home inspection: Kitchen Upgrades - 08/11/09 09:53 AM
The kitchen used to be a welcoming place for eating and conversation, but today's kitchen has transformed into more than that. It is a room where cooking and baking meets studying, crafting, social gatherings and more.
Creating an inviting kitchen can make a big difference in a home's overall appeal, and with simple updates, the kitchen can also impact the buying decision.
If the existing cabinet finish is looking distressed, a paint job can turn it around. Make sure the appliances (dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, etc.) match. If the flooring is worn, look to replace it (if the budget allows). An easy … (0 comments)

home inspection: National Property Inspections Approved as Home Inspector Fundamental's Educator - 07/01/09 04:29 AM
The Home Inspector Licensing Advisory Board of the Washington State Department of Licensing approved National Property Inspections, Inc. as a provider of Home Inspector Fundamentals education. As an approved educator, National Property Inspections, Inc. can instruct the necessary courses for individuals seeking their home inspector licensure in the state of Washington.
The three-week pre-licensure training, which takes place in Omaha, Neb., instructs pre-licensed inspectors on topics in multiple aspects of the property inspection business, including technical issues and business and marketing practices.
Pre-licensed inspectors are also required to receive hands-on experience with in-field ride along training in which a pre-licensed inspector … (0 comments)

home inspection: Improving the Home's Environment - 06/11/09 09:19 AM
Your clients can make small adjustments to their lives in order to improve their health and to look and feel better. Likewise, small changes to the home can improve its living environment.
The colors used inside the home affect a person's emotional health. Bright, warm tones energize a room; soft, cool tones add calmness and balance. In bedrooms, clutter, televisions and other distractions can take away from the room's relaxing mood. Clean inside air promotes a healthy living environment. Air purifiers, which help control indoor allergies and other indoor air pollutants, are available to fit any room or area of a … (0 comments)

home inspection: Inexpensive Fixes for Home Sellers - 04/09/09 02:54 AM
In today's real estate market, sellers need to know how to prepare their homes in order to sell quickly. Although some homes require major renovations and upgrades, many require small modifications. A little preparation in a tight market can go a long way.
Here are some quick and inexpensive fixes home sellers can perform to make their homes more appealing to prospective buyers:
Clear driveway and front walk from obstructions and trip hazards, and cut back overgrown bushes and limbs
Make sure the deck and stair railings are secured correctly Clean gutters of debris Replace all burnt out light bulbs Make … (3 comments)

home inspection: Ask the Inspector: Bathroom - 02/03/09 02:11 AM
The bathroom is one of the most used and abused rooms in a typical home. Bathrooms have plumbing, electrical and mechanical devices, along with cabinets and floors that need to be inspected.
Inspecting the bathroom is a critical part of any general home inspection. The inspector will check the toilet, and the sink and the tub/shower. Although the condition and proper operation of these fixtures are key parts of a functioning bathroom, there are other important things to take note of.
Streaks down the paint where the water has run after condensing on the walls, peeling wallpaper or wet drywall may be signs … (0 comments)

home inspection: Ask the Inspector: Driveways & Walkways - 01/14/09 07:44 AM
The type and condition of your driveway and walkway are things you should make note of, especially because these high traffic areas could pose a safety risk.
Typical materials used for driveways and walkways include dirt, gravel, asphalt, concrete, patterned concrete and pavers such as cobblestone, brick and concrete. Water destroys driveways and walkways. If the land around the driveway doesn't shed water, the driveway will start to break up, especially in cold climates. If the driveway is surrounded by saturated soil, freezing temperatures will cause frost heave and make the driveway buckle. Long driveways going downhill are especially vulnerable to … (0 comments)

