Inspecting Older Homes Requires a Different Skill Set

A different set of standards is usually required when performing a home inspection on older houses as opposed to new construction. Risks that do not apply to newer structures are often found lurking around older properties. Changes over time can result in many threats to the integrity of the property that cannot be recognized except by a trained professional.

There may be small mounds of earth or exceptionally green areas of the lawn that represent the menace of abandoned wells and septic tanks. These can still sometimes be found on properties that were long ago hooked up to central water and sewer systems. A quick look at an electrical circuit breaker box and wiring might lead one to believe that everything is in order. Only a trained professional knows to look for aluminum wiring or a faulty design of circuit breakers banned from use several decades ago. On the surface, none of these hazards are obvious.

Yet they represent exactly the sort of structural risk that professional inspections catch. Nobody other than a highly-competent professional is expected to know that certain brands of siding and roofing were recalled long ago or that some models of smoke detectors are useless. Comprehensive inspections are not about checking the boxes on a form but about uncovering the risks hidden deep inside even the most solid-seeming structure. Thirty years of remodeling may disguise the original lead-based paint on the walls. There is no way of knowing just by looking at the current layer of latex paint, or even the five layers of latex paint underneath it. Few people even know how to begin looking for such a health risk.

This is not to say that every older home represents a lurking catastrophe. Many of them represent finer examples of enduring craftsmanship than newer models. The point is that a well-done inspection can save money on costly future repairs as well as ensure a family’s safety in their new home. Catching problems before closing on a house means that the previous owner gets to fix things that the new owners will then enjoy for years to come. In this regard, the services of a good home inspector more than pay for themselves, while the services of an unqualified one are simply a waste of money. In fact, a poor inspector is worse than useless, since they engender a false sense of security. Here is a quick checklist of things you need in a home inspector:

  • Someone who is not in a hurry or afraid to get dirty. Most of the problems a home inspector needs to find are not in clean, easy-to-access parts of the house.
  • Someone who is fully vetted on the hidden risks of housing construction. Many products that were used in good faith in the past have since been proven to be failures at their intended purposes.
  • Someone who will fight for you. A good inspector is like a good umpire in baseball. He must call them like he sees them, regardless of how the realtors or loan companies want the home inspection to turn out.

The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI) has resources that can be invaluable to a home owner. Inspectors who are members of the InterNACHI and other associations must meet strict membership requirements and qualifications, including experience, training, professional affiliations and compliance with their state’s regulations. Starting with associations like InterNACHI is a great idea for home owners, and can assure that the home owner can hire the right Home Inspector and know the general principles, processes and requirements of a professional home inspection.

How Back Taxes Owed on Homes Can Make You Rich

You’ve probably heard that investing in real estate is one of the best ways to get rich. This is true, but you have to really know what you’re doing, or you’ll find yourself in a lot of pickles early on. Don’t worry– even Donald Trump didn’t get where he is without a little help; and he won’t be your competition, if you’re going to work the back taxes owed on homes angle.

If you’re going to invest in today’s economy, these properties are prime investment material– almost always mortgage free– meaning brimming with equity and ready to be flipped for a huge profit. You can’t overlook them if you want to be successful in the coming years– there’s going to be more and more of them as back taxes owed on homes catch up with their owners, and they lose their properties to tax sale.

First of all, what does this mean, “back taxes owed on homes”? Well, it’s simple. When a homeowner doesn’t pay his or her taxes and gets behind, their home will become delinquent in the county they live in. It differs from county to county, but at some point within a few years, usually, if the owners can’t come in and pay those back taxes owed on their homes, then the properties will be foreclosed upon by the