Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Things someone who has owned their house for a long time needs to know about home inspection

Home inspection is a very personal activity to the home owner, not unlike the first prostate exam if you are a guy in your 40's.  Subjecting your house and all your stuff  to an impartial detailed examination by someone who won't even tell you what's he's writing down can be intimidating, frustrating and annoying. Here are a few things to remember  to make things easier for you:

1) The inspection is not judging your lifestyle or hygiene;  unless your house is a grow-op, or a meth lab.

2) Your taxidermy elephant is not interesting.

3) Don't follow the inspector around so you can rebut what they say about your house, they will  tell your realtor to drag you away.

4) If you did not pay for the report, don't expect to see a copy of it. Inspectors give this information only to the person paying for their service.

5) The buyer is going to use the inspection as a negotiating tool, inspectors don't usually offer cost estimates and most buyers will estimate the cost of repairs at 3-5 times more than they really are.

6) Hiring an inspector before you  sell  your house is a good idea;  we get more work and you get an impartial opinion about what an inspector is going to find when they look at your house,  you can then either fix the stuff  or set a realistic price.

7) Inspectors don't care about décor: décor is  the wooden elephant collection of construction, your love of red paint is not a concern.

8) Unless you are prepared to warranty your basement until the end of time, don't say it can't possibly leak.

9) Inspectors have seen some weird shite;  houses that defy gravity or the laws of physics, we know the truth from fiction and for most things there is only one right way.

10) Spray leak sealers do not work.

11) It's not about you, it's about selling your house. Do everything you can to make someone want to buy it.

12 When your realtor tells you to hide all your wooden elephants to stage the home, don't pile them up in the utility room, please.

13) Inspectors will probably dribble a little insulation on the floor under the attic hatch, this is not a reason to demand the whole house get new carpets.

14) The inspector is the messenger.

Some stuff you can do that doesn't cost much and makes a positive impression:

1) Have a supply of clean furnace filters by the furnace.

2) Make sure there is a drip tube on the hot water tank.

3) Fix the humidifier.

4) Fix the dryer vent.

5) Check the attic hatch, make sure it can be removed without spilling insulation all over everywhere, put down a matt if it can't.

6) Label your circuit breakers, block any open slots in the panel.

7) Make sure your exterior plugs are in good working order, ground fault protected and have weather proof covers.

8) Don't repaint the basement floor or the concrete walls. You can't hide water leaks with paint or spray sealer.  Fresh paint is a give away.

9) Test all your shut off valves and have them fixed, while the plumber is at it, install flexible stainless steel supply tubes at every device.

10) If the roof needs to be replaced, either replace it or know how much it will actually cost to have it done. Don't reshingle just the worn part.

11) Clean under all the sinks, repair the drain leaks.

12) If someone died in your house, ask your realtor or lawyer if you need to disclose this;  as long as the body isn't still there, the house inspector is not concerned.

13) Kilz makes a great stain coverup paint  that will match, sort of, the colour of your ceiling, inspectors however, look for this as an indication of a leak and will want to get insulation on the floor and double check the attic.

14) The main concern with the garage will be that you have a safety sensor on the door opener, if you don't, upgrade the opener because yours is over 20 years old and should have been upgraded anyway.

15) Have good leaders on your downspouts, if you don't know what a leader is, ask. If you ran over it with the lawn mower, replace it.

16) A "pet friendly" home inspector has milk bones in his pocket, if your dog is vegan or has an allergy to milk bones, don't leave it in the house during the inspection.

17) If you smoke dope in your house, deduct $10,000.00 from the price, incense stinks.

18) Hide your guns.

Home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the physical property with the specific intent of establishing the overall condition of the subject.  A good inspector will find the flaws so the buyer knows what they are getting into. A professional inspector will never say "don't buy this house, or this house is way over priced" that is not our job.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Has Atlas Shrugged?

Google "Atlas Shrugged"and you will find an extremely interesting book about  what happens when all the smart people leave and let the dumb ones run things.

It reminds me a lot of Venezuela. Looting, shortages of toilet paper and gasoline, rampant printing of worthless ideology leaflets, distracting people with things like climate change and carbon taxes. Golf balls wacked at effigies, oh wait, that's not just Venezuela, it's Wild Rose country. 

I'm not suggesting that our current government has not done some good things, building schools makes sense, matching donations in Fort Mac makes sense, but leaving a bunch of Mars water bombers stranded  in Yellowknife during "The Beast"  because the fire started before the contract commencement date of June 1st  does not. 
Pretending that some solar panels are going to make your constituency office green, or spending a million dollars to break a contract with a private  lab company to keep a bunch of  civil service union hacks happy does not. Introducing a carbon tax, that should have  been called a tax on all carbon based things, does not.  Hiring your husband as your press secretary does not. Interfering in a community process as the cabinet minister responsible does not.

