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First time home buyer? Join me!Posted by admin on February 15th, 2014

Choose one that best describes you:

A. I’ve never purchased a home before.

B. It’s been a while since my last purchase and I think I’m about ready to purchase my next home…  think things have changed, haven’t they?

C. Buying a home is something I plan on doing in the future. What can I start to think about and plan for now?

D. I’m bored. I like free food and drinks. I want to meet that one home inspector lady….

If you chose one or more of the answers above, you are in luck.

I’ve been graciously invited to participate in a first time home buyer’s event on Thursday, February 20th at John L. Scott Woodstock. Join us to find out the role of the realtor, what you (as a buyer) can do; hear from a lender, a title company and a home inspector (that’s me!); get your home-buying questions answered. These presenters know the process and business inside and out and they are on your side.

We will have plenty of information and handouts (and I’ll be passing out coupons for your next home inspection). Snacks and beverages will be provided. Best of all: this is a free event!

Deets:

RSVP if you’re so inclined (not necessary): nicole@dev.home-gnome.com

 

 

Testimonial from Amanda and NatePosted by admin on June 16th, 2013

I got the best testimonial today:

My wife and I have had two different home inspections performed by Home Gnome.  We ended up not purchasing the house from our first inspection due to some things found that weren’t obvious to us.  We were very satisfied with the thoroughness of the inspector’s work and we contracted her to inspect a different property that we ended up purchasing.

The inspection reports are very thorough and easy to read.  Everything is summarized at the beginning of the report for quick reference and described in further detail in the subsections.  Photos are included so you can visualize the issues discovered.  The detailed reports and photos are helpful if you need to describe something to a third party.  Home Gnome’s attention to detail and perfectionism is invaluable. With her background in architecture, Home Gnome has the expertise and eye to see things possibly missed by someone without that experience.

The customer service was fabulous.  If there was something we didn’t understand and needed some clarification, we were able to reach out and get a prompt response.

I would recommend Home Gnome to anyone considering purchasing a house and looking to get a home inspection.  If you would like any further information about my experience please contact me at olson_nate@hotmail.com

Roof Maintenance TipsPosted by admin on June 9th, 2013

Wondering what to do to keep your roof in tip top shape? Read this Seattle Times article to learn some roof maintenance tips.

With all the moisture we have in the Pacific Northwest, your roof is one of the most important components to maintain!

Did You Know….? (Now you do!)Posted by admin on May 30th, 2013

I’ve been asked several times now where I get the info for the “Did you Know?” info that I include with each inspection report (not to be confused with the “Did you Know” section at right on my website).

If I haven’t done an inspection report for you yet, I’ll explain what this feature is: along with every inspection report, I include links and/or info about the neighborhood, house style or some fascinating detail about the home which I inspected. Sometimes this is a series of fun facts about the neighborhood, an explanation about those metal rings that are stuck to your curb, why your home has a parlor or where your street got its name… whatever detail it is, it piqued my curiosity and at some point and I researched it. The result is some (usually) obscure trivia about your home and/or the area. I am wildly passionate about the history of houses and details like these and I would find it a crime to not pass this info on to you since you will probably be living there!

I’ve got all kinds of sources for the info I use, but one of my new favorites is Tanya Lyn March’s blog, History Treasured and Sometimes Endangered. If you like to nerd out on the history of Portland and its architecture, I highly suggest following her blog and taking one of her walking tours.

Spring Cleaning & MaintenancePosted by admin on April 12th, 2013

It’s that time again! I imagine you’ll be doing some spring cleaning and yard work when the weather gets nice again. It’s a good idea to also do some basic maintenance around your house to save money, energy and possibly headaches later. If you maintain the systems in your home, you will have less of a chance of an expensive catastrophe and your appliances and house components will last longer, saving you money in the long run. Here are my recommendations for spring house maintenance:

Clean or replace your HVAC filters. This needs to be done regularly- I recommend doing it monthly when in use. A clean filter saves on energy costs and extends the life of your system. A dirty filter forces your system to work harder (reducing the life) to force air through all the built-up dirty particles and can re-distribute pollens and dirt throughout your home. Do you have allergies? This is a MUST!

Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Dirty coils (on the back of your fridge) cause your fridge to work harder to extract heat from the interior of the fridge which means more money out of your pocket! Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush to clean the coils.

Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. This is probably the easiest but most often skipped home maintenance task. Having these in working order is important for safety of you and your family so don’t skip it! for added safety, get a carbon monoxide detector for each level of your home and each bedroom as well- safety first!

Clean your dryer vent. This also saves energy and money- when your vents are dirty, the exhaust air from your dryer doesn’t have a clear path to the exterior, so it has to work harder which causes inefficiency as you may have to run your dryer for longer periods of time. This means higher energy bills. Built-up lint is also a fire hazard. Be sure to also clean your lint trap inside the dryer before EVERY cycle!

Clean and inspect the gutters. I know I recommended this in the fall too, but dust, pollen, leaves and branches fall year-round and spring is the second most important time to clean them. Evaluate the overall condition of the gutters- be sure there are no leaks and that the drainage is away from the foundation. Use a gutter scoop to clear gutters and be sure the connections to downspouts is also clear. A friend of mine said he found a tennis ball in his gutter- no wonder it wasn’t draining properly!

