Author Archives: Home Appraiser

How to Choose The Right Pest Control Service

 Tips On Pest Control Services 

There are times when you will have to go for a professional pest control service to handle the infestation at your place. When such a time comes, regardless of how urgent the situation may seem, it’s always better to properly evaluate your options than to hastily select an unsatisfactory pest control service and regret later. Remember the adage, “Measure twice, and cut once”. With this in mind, here are some things you need to consider when choosing a pest control service provider.

Qualifications-One of the first things to check for is competency – you basically want to check if they’re qualified to do their job well enough. Do the technicians handling the pest control have proper, legitimate licences? Are they applicable to your problem? And are they current and updated? Licenses can be verified with the State Departments of Agriculture.
Also keep in mind that licenses aren’t really equal. Some may be obtained more easily than others. Ideally, the company should even have a certified entomologist or two among their employees.

Experience-Here, you should consider the number of years the company has been in the business. Not only that, you should also look at how much experience the company has in your local area, and additionally, how much experience the company has treating the same problems you’re currently facing.

Professionalism-One of the first things to do is to check the company website. Does it look professional? Do their employees and equipment look professional? Does it look like the employees know what they’re talking about?

References-Ask the company for any customer references, and verify the company’s credentials and trustworthiness with them. You should even ask family, friends, and even your neighbours for references. Ideally, there will be testimonials from satisfied clients on their website too. Make sure you check Better Business Bureau for any possible unresolved issues or complaints about the company.

Service-Before actually signing a contract with them, the company’s technicians and sales reps should be able to answer your queries satisfactorily. The technicians should be able to tell you what problem you’re facing, and provide you with a plan as to how they intend to go about the pest control. Any cost estimates should also be provided upfront and should be as detailed as possible to avoid any surprises. The company should be willing to discuss and consider alternate treatments as well. Most companies usually offer some sort of guarantee on their service, so watch out for that too.

Safety Concerns-The usage of chemicals to remove pests is pretty common, so the technicians should provide all the information on these chemicals in advance. Any side effects, any allergies, or any necessary information about them should be provided. The company should always offer protective equipment for you to wear if needed, and should have some sort of insurance to protect against any damage to property.

These are some of the things to consider when choosing pest control service providers. As a rule of thumb, always remember to go for quality over petty price savings. It’s best to get rid of the problem and pay more upfront, than to pay less, prolong the problem and even increase costs later on.

Home Warranty, Is It Worth It?

There are so many things to look over and make decisions on when buying a home.  Is the foundation structurally sound? Is the electrical wiring up to date and safe?  Who will your Homeowner Insurance be provided by? Do you need to purchase a Home Warranty as well?? What actually is a Home Warranty anyways?

Home Warranty should not be confused with Homeowners Insurance, the two are different and offer different types of protection to home buyers and their newly purchased homes.

Homeowners Insurance covers fires/fire damage, hail damage, property crime, some water damage, and other things that affect your homes structure and personal property. A Home warranty on the other hand is a service contract between the homeowner and Warranty company that provides discounted services on repairs  or replacement of appliances. Think air conditioning, furnaces, plumbing, electrical systems, washers, dryers, refrigerators. Additional coverage can also be purchased to ensure further more in depth protection on repairs and replacements. Homeowners Insurance is generally required by all loan/mortgage companies to ensure protection.  Home Warranties are the choice of the buyer and thus are not required.

So now the question is, do you really need to purchase a Home Warranty and is it really money well spent?  Warranties seem like they would be a great safety net for homeowners to help protect them against costly repairs and replacements of appliances.  In general it seems that these expensive repairs always seem to happen when you least expect it and when money is

tight! We broke down the pro and cons of investing in a Home Warranty to help you decide if the pros outweigh the cons for each individual.