The only logical conclusion: Atlas Shrugged. 

The conservative people in Alberta, be they social, fiscal, reformers or libertarians need to get their shite together and fix this experiment in social engineering, especially before the NDP start to reform the education curriculum and get my grandsons more worried about carbon footprints and tofu consumption than long division and spelling.

I can appreciate how spending your entire political career in opposition might make being in government a heady exercise.  Since the coffers were drained by the last government, the new government, in the absence of huge amounts of cash to blow,  has no choice but to create new taxes and start to reform the most basic of public institutions, to make them over in their image.

Conservatives are full of piss and vinegar about all this and are guaranteed to get this socialist regime reelected if they don't ditch their two party  vote split. The PC's and the Wild Rose are making a Preston Manning size mistake here. Preston being Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's arguable best friend.

Federally we learned the lesson and merged the right, provincially we are caught up in a vortex of grumpy old party insiders  with massive egos.  The bicycle riding union leaders, especially the one who pled guilty to a DUI, must be salivating and the opportunity they have to unionize everything and make sure that everything is reduced to it's lowest common denominator. I see no one to stop this, because anyone running for either the PC's or WRP who talks about it won't get elected leader.

The grumpy old party insiders, did it to Ralph Klein, Ed Stelmach, Allison Redford, Danielle Smith and are soon to do it to Brian Jean and Rick McIvor.  The NDP on the other hand, have a charismatic woman the loyalists loves leading the party, she is competent and more balanced than we suspected.  Still a socialist and with a socialist bent to all things: more taxes, more government.

A footnote to this is the recent forced departure of Stephen Lougheed (son of Peter, yes) as the CEO of Alberta Innovates, Technology Futures. The agency, the commercialization arm for new tech development in Alberta, did phenomenal work. The NDP solution to this was punt the leader. This can only be explained that successful commercialized technology  posed a threat to the socialists model of success: The success of past governments has to be made to look like a failure.

The old buys in golf pants need to get their egos out of their butts and admit at the NDP are a terrible government but there is nobody  better than the government we have today.

Unite the right or die, and stop doing stupid crap like the making Rachel Notley a golf target.  Really, that was just stupid.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Things the virtgin home owner needs to know:

Some may be aware that my next big adventure is the formation of my home inspection company BestHomes Inspection Ltd. so from now on, instead of talking about such interesting stuff as politics, I am going to talk about funny homeownership things like:

Tips for the virgin homeowner:

1) Buy a toilet plunger before you need it.
2) Befriend a plumber in case point one isn't enough.
3) You will turn off the water when you brush your teeth, right after you get your first water bill.
4) That matt Grandma had in front of her toilet was there for a reason, you will soon realize what that reason is.
5) There is a direct correlation between temperature and the gas bill.
6) You will learn that "municipal franchise fees" as yet another tax on the gas bill.
7) Trash day will be special six days after you miss it.
8) Composting is easier said than done.
9) It will annoy you when the neighbor parks in front of your house.
10) Your lawn will never look as good as the lawn of the retired old guy two door down.
11) If stuff was on pallets in the basement when  you bought the place, your stuff should be too.
12) It's all your problem now.
13) Ikea furniture will do.
14) You are officially house poor.
15) The neighbor has new stuff because they have more debt.
16) Store it don't pour it, really.
17) Renovations take twice as long and cost twice as much as you planned.
18) You will really appreciate your dad and his ability to fix things.
19) You will finally realize how much stuff your dad knows how to fix.
20) An evening out will be a trip to Home Depot.
21) It will take you four hours to install your first new light fixture.
22) You will learn that just because the light switch is off to the light it does not mean the power is too.
23) Words like, Mitre, Crown Moulding and thermocouple will be become pillow talk.
24 Learn what a thermocouple is and how to change it.
25) Ask Dad how to show you how to change a thermocouple.
26) Google thermocouple now, while it's warm.
27) If the door sticks, lift up on the knob.
28) If you experience a thing called "truss lift" in cold weather, it's normal and can be fixed with a crown moulding nailed to the wall.
29) In order for heat to get into a room, cold air has to be able to get out, leave the interior doors open.
30)  To open a privacy lock, stick a #2 knitting needle in the little hole in the middle.
31) If you don't knit, home ownership is a good reason to start.
32) Knit socks, you will need them with the new NDP carbon tax.
33) If you voted NDP in the last provincial election, use natural fibres for the socks you knit, your feet might be itchy but you will be saving the planet.
34) Things like solar power and wind turbines are not economical, unless you have a lot of money to spend or friends in the NDP who are subsidizing it for you.
35) Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.

Good luck new home owners, don't scrimp out on the $500.00 the house inspector charges.