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The Inspection-Ready Home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

As many of you are heading straight into your busiest time of year, it makes sense to revisit the importance of being prepared for the home inspection. By taking some important steps to prepare the property for inspection, your sellers can avoid some basic problems that might otherwise affect a clean inspection report.

  • Routine exterior maintenance is an easy way for homeowners to keep up with minor problems before they escalate. Even if the home has been well maintained overall, there are some common problems that should be addressed.
    • Prior to the inspection, repair any damaged masonry on steps and walkways, and seal cracks in the driveway. Not only will the home look better, but future problems can be prevented.
    • Recaulk around exterior doors, windows, check flashing, and replace any missing or damaged shingles.
  • Inside the home, relatively minor fixes can improve the home inspection results.
    • Repair leaky faucets and fixtures, and repair grout around tubs and sinks. An electrician should inspect receptacles and switches and make any needed replacements or repairs.
    • Replace any cracked or broken window glass, and loosen any windows that are painted shut.
      If there is a fireplace, have it and the chimney cleaned and checked by a professional.
    •  If the home inspector can’t see into the chimney because of soot buildup, they won’t be able to inspect it and may need to return after it has been cleaned.
  • Homeowners should arrange service appointments for the furnace and central air conditioning so that any issues can be addressed before the home inspection.
    • If the home has battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, put in fresh batteries and install additional units if any are missing.

When the day of the home inspection arrives, a few easy steps will facilitate the inspection process.

  • First, the buyers should allow sufficient time for the inspection. A professional home inspection will take two and a half to three hours on average, longer if the home is very large. Most sellers choose not to be present for the inspection, though the potential buyer will usually want to be there. The homeowner will need to provide keys to any locked areas, and allow access to the attic, crawl space, garage, and yard.
  • Be sure that the home inspector has access to components such as electrical panels, the main water shutoff, and gas meter. Move objects from around the water heater, furnace, and central air conditioning unit so that the inspector can reach them unimpeded. In winter, clear walkways of snow and ice for safe access to the home.
  • Make arrangements for pets to be out of the home or contained in a crate for their own safety and that of the home inspector. Dogs in particular can be disruptive, and some may even be distressed by having an unfamiliar person in their “territory”.
  • It is always a good idea to store small valuables and medications out of sight and in a secure location for peace of mind. One option is for the homeowner to simply take them along when they leave during the inspection.

Taking these steps can go a long way in preventing or addressing problems that could negatively affect the inspection. An inspection-ready home presents itself best for evaluation and makes the entire process go more smoothly.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

The 5 Best Places in Your Home to Renovate or Improve

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

With the prime spring selling season heating up, here are 5 surefire ways to get the best bang for your buck and get top dollar for your listing:

1) FLOORING 

  • Remove outdated carpets
  • Replace with either laminate or hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles
  • It’s easier to clean and helps with people who have allergies
  • Also, buyers are specifically looking for updated flooring when they evaluate a potential home

2) FIXTURES & HARDWARE 

  • These include door knobs and handles on all doors, entrances/exits, cabinet hardware, bathroom and lighting fixtures, etc…
  • They are easy to replace and fairly inexpensive
  • You get a great return on investment for not a lot of money
  • If fixtures and hardware are not replaced, it can really date a property and make it appear as if it has not been maintained
  • Remember, everyone has to either touch a door or walk through it! It’s simple and cheap to fix the hardware

3) BATHROOMS 

  • If your client does opt to do a bathroom upgrade, it’s often worth the money, as it’s considered the 2nd most important room in the house 
  • Upgrades can include: new tile and grout, new faucet and hardware, new coat of paint, upgrading or replacing cabinets.

4) KITCHEN 

  • This is the most valuable room in the house, but your clients don’t need to spend a fortune in order to make it look spectacular
  • Simple add-ons such as a deluxe faucet, cabinet door hardware, upgraded or new appliances, new lighting, or adding a backsplash can help jazz up its appearance and functionality
  • They can also rebuild standard cabinetry at half the price (as opposed to custom cabinets or using expensive materials).

5) ADD AN INCOME-SUITE

  • Depending on the city or municipality, if the neighborhood allows for Income Suites, your clients could potentially add 150-160% of equity into their home by putting in an extra suite 
  • This allows the owner to also potentially receive additional income through a tenant 
  • Depending on the specific market or city, demand for double unit homes can rise by more than 25% 


Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at 
info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

Radon: What You Need to Know

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

WHAT IS RADON?

Radon gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater.

WHY IS RADON IMPORTANT?

It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. In the United States, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon related and in Canada that number stands at approximately 3,000.

WHAT IS THE RISK OF RADON FOUND IN THE HOME?

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States and Canada is estimated to have an elevated radon level.

HOW DOES RADON GET INTO THE HOME?