Pro’s Of A Home Warranty

  • Great if you don’t have an emergency fund set up for unforeseen repairs
  • If you are unable to DIY on repairs
  • Don’t have the time/knowledge to find a good contractor
  • If you invested in expensive appliances
  • Provides a safety net if you do not have a ton of information on how well home was built or maintained
  • You used your savings to purchase the home and cash is tight
  • Great for sellers to offer to prospective buyers as a type of incentive for purchasing the home

Cons Of A Home Warranty

  • Will not cover issues caused by not properly maintaining items
  • Proper maintenance can be a grey area between warranty companies and homeowners
  • There are numerous exclusions that come with a Home Warranty
  • Limited dollar amount per repair as well as in a yearly period
  • Eliminates personal choice of contractor
  • Can be more of a headache with the Warranty company as the middleman

Our advice is that you weigh all your pro’s and con’s depending on your individual situation. Some homeowners may feel it is in their best interest to purchase a Home Warranty while others may not.  If you do choose to go with a Home Warranty we suggest as always exploring your options when it comes to choosing the best company to work with. Also explore different costs as some companies may have higher rates than others. If the seller of your newly purchased home offers a one year Home warranty it’s of no expensive to you in the first year and you can choose if it is something valuable enough for you to keep once the contract has ended.

Roll Up Garage Door’s

What is one of the first things you notice about a home? The outside exterior, paint color, the garage door? Garage doors are a huge feature when it comes to the exterior appearance of our homes. At the same time the type of garage door we have offers a convenient way to enter and exit our homes as well as store personal belongings, our automobiles etc. Most of us probably have the conventional type of garage door that is maintained by a garage door opening system. However, what about the commercial style roll up door? Believe it or not roll up garage doors are an awesome, easy on the eye and convenient alternative when it comes to installing a new garage door. They often outrank a typical slide up door in durability, maintenance and ease of use.
Recently my neighbor decided to replace is slide up garage door when the opener exhausted and he was in need of a new one. In doing so he also told me he wanted to upgrade the look of his home while he was at it. He decided to install a commercial style roll up door! He told me he had researched the difference in door styles and had spoke with garage door specialists at Parker Garage Doors & MoreParker Garage Doors had a remarkable selection and experts to install the new door. Bill, my neighbor, just had his new garage door installed last week and it looks incredible. The value on his home has gone up as well after having it appraised! My wife now after seeing the neighbors roll up door has enlisted me to start some home improvements. She also wants to look into getting a roll up door as well. She likes the fact it’s easier to maintain thus requiring less money for repairs.
After looking into these roll up style doors I have found that there are more options to chose from then I was expecting! For example there are two main types of roll up doors. The first is a Section Roll Up which basically consists of at least 4 panels. The panels roll and and fold into each other. The second type is a Rolling Steel Door. This is a single panelled door that rolls up all together. It is made from aluminum,fiberglass,or steel. Section panel doors can be made from the same materials also including wood! Fiberglass doors are said to be the most fragile, while wood needs to be refinished every year to maintain durability. Steel is the best material because of it’s weather durability and easy cleaning .
Then there are the colors, and there are many colors to choose from! All in all I have to say that commercial style roll up garage doors are a competitive choice to traditional style garage doors. I think that in the near future we will start to see more and more homes with the roll up doors!

How To Weatherize Your Windows

Winter is quickly approaching and many of us are already kicking on our heaters, or at least contemplating doing it. But the horrendous heating bills from last year are already haunting us and making us nervous as to what to expect this year. Although our heating bills are subject to the weather and what mother nature is going to throw at us, there are some things that are in our control. Insulating your home is one of those things. Insulation does a great job of keeping cool air out and keeping warm air in. If your house is old, chances are you could benefit from adding insulation to your home or at least closing off cracks and crevices. If your home does not currently have insulation in the walls then you would benefit greatly from insulating your walls. However if you do not need insulation in your walls or simply can’t afford to do something like that – try this.

Weatherize Your Windows!

Weatherizing your windows is the process of putting a film over the window frame to make sure hot air does not leave and cold air does not come in. Older homes often let a lot of cold air into the house simple because of outdated designs that are not as tightly sealed as modern energy saver windows. By covering the entire window frame with a film you are trapping any cold air that might come in through the window between the film and the window, keeping it from coming into the house.

