5 comments)
sumas home inspector: So Close, Yet Not Quite Right - 05/02/09 08:32 AM
It seems that on newer construction, more and more, I am seeing roofers put a small piece of shingle in place over the exposed rafter tails and/or fascia. That is good because, a few years back they missed that a lot. I should clarify, around here at least -- Belllingham area -- they often get most of these simple flashings in place but they might miss one or two per new house. The more common problem though is that they do the job but do it in a sloppy manner. Look at the photo below. The shingle is in place but (15 comments)
sumas home inspector: Expect the Unexpected - 04/29/09 10:07 AM
In the field of home inspection, it is best to use both the "macro" and the "micro" approach. That means that you look at minute details (micro) but also the big picture (macro). This may sound illogical to non-inspectors, but it can be harder to get a good macro view than the micro view. The problem is that, sometimes, the big picture is expansive enough -- such a broad focus -- that defects are not that apparent, or they come at you from left field. Below is a good example This is a brand new house in a development. When I arrived, the realtor (13 comments)
sumas home inspector: Stories Behind The Music -- An Anthem for an Era - 04/26/09 09:44 AM
One of the songs that would go on to be a signature song of rock n' roll -- one released by many artists and some of those covers went on to be hits -- was first recorded by a secretary at Motown Records. Martha Reeves, and her friends who would become the Vandellas, did backup singing at Motown, along with Martha's clerical duties. The girls recorded with Marvin Gaye and, at that session, the owner of Motown, Berry Gordy, was impressed with Martha's voice. He decided to put out a single featuring her girl group. Martha first heard the song that would (5 comments)
sumas home inspector: Our Boys Of Summer: Seattle Baseball - 04/25/09 10:45 AM
Seattle is a big baseball town. Okay, it is a baseball city. It is too big to be a town. The Seattle Mariners are a team that baseball fans around the state look upon as "their" team. In 2002 they won a record 93 games. They were on fire. Then the fire got cooler and the embers faded for awhile. In recent years, the team has sputtered. Seattle fans have been disappointed with the performance of the team. Since Lou Pinella left, there have been a number of team managers but things just did not click. Then, we jump ahead to this (9 comments)
sumas home inspector: Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House) -- In-Service, Out-of-Service - 04/22/09 09:43 AM
Outdoor receptacles (outlets) that do not have "in-use" or "in-service" waterproof hooded covers are not meant to accommodate plugs and cords on a permanent basis. If a person thinks about it, the reason is obvious. Water, from rain or watering a garden, can get into the receptacle and water and electricity do not mix well. The photo below would be an example of the problem inspectors often see. So what are those cords? It is hard to tell but they usually go to some yard feature -- a pond, a fountain, a timer, maybe low-voltage yard lights.
I know this arrangement does not (7 comments)
sumas home inspector: Stories Behind the Music -- Music Across the Water - 04/14/09 10:55 AM
Over the years, there have been a number of performers who excelled on one side of the ocean but not on the other. The success of English speaking music is primarily gauged by popularity and sales in North America (the U.S. and Canada) and in Great Britain. For the most part, although the single releases and album tracks might vary in different countries, we English speaking people tend to like the same performers and bands -- the Beatles, the Stones, Elvis, the Beachboys. These artists were popular in their homelands and across the ocean. However, there have been a number of artists who (5 comments)
sumas home inspector: Stories Behind the Music -- Steve Winwood - 04/13/09 08:01 PM
This "story behind the music" tells of a member of a successful band, bands actually, who went on to have his most success as a solo artist. The Spencer Davis Group, where this man first gained fame, was formed in 1963. The rock band played clubs in the UK, much like the early gigs of the Beatles, the Stones, the Animals, the Yardbirds, etc. The Spencer Davis Group was named after their guitarist -- Spencer Davis. Despite that fact, the band has historically been more associated with the famous keyboardist and lead singer, Stevie Winwood. Here in North America, the band's top (7 comments)
sumas home inspector: Bellingham, WA -- Air Fares Dropping - 03/27/09 08:17 PM
I could not hardly believe a story I read in the newspaper this week. I hear all this conflicting information about air travel -- everything from it is really cheap right now to prices are rising. One of the leading airlines in the PNW is Alaska Airlines. They do not fly into Bellingham anymore, but one of their affiliated companies or partners, Horizon Airlines, does fly in and out of Bellingham's airport daily. Last time I took a Horizon flight a couple years back, honestly, I thought the price was ridiculously high. Maybe it still would be to where I was going -- (11 comments)
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.