Clear space around your AC compressor. Prepare for the warmer weather by clearing anything that can block airflow- this increases efficiency and extends the life of your unit.

Prepare your lawn mower. Sharpen the cutting blade and change the engine oil. Your mower will run like a champ and your lawn will look better too.

Happy spring!

Why I Used to Specialize in Houses Built Before 1947Posted by admin on April 5th, 2013

So many people have asked me why I have such a passion for homes built before 1947. Why 1947? What significance does that year have? In the architecture and urban planning realm, this year is pivotal. World War II ended in 1945 and veterans returning to the US were finding themselves in need of affordable housing. Because of this, President Truman approved a program called the Veterans’ Emergency Housing Act on On May 22, 1946.

Essentially, the Veterans’ Emergency Housing Program (VEHP) was to create lots of houses (one million were planned to be started in the first year) to be built very quickly and consequently sold for less money due to the volume. This essentially created a factory of mass-produced homes that ended up looking mostly the same, lacking the quality construction and detail that homes built before this time had such as Victorian, Tudor and Craftsman. This also made construction materials more affordable and created jobs. Building materials were decontrolled and channeled into these low- to mid-price houses.

The land that was used for these new houses was generally on the outskirts of established towns and city cores- the land was cheaper the further from the city center it was. This created a reliance on the automobile which was just getting popular and becoming considerably more affordable during this time. No longer did people need buses or public transportation- they now had cars and along with it- complete freedom. These developments are called the suburbs.

Now, any architect or urban planner will tell you that the suburbs are not the place where innovation happens or where communities thrive. Density and high walk scores are better for successful cities and communities. Suburbs create and nurture sprawl and sprawl is a waste of resources. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you the theorizing. If you are interested in the exact source of my specialization/interest and some really good info about suburbs and how they came about, I highly recommend the film “The End of Suburbia”- it’s available at your local library for free.

Radon in Portland HomesPosted by admin on January 24th, 2013

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You may have heard about radon recently- I’ve read about it on oregonlive and heard about it on the radio. Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that is known to cause lung cancer. New construction in Portland requires radon venting from the soil to the exterior of the home, but older existing homes don’t usually have this venting. Where is your home located? Are you at risk? If one in four homes in the Portland area are at risk for radon- don’t you want to know if you are one of them? It may be time to get your home tested- it’s well worth the cost!

Cascade Radon has some great links as well as info about a $10 test kit and a free radon forum on Thursday, January 24th (tonight!) at Portland Water Bureau’s Water House (1616 NE 140th Ave.).

Do you like the new website?Posted by admin on October 26th, 2012

I love the new website!

Words cannot express how grateful I am for such patient support and development from my friends at Media Aktive. They did a brilliant job on programming/development of the new site and they have provided amazing support for those of us who are sometimes technologically challenged. Media Aktive does way more than my website showcases-  Search Engine Optimization, advertising, mobile sites, eCommerce, social media- they do it all!

If you’re looking for a new website or a boost to your business, I highly recommend Media Aktive! Thanks guys!

Autumn Maintenance – get ready for the rain and cooler temperatures!Posted by admin on October 26th, 2012

It’s the time of year when we are forced to say goodbye to warm, dry weather and hello to cooler, wet weather. This means that you should make sure your home is weatherized and ready to go when you have to turn the heat on. Weatherizing your home can save you hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs and will make your living space much more comfortable. Follow these tips to prepare your home for fall!

Change your furnace air filter if you didn’t change it at the end of the summer. A dirty filter can make air flow difficult, which is hard on your furnace- it can reduce the life and cost you money before it was ready to be replaced. It’s also good to get the old particles from last season out of your house, especially if you have allergies.

Clean and inspect the gutters. Get rid of leaves & debris before the rains come along and clog up the system. Evaluate the overall condition of the gutters- be sure there are no leaks and that the drainage is away from the foundation.

Call the chimney sweep. Have a professional inspect and clean the chimney before you start a fire.

Verify that vents are open and unobstructed. It is a dangerous mistake to close off the vents in the crawlspace and attic. You are not keeping heat in but instead actively supporting mold growth. As humidity increases during fall and winter, ineffective ventilation prevents moisture from escaping and mold growth is usually the result. Though vents should be screened to keep out rodents, air should flow freely above the insulation in attics and below the insulation in crawlspaces.

Weatherstrip your windows. If you have old, original windows they can be quite drafty. Weatherstripping can save you considerable money in heating costs.

Disconnect garden hoses. Store hoses in the garage or a shed for the winter.

Cooling Equipment MaintenancePosted by admin on July 12th, 2012

Simple tips to keep you cool.

Now that it’s actually summer (finally), be sure you’re maintaining your hard-working cooling equipment. Unmaintained or poorly maintained units can shorten the life of your equipment, cause the air output to be warmer than desired and can also waste a lot of energy. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the earth!

– Clean or replace filters every month. Dirty filters impede airflow.
– Keep the condensing unit free of debris.
– Trim vegetation near condensing unit to ensure proper air flow and circulation.
– Straighten bent condensing unit fins with a fin comb so air can move adequately.

Stay cool out there!