These films are not entirely full proof and will stop all cold air from coming into your from your windows, but it will greatly mitigate how much cold air comes in. In the video provided below you will even see that some people will put bubble wrap in between the window and the film as another barrier of insulation. Although that’s a nifty trick, it renders your window useless for the entire winter. But if it’s a window that is never used, then you might want to opt to add that extra barrier of protection.

All products shown in the video can be found at your local hardware store (Home Depot/ Lowes) and the installation instruction are detailed step by step in the video.

Happy Weatherizing!

Make Sure Your Property Has Strong Bones

There is a lot of focus currently on the aesthetics of homes; kitchens, cabinets, bathrooms, and living rooms, but who is focusing on the foundation. The heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing? The stuff you know… that makes your house function, and allows you to stay warm, flush the toilet and turn on the lights. With all the focus on the look of a home, many forget about the functionality. There is this “HGTV mindset” that has people more concerned about whether the counter tops are granite than if the plumbing or electrical is in sound working order. These functional considerations are not as big of a concern for new builds because of modern building standards. However with homes that are 30+ years old, these are much more concerning.

Unfortunately contractors can cut corners during renovations and cause a lot of hazards and future headaches for homeowners. 

We have seen countless spotty jobs throughout our careers as contractors and have fixed more mistakes then we care to talk about. However it’s important that talk about a few of these to save homeowners a lot of potential headache. It’s important to consult with a plumber and an electrician even after you have already consulted with an inspector before you buy a home. Regardless if it’s a third party inspector with a great track record, there is still things that inspectors miss. A friend from Cure All Plumbing out of Tempe Arizona has seen quite a few interesting scenarios in his day. Especially servicing Tempe AZ where many of the homes they are called to have been built 50+ years ago. When serving these homes it’s typically that they will discover patchy plumbing jobs that consist of previous plumbers doing the bare minimum to stop a plumbing issue. Typically this results in the homeowner having to call a plumber only a few months, or a year later. Besides simple negligence on behalf of previous plumbers, the guys at Cure All often encounter plumbing issues, that are simply the result of age. Often times they will experience plumbing back ups or draining issues that are a result of large tree roots that have grown so big that they have grown into the pipes underground or seriously damaged them. This type of thing is common and requires an extensive amount of repair to fix. Sometimes there is also a back up in the public mainline that can cause plumbing issues for properties that feed to that mainline. Sometimes this requires more extensive city maintenance, but many times the issue can be resolved by replacing old pipes that feed directly to these mainlines. All in all plumbing is a vital component to a properly functioning home. A well plumbed home will save you a ton of headache in the future, and can save you a lot of money. Have a plumber that you trust evaluate your your property before purchasing.

Plumbing is not the only thing that contractors will slack on, or cut corners. Electricians are notorious for doing patchy work. The only difference between an electricians patchy work and a plumbers is that an electricians work can be dangerous. Although the placement of electrical outlets in the home, and the limited voltage that is wired to your home can be irritating. Since there can be too few outlets, or oddly placed outlets. As well as not enough power flowing through your home to accommodate modern day appliances, or an increase in power usage because of an addition to your home, such as a garage or shed, or because of a new family member. This can be easily fixed though, even if it might cost you financially. A greater concern for questionable electrician practices is when electricians or other contractors advise on hiding outlets. For example putting dry wall or plaster in front of outlets. This is not only a bad practice, but an extremely dangerous one. Live wires that are masked behind drywall or plaster are a big fire hazard. Unfortunately this practice of building on top of live wires is often unbeknownst to the property owners that occupy the property. Home owners tend to trust contractors that they will complete a job to the best of their abilities following strict guidelines, but that is not always the case. If your home, or potential home has live wires in the ceiling or in the walls that are hidden it is important that is repaired and brought up to code. Although it is an unwanted expense that adds no aesthetic value to your home, it is a necessary expense that needs to be addressed.

