How to Prevent Scratches in Your Hardwood Floor

All hardwood scratches, it is just a matter of time

Many of my customers in Westchester County ask me how to prevent scratching in hardwood flooring, so I thought I would provide some tips. First, let me caveat this by saying that ALL hardwood scratches. It’s just a matter of time.  Anyone that tells you the hardwood won’t scratch isn’t telling the truth. Here are some tips to MINIMIZE the scratches and prolong the life of your hardwood.  By far, the #1 culprit of scratches is dirt/grit, so do whatever you can to minimize this. 1. … [Read more...]

What is the “actual” water temperature in my home really?

How hot is the water in your home really?

The post previous to this was about water heater Deadband.  This post is related in that it shows us another way that deadband affects use of hot water and the safety concerns posed by deadband. How difficult can it be to figure out what the water temperature in a home is? In the State of Washington, Licensed Home Inspectors are required to report when the water temperature is above 120 degrees and then advise the client that the recommended high temperature is 120 degrees … [Read more...]

Going Green to Save Some Green

Going Green in Los Angeles

By Andrew Hill @ Contrary to some mistaken ideas, going green doesn’t have to be strange and uncomfortable, and it definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, many green ideas are designed to increase your comfort and to save you money. Don’t believe us? Well then consider these fun, cost-effective ways to make your home a little greener. One of the simplest and most cost effective ways of going green is to lower your water consumption. Left unchecked, faucets … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Homeowners, Do You Have Earthquake Insurance? If Not, Why Not?

Los Angeles Homeowners and Earth Quake Insurance, The CEA

After the devastating Northridge earthquake in 1994 which cost $44 billion in losses, insurance companies restricted the issuance of policies to cover earthquakes for fear of not being able to pay out again. In 1996 the state established the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) to fill the gap.  It is non-profit, publicly funded and privately managed, and it allows insurers to offer an earthquake policy to its customers, with some financial contributions.  Today the CEO covers 820,000 homes … [Read more...]

Thinking of Remodeling your Los Angeles Home? What Should you Concentrate On?

You are thinking for remodeling your Los Angeles home but don't quite know what to do that will get you the best bang for your buck. recently put together a list of 7 remodeling projects that make the most sense. So what do they think are the most important? Value Siding Vinyl siding is inexpensive, durable and easy to install.  One would think it might look cheap, but it comes in many colors and varieties, including having a foam backing which helps with … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Barking Dog Ordinance Amended. And it isn’t Good

Los Angeles Barking Dog Ordinance Amended

O.K. you Los Angeles dog lovers.  Love them but don't allow them to bark incessantly. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously yesterday to impose fines on owners of dogs who bark excessively.  What is excessively?  More than 10 minutes at a time or on and off for a 30-minute period.  This also applies to dogs not licensed by the City. Previously unlicensed dogs did not fall under the ordinance and this was considered unfair to the law-abiding owners who licensed theirs. How much … [Read more...]

“Four Tips For Garage Door Safety”- Home Inspector

4 Tips for Garage Door Safety

The business can be quite entertaining at times! I was inspecting the garage  door at an Encinitas, CA home. A new door opener had been recently installed. When I tested the photo sensors, the door did not reverse, so I traced the sensor wires and found they were not connected. I looked up at the garage door opener and almost broke out laughing. There were the new photo sensors installed on the ceiling! Did the installer even bother reading the installation instructions? I guess this is what … [Read more...]

Does Your Weep Screed Weep?- Home Inspector

Stucco Weep Screed

If you're having a new patio installed at your home, be sure your concrete contractor knows the required clearance to be maintained from the stucco weep screed. I consistently see improper patio installations while conducting throughout Riverside and San Diego Counties here in southern California. Let me explain what a weep screed is. The majority of homes in this part of the country have stucco siding. At the very bottom of a stucco wall you will see a piece of metal trim- that is the stucco … [Read more...]

My Home Inspector Said Aluminum Wiring Will Catch My House On Fire!

Aluminum Wiring Commonly Used in Modern Construction

Single-strand aluminum wiring was installed in many homes built in the mid 1960's to early 1970's. After a decade of use, inherent weaknesses were discovered with the wiring. Neglected aluminum wiring connections become increasingly dangerous over time and may overheat and create a fire hazard. A good home inspector will always recommend that single-strand aluminum wiring be evaluated by a qualified electrician who is experienced with aluminum wiring problems. Aluminum has certain qualities … [Read more...]

How to Protect your Los Angeles Home – Siding

Protect Siding Foundation on your Los Angeles Home, Home Tips

These home inspection tips show how to protect the siding and foundation of your Los Angeles home. Whether your home is built on a slab or a raised foundation, it comes in contact with the soil at some point. The foundation is obviously in contact with the ground, but all siding materials should have adequate clearance from the ground to preventmoisture penetration, insect access, and siding damage. Stucco siding should have a minimum 4" clearance above soil and 2" above hardscaping. Wood … [Read more...]