home inspection: How often should you clean your gutters? - 06/24/08 01:34 AM
Gutters should be kept free of plant material, dirt and debris at all times to allow water to travel freely to the downspouts and splash guards. How often you will have to remove debris to keep the channel open depends on nearby vegetation, including trees, and the time of year. Some gutters may only need attention once or twice a year while others require it more frequently.
The purpose of gutters, downspouts and splashguards is to direct water away from the exterior of the home, preventing damage to walls, foundations and landscape materials. All parts of this system should be maintained … (1 comments)

home inspection: Why GFCI - 02/22/08 06:19 AM
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, whether installed on outlets or circuit breakers, are designed to prevent shocks and electrocution. They sense "leaks" of electricity between the power and ground wires. Tiny leaks will cause the GFCI to trip and turn off power to the outlet. GFCI outlets are commonly installed in places where water and electricity might mix, including: bathrooms, kitchens, garages, near pools and spas and outdoors. GFCI circuit breakers are installed at the main electrical panel.
GFCI outlets have visible test and reset buttons. It is important to test these outlets monthly to make sure they are providing the proper protection. … (0 comments)

home inspection: Avoiding Electrical Fires in the Home - 02/08/08 07:06 AM
My 4-year-old has practiced fire safety. She has asked questions about the fire alarms in the house and what to do if there is a fire. It's a 100-year-old house. She's no dummy. I keep telling her when she is a little bigger, we will show her how to use the ladder that would go out of one of the big windows in her room. In the back of my mind, I admit I think there is a greater chance she will someday use the ladder to escape in the middle of the night with her friends. I also know, fire is no … (2 comments)

home inspection: Storm Testing - 11/30/07 02:10 AM
As a Nebraska resident, I'm fairly familiar with storm chasing -- at least the idea of it. Chasing massive storms to see what develops and record live the effects of such wind to improve safety measures later. It makes sense, although I wouldn't want to do it. For our industry, however, some scientists and researchers are developing ways to simulate conditions under a hurricane, tornado or cyclone. This will allow members of the building industries to test new safety measures before installing them in homes and hoping for the best.
The following are some of the more interesting projects I've found:
At Florida … (2 comments)

home inspection: Storm Testing - 11/30/07 02:10 AM
Tornadoes and hurricanes wreak havoc in various places across the U.S. every year. To help home builders and remodelers improve the ability of residential and commercial structures to withstand major wind and water events, scientists and engineers are conducting large-scale weather tests around the world.
At Florida International University, researchers have teamed with representatives from the insurance industry to construct the Wall of Wind, a 16-foot high structure containing 6 fans, each with its own high-powered motor. Currently, the Wall of Wind can produce winds of up to 130 miles per hour to batter test structures.
Students and professors at the University … (0 comments)

home inspection: Home Alert: Common HVAC Issues - 07/24/07 03:43 AM
When I purchased 100-year-old home two years back, my home inspector did a great job letting me know some of the challenges you can face when purchasing an older home without scaring me. It's a delicate balance to be realistic without being pessimistic. He did a great job. One of the items he pointed out was the HVAC system. Both units in my zoned forced-air system were at least 25 years old if not older. They were working, but for how long no one could tell. Well, by mid-summer, the attic unit failed and had to be replaced. The other unit is still going strong, but … (2 comments)

home inspection: Testing Water Temperature in Your Home - 07/20/07 08:24 AM
Protecting young children and others from burning themselves in hot water is important, and you may have more control than you think. Many water heaters have a manual temperature setting. Water temperatures over 120 degrees F can cause scalding. That's why a water temperature assessment is an important part of a general home inspection.
A water temperature assessment has two parts. The inspector uses a thermometer, usually held under the water in the shower, while operating at least one other water fixture, to determine any significant changes in water temperature. First, the temperature in the shower is adjusted to about 105 degrees F. Then … (0 comments)

