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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI

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September 2018 Newsletter

Happy September!

Hurricane Florence is the most recent news and the disaster it has left behind reminds us all to prepare for disaster. In this month’s issue, we look at five areas that you can address to create an emergency preparedness plan for your family. We also cover some household maintenance chores to help you prepare for colder weather. Finally, after Sterling Home Services completes your home inspection, what comes next? We look at the next steps for buyers and sellers.
 

Disaster Planning - 5 Areas to Consider

 

It’s hurricane season. In Michigan, hurricanes are not a threat we need to worry about, but the recent hurricane Florence is a good reminder for us to make a disaster plan for our homes and families.
 

Have a Plan for the Family

It may not be a hurricane, but it could be a tornado, a fire, a power outage, a flood. Do all the members of your family know what to do when…X happens? Here are the things you need to cover with your family for emergency situations:
  • Fire escapes - how to get out of every room in the house in case of fire
  • Call list - an emergency list of numbers including fire, police, family, and doctors
  • Important papers - IDs and passports, insurance papers, bank records, wills, etc.
  • Meeting place - if you all get separated or if you need to evacuate quickly, establish a meeting place at the home such as the mailbox or the swing set, and a meeting place away from home - such as the nearest McDonalds or a relative’s home

Review your Homeowners Insurance

Know what your insurance policy covers in terms of disaster damage. Note the types of disaster your home is susceptible to and determine if you need to adjust your coverage. Understand what your deductible is and what provisions your insurance provides so you know how much cash on hand you will need in an emergency.
 

Document Your Valuables

Keep an inventory of your most valuable items and take steps to protect family heirlooms. Those scrapbooks of your kids, for instance, can never be replaced, so you might want to consider digitizing prized photos and albums. A quick way to inventory your belongings is to take photos in every room, including drawers, cupboards, and closets. Lastly, every home should have a fireproof safe for important papers and valuable personal items.
 

Have a Bug-Out Plan

If your house burns down or if your city is evacuated, do you have anywhere to go? In an emergency situation, you are panicked and emotional. If you have an established plan of action it can give you the courage and decisiveness needed to keep everyone safe. Plan ahead with family and friends for options of where you will go and how you will get there. If you have loved ones who need care or who are in a care facility know what the protocol is for getting them to safety as well.
(Titles added. Photo credit Michel Curi.)
 

Stockpile Supplies

Most disaster readiness experts recommend 3 days (72 hours) of supplies for each person in your family. In Michigan, we are at risk of tornadoes, snow storms, floods, fires and possibly other disasters. If you are snowed in for three days do you have enough food, water, and fuel to stay warm, fed and hydrated? What if you have to leave home? Are you prepared to grab what you need and leave? Here are some suggestions for supplies to have stockpiled:
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Canned and dried food
  • Batteries
  • Medications and first aid supplies
  • Meal bars
  • Multi-tool, knife, rope
  • Matches and a lighter
  • Zip ties and duct tape
  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Flashlight
  • Paper and pencil, playing cards
 
Having a plan and a few supplies will give you a much-needed advantage in an emergency. Take a little time and prepare your home and your family for a disaster.  You’ll be glad you did.
 

 

September Home Maintenance

Early fall is a great time to prepare your home for winter. This time of year it is easy and comfortable to work inside and outside to check your systems. It could be an exceptionally cold winter if so, you'll want to seal up your house tight and make sure your heating system is in excellent repair.
 

Inside:

  • Check for drafts: 
    • Close all your doors and windows and turn off the heating/cooling system then turn ON any exhaust fans like the range hood and bathroom fans. This creates an artificial draft in your house.
    • Light an incense stick and slowly pass it around the edges of your doors and window. 
    • Watch the smoke for indications of a draft around any edges and mark the spots with a little masking tape.
  • Next examine the weatherstripping around the windows where you found drafts and adjust, repair or replace any that is old, bent or damaged.
  • Seal around the doors where drafts were found.
  • Fall is the time to get a heater maintenance check.  Check the Sterling Home Services' list of preferred service providers. 
  • Clean your air ducts and replace your air filters in your heater, too. To stay healthy it's important to breath clean airs indoors!
  • Get your chimney swept - if you have a wood burning fireplace now is the time to have it cleaned.
  • Flush your water heater and check for rust or lime buildup.

Outside

Last winter came early and took many people by surprise. This year get ahead of the game and make the process easier by doing a little bit at a time. Here are a few suggestions for getting started on the outside.

  • Fertilize - time for that last treatment of fertilizer, it will ensure your grass comes up thick and green in the spring.
  • Clear the garden - except of course for those root vegetables and cabbage and such that continue producing through the cold wet fall weather. Other plants can be pulled out or trimmed down, remove weeds, clear away any fallen or rotting fruit or vegetable to prevent rogue growers in the spring!
  • Patio Putaway! - clean and store all your patio furniture. Remove any hanging lights or patio decorations and pack them safely away. 
  • Store Summer Tools - Pick up and put away any tools that have been left out. Put the summer tools in storage and bring the winter tools out.
  • Plant new bulbs! Do you forget every year, too?
  • Rake - It's tough to keep up with the leaves but especially make sure to remove leaves from sidewalks, driveways, and patios so the tannins in the leaves don't leave stains.

I got my inspection, now what?

After your home inspection, you'll get your inspection report. This report shows what the inspector found in the way of needed repairs, updates, and replacements. Whether you've gotten the inspection for your own home or because you are buying or selling it's very important to read and understand that report.
 

Buyers and Sellers

When the sale/purchase of a home is at stake the two parties will have to come to an agreement about who pays for which repairs. Many times the seller will cover structural repairs because these issues can seriously damage all purchase deals. Sellers will also usually cover repairs if it is a safety issue because they could be found liable for any resulting injuries. But the rest of the repairs old roof, peeling paint or siding, cracks and leaks are up for negotiation.
 

Homeowners

You're not finished, just because the inspection is done. Go over the report with your inspector. Be sure you understand what the results of the home inspection are. If you're going to be living in your house for the next 20 years you'll want to make sure everything is in good working order. You'll want to provide maintenance and make small repairs on aging or weakening systems before they become major repairs. Your inspector and the inspection report can tell you which items need attention. If you're going to be selling in the next five years, you've just given yourself plenty of time to get the home in excellent shape for sale. 

 

A home inspection is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to protect and care for your home. Sterling Home Services provides home inspection services for buyers, sellers, and homeowners. We'll help you understand your report and we can recommend skilled and experienced contractors to help you with repairs. 

September is the month of:

Classical Music
Fall Hats
International Square Dancing
Blueberry Popsicles
Pianos
Chickens
Baby Safety
Little League
Honey
Self Improvement
Better Breakfast
 
 
 
 
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