Ten Top Things Not Covered in a Los Angeles Home Inspection

Top Ten Things Not Covered in a Los Angeles Home Inspection

Potential home inspection clients ask me, "Do you cover this? Do you cover that?". There is much confusion as to what is and is not covered in a home inspection. Since there are "Top 10" lists for just about everything else, I've made a list of the top 10 things not covered in a home inspection: 1.   Low-voltage systems Computer, phone, built-in audio, intercom systems, landscape lighting, security, irrigation systems, etc. (I offer an inspection upgrade which includes evaluation of the … [Read more...]

Top 10 Ways to Repair Your Cracked Concrete Driveway

10 Ways to Repair a Cracked Driveway, How to Repair a Cracked Driveway

These are wonderful tips for repairing your cracked driveway, from Russel Ray. Invariably when I do an inspection in an older neighborhood, my Client will ask me about the cracked concrete in the driveway (and the garage, the patios and porches, and the walkways). Following are my Top 10 ways to repair your cracked concrete driveway. Number 1 is the least expensive while all the others can be quite involved and can get expensive, but they generally will look better, too. 1.   Patch the … [Read more...]

HGTV is Looking for Los Angeles Homeowners for Hit “Professional Grade” Show

Los Angeles Do it Yourself Homeowners Wanted, Be on TV and Win Money on HGTV

HGTV's renovation show is searching for savvy DIYers for the 3rd season of this show in Los Angeles. If you are a Los Angeles homeowner and think you can do a better or cheaper job than a General Contractor, then you are who they want. The goal is for you, the homeowner, to source high–end materials on the cheap, take on the bulk of the labor yourself and manage your subcontractors to get the best quality work at below market prices.  When the renovation is done, HGTV's experts price out the … [Read more...]

Selling your Los Angeles Home? Here is a Checklist of Items to Look For.

Los Angeles Home Seller Checklist, Selling your Los Angeles Home, Address These Items

If you are thinking of selling your Los Angeles home Russel Ray, San Diego Home Inspector, has put together this fabulous list of items to consider addressing in order to help the process go smoother. Once a buyer as made an offer on your Los Angeles home and you have accepted part of the process is going to be an inspection on the part of that buyer. The home inspector will go over your home with a fine tooth comb and will report all his findings to the prospective buyer.  That's when the … [Read more...]

How to Avoid the California IRS Gift Tax

How to Avoid the California IRS Gift Tax, File your California Gift Tax Return

California is a state which allows personal residences and other real estate up to $1 million to be transferred to family members without having the property taxes increase. The IRS is petitioning to review tax-free California tax-free property transfers in the State Board of Equalization's database from 2005-2010.  Why you ask?  Because even though these transfers are tax-free a gift tax return needs to be filed on those transfers. Did you transfer property over the last five years?  Did … [Read more...]

Common Electrical Problems in your Los Angeles Home

Common Electrical Probelms in your Los Angeles Home, How to Avoid Electrical Problems in your Los Angeles Home

Our trusty San Diego Home inspector, Russel Ray, has come up with a baker's dozen of his most common electrical recommendations His two most recent posts about electricity ("What's the #1 thing you would do?" and "What color are YOUR circuit breakers?"), several people are interested in common electrical problems around the home. Below are Russel's  recommendations concerning the most common problems he finds:   Create an emergency plan for shutting off electricity, gas, and … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Homes Going Green With Smog-Eating Roof Tiles

Smog Eating Tiles for Los Angeles Homes, Los Angeles Homes Go Green

If you are looking for the ultimate in green roofing for your Los Angeles home, KB Home and Irvine-based Boral roofing are introducing smog-eating tiles. For those Los Angeles homeowners who are concerned about the environment, installing these concrete tiles will help neutralize the smog-forming nitrogen oxides emitted by automobiles and other burning processes.  It is estimated that over one year, 2,000 sq. ft. of tile can burn up the same amount of nitrous oxide that a car would produce … [Read more...]

What Your Los Angeles Homeowners Insurance Does Not Pay For

What your Los Angeles Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover

Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector, had a client in March 2010 who called him with an insurance problem related to his water heater. It had been many years since he worked in the insurance industry, but he learned all their secrets.  So he told his Clients at the home inspection that if they ever have a problem with their insurance company, such as a claim that is denied, to give him a call. Home insurance is not the catch-all for everything that is wrong, or could go wrong, with … [Read more...]

Your Windows Won’t Open – A Home Inspector’s Tips

Your Windows Won't Open, Russel Ray's Los Angeles Homeowners' Tips

You can't open your windows. A common complaint when the cool fall weather arrives.  As cool as Los Angeles fall weather can get! When the complaint arrives in an email or via a phone call, the homeowner is usually concerned about the home having settled, causing things to be out of plumb now. After pulling up the inspection report and looking at the type of windows, 100% of the time the problem is due to vinyl multipane windows. And example Russel quotes is a mountainside home … [Read more...]

Do You Need to Follow the Manufacturer’s Installation Instructions to the Letter?

Los Angeles Homeowner Tips, Los Angeles Real Estate Home Tips

You need to separate what should, must and shall be done as they relate to a manufacturer's installation instructions. For those of us who actually read manufacturer's installation instructions for fun, it's important that we have a legal mind and understand the difference. As an example, the installation guide for Rheem (the manufacturer under discussion) says early in the guide that a combination of factors must be used to install the water heater: manufacturer instructions, local codes, … [Read more...]