When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it gets diluted to low concentrations and is not a concern. Within homes, it typically moves up through the flooring system and other openings between the ground and living spaces. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem – this means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. Even if you live in an area with fairly low environmental radon, you could still have significant levels in your home.


WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Radon testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. Pillar To Post conducts a short term test using a continuous monitor to provide a snapshot of the home to see if it has elevated levels of Radon. Testing takes approximately 2-3 days and results are provided are interpreted and the report is sent directly to the client.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

Oldies but goodies: living with an older home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:

  • Energy inefficiency is probably the number one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still there, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles and at different price points, so finding one that suits the look of an older home is easier than ever.
  • Like single-pane windows, poor insulation will also waste energy and money. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
  • If the home has older water pipes, they should be checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are still in use today even though new construction does not allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
  • Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations. Even if no danger is present, we use much more electricity in our homes today and the capacity of older systems may be inadequate. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to a home’s electrical system. 

With careful maintenance and a nod to history, older homes can be comfortable, stylish, and even energy efficient in the right hands.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

Holiday and Winter Fire Safety

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Residential fires take their toll every day, every year, in lost lives and destroyed property. The fact is that many conditions that cause house fires can be avoided or prevented by homeowners. Taking the time for some simple precautions, preventive inspections, and concrete planning can help prevent fire in the home – and can save lives should disaster strike. Here are some important recommendations for homeowners:

  • All electrical devices including lamps, appliances, and electronics should be checked for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. Never run electrical wires under carpet or rugs as this creates a fire hazard. 
  • Wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year to prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. Cracks in masonry chimneys should be repaired, and spark arresters inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of debris.
  • If using space heaters, keep them away from beds and bedding, curtains, papers – anything flammable. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Space heaters should not be left unattended or where a child or pet could knock them over. 
  • Use smoke detectors with fresh batteries unless they are hard-wired to your home’s electrical system. There are also some newer models with ten-year batteries. Smoke detectors should be installed high on walls or on ceilings on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. Statistics show that nearly 60% of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Most municipalities now require the use of working smoke detectors in both single and multi-family residences. 
  • Children should not have access to or be allowed to play with matches, lighters, or candles. Flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene or propane should be stored outside of and away from the house.
  • Kitchen fires know no season. Grease spills, items left unattended on the stove or in the oven, and food left in toasters or toaster ovens can catch fire quickly. Don’t wear loose fitting clothing, especially with long sleeves, around the stove. Handles of pots and pans should be turned away from the front of the stove to prevent accidental contact. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • Have an escape plan. This is one of the most important measures you can take to prevent death in a fire. Your local fire department can provide detailed recommendations on escape planning and preparedness. Another excellent resource is www.ready.gov. In addition, all family members should know how to dial 911 in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Needles should not easily break off a freshly-cut tree. Brown needles or lots of fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree, which should be discarded immediately. Always use nonflammable decorations in the home, and never use lights on a dried-out tree. 
  • Candles should be placed in stable holders and placed away from curtains, drafts, pets, and children. Never leave candles unattended, even for a short time.
  • Holiday lights should be checked for fraying or broken wires and plugs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when joining two or more strands together, as a fire hazard could result from electrical overload. Enjoy your indoor holiday lighting only while someone is home, and turn the lights off before going to bed at night.

 Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

Safe at Home: Smoke Alarms

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury or death in house fires. The National Fire Protection Association states that nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities happen in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. Most building codes now require smoke detectors in all residential structures, which has resulted in a steep drop in fire- and smoke-related deaths. Homeowners should check with their local public safety office or fire department for specific information on these requirements.

  • As in real estate, location is important! Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Alarms should be placed high on a wall or on the ceiling. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top; in these instances smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • For areas close to the kitchen, use a detector with a “hush button” that can be used to silence nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke or steam. Alternatively, consider installing a photoelectric alarm, which is better at detecting smoldering fires (vs. flames) near the kitchen. Never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • There are two primary types of smoke alarm technology: ionization and photoelectric. According to the National Fire Protection Association, ionization alarms are more responsive to flames, while photoelectric alarms are more sensitive to smoldering fires. For the most comprehensive protection, both types or a combination unit should be installed.
  • Alarms should be tested monthly. It’s helpful to put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. The units have a test button that will sound the alarm for a brief time when pressed. Any alarm that fails to sound should have the battery replaced. If the test button fails with a new battery, replace the entire detector immediately. Monthly testing is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall and spring. Some alarms come with 10-year batteries; for these, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for battery replacement. Remember, a non-working alarm is no better than no alarm at all.
  • If the alarms are hard-wired to the home’s electrical system, make sure they are interconnected for maximum effectiveness – meaning that if one alarm is triggered, all of the others will sound as well. Any hard-wired alarms, interconnected or not, should be installed by a licensed electrician for safety and proper operation.

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy or sell a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com

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Source: 31st Edition of CRS Consumer Article (August 19th, 2013) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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