Every home owner wishes that there home required no future maintenance after it was built, but that’s obviously not the case. If you are purchasing a home that was built 30+ years ago it’s important that you evaluate the integrity of these core elements, like the plumbing and electricity before purchasing. Even though the granite counter tops sold you, it’s important to make sure the house functions as good as it looks.

Home Improvement – Oh So Many Ways to Improve!

The term home improvement is very broad to say the least. There as so many ways to improve your residential property.  Home improvement has to do with the process of altering, renovating, modernizing, converting replacing or adding to an existing building or structure. It can from 100% complete renovation to simply improving certain areas, such as a kitchen, bathroom, yard, or other external features of a home.

Often times what you plan to do with your property has a lot to do with time, budget, resources and the end goal or objective.

Once you identified a few key factors, exploring your options and what is available is highly recommended. Not doing so can end up costing you in the cost and quality of the improvements.

Here are a few questions to consider thinking about:

What would you like to achieve? Figuring out what are are trying to do, whether it’s a complete kitchen remodel or window replacements is crucial step the process. Your goals, both short term and long term, will be different depending on the overall objective of the project.. Planning to stay in your home for a long period of time versus planning to sell it will result in different ways to look at things.

What type of budget are you on? Remodeling, renovating or any variation of home improvements will either cost time or resources. Some people have more time than money and some people have more money than time. Is this a do it yourself project or a project that will require a professional contractor or help?

What type of permitting will you need? Many types of improvements will require permits to do the work. These permits keep things legal. Different state and even different cities within those states will have different permit laws. Check out your local area to make sure you know what’s going in the legal realm, otherwise it could end up costing you lots off money and a big headache.

Are you performing the improvements in increments? Some people like to start with small projects and work up to larger or other projects. Just make sure that any details that may impact a future project are thought of from the beginning….again a time and money saver.

These are just a few questions to consider as you embark on the home improvement road. Putting energy into your property is not only fun and rewarding but can offer a great financial return as well. If you lean towards the professional contractor route, your contractor should work with you to help identify some of these questions. They will help introduce you to the right ways to go about things, the right materials, products and other information.  If you go the road as a do it yourselfer, you will learn a lot in the process. It will be a rewarding and exciting experience! With the power of the internet, information and websites, including this one, are readily available to research.

Keep up with us to see what other news and info we have to share!

Five Questions to Ask Your Potential Remodeling Contractor


Homeowners hire contractors for different home improvement projects. Regardless of the type of home improvement project you hire a contractor for, there are certain expectations that you need to be met. You need a construction company that is both reliable and trustworthy. The professionals you hire should understand their credentials and the scope of work they will be performing. To avoid making a mistake when hiring a remodeling contractor, here are some important questions to ask them.

Do you have a contracting license?

Contractors get licensed after obtaining certain requirements that relate to certifications, experience, and training. This means that when you get a licensed contractor, you are certain of their qualification for the job. Ask for a copy of the license or license number and verify the validity of the license.

Can I see your insurance certificate?

Asking if the contractor is insured and seeing how the contractor is insured are two different things. Reliable contractors should have both the liability insurance and workman compensation for the job they do. Checking out the certificate yourself will give you the certainty that the contractor is insured in the field you want to hire them.

How will you communicate with me?

This is a very important question you shouldn’t ignore. The communication between the contractor and the client is essential for the success of the remodeling project. Will need to get in touch to raise concerns about the projected as the contractor also gives you updates on the progress of the project. Inquire if the contractor has a specific form of communication and the timeframe for your communication.

How much will this project cost?

Your contractor should give you the estimate for the project in writing. The estimate should be detailed enough to show the breakdown of the expenses involved. Don’t choose a contractor basing on the quoted estimate. The contractor with the lowest estimate may be using the cheap materials and doing a shoddy work as well. Compare estimates from three to five contractors before you can choose one which is not too high or too low.

Do you offer warranty for your services and materials?

Most professional contractors offer a warranty on their work. It is important to ask for clarity ahead of time to know what the warranty cover and the duration which it will be in effect. It is also preferable to have materials with the manufacturer’s warranty being used.