home inspection: Using CFLs Correctly - 07/13/07 08:16 AM
In the United States, the cost of lighting an average home accounts for an estimated 20 percent of the electric bill. According to Energy Star statistics, if every American replaced one incandescent light bulb with an energy-star qualified compact fluorescent light bulb, it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes. Over the life of the bulb, around 7 years, it would save an estimated $30 in home energy costs.Advances in technology over the last several years mean these energy-saving bulbs have been modified to fit in most residential lighting fixtures. However, some places will work better than … (1 comments)

home inspection: Home Alert: Most Common Electrical Safety Hazards found during a Home Inspection - 06/27/07 03:53 AM
One of the main goals of a home inspection is to uncover safety issues. The home inspector is trained to assess the condition and function of hundreds of components inside and outside the home, including the electrical system. A common electrical system includes the service drop, service panel, fuses or breakers and a series of wires leading to every outlet in the home. The following is a list of 10 common electrical problems reported during an NPI/GPI inspection:
1. Ungrounded outlets - Grounding provides an emergency exit for electricity when it flows somewhere it shouldn't. Two-pronged outlets found in some older houses … (1 comments)

home inspection: Landscaping Done Right - 06/18/07 03:46 AM
I am new to landscaping. I recently moved in to a 100-year-old home. For at least 30 of the last 100 years, large vines grew up all over the home. They have been removed, or at least tamed, but their root systems remain. I have tried several different tools for slicing through the roots to allow my own plantings room to grow, but the battle rages on. As I try my hand at shaping the garden to look the way it does in my mind -- mostly pretty groupings of shade perennials with informal organization, I think the best thing I did was to wait a season before making any huge … (0 comments)

home inspection: 811 The Digger's Hotline - 05/30/07 04:10 AM
Much of the infrastructure in the United States is underfoot. Pipelines, conduits, wires and cables buried underground carry natural gas, petroleum products, and telecommunications, electricity, water, sewage and cable services to customers. Many times, disruption of these services is caused by an external force breaking or damaging the line.
That's why the FCC approved a national one-call 8-1-1 digger's hotline. Starting May 1, 2007 anyone across the U.S. can call one number, 8-1-1, to be connected with service providers in their area who will come out and mark locations of underground utilities for free.
According to a study done by the … (0 comments)

home inspection: Indoor Painting: Tips on Sheen - 05/01/07 08:55 AM
New paint is one of the first things to consider when looking to remake or update a room. Painting takes some elbow grease and lots of preparation time, but it isn't expensive and can change the look and feel of a room quickly.
When preparing to paint, sheen is one thing to take into consideration. Sheen describes how shiny the paint is after drying - its final finish. Sheen is also important when it comes to cleaning walls. Sheens vary by manufacture and by name. Low-sheen paints are generally referred to as flat, matt, eggshell, satin and velvet. These are common … (0 comments)

home inspection: Pre-listing Home Inspections: Improving Buyer Confidence - 03/30/07 05:40 AM
Found the house of your dreams and want to move quickly? Ready to accept that new job but need to sell your house first? Do you know you'll be competing with several houses for sale in the same area, in about the same price range?
When you consider selling your home, a professional, pre-listing inspection can be away to put yourself above the competition and smooth the path through negotiations and closings. A pre-listing inspection is a general whole house assessment of the current condition of hundreds of components of the home, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing components. This overall inspection is … (3 comments)

home inspection: Maintaining a Strong Exterior on Your Home - 03/23/07 08:20 AM
The exterior of a home or business is just as important as the interior systems when it comes to a well-functioning, well-sealed structure. The exterior helps keep water away, preventing wood rot, mold and mildew. It also keeps out unwanted pests and helps regulate temperatures inside the home. Because of this, a professional home inspector begins the home inspection long before they reaching the front door, assessing: grading, utility hookups, walkways, decks, driveways, windows and doors roofing and exterior cladding.
No matter how secure the structure, preventing water intrusion begins with the grading of the lot, or the way the ground is … (0 comments)


M. Murphy

Omaha, NE

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National Property Inspections

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A discussion of the home inspection and commercial building inspection industry. Home maintenance tips for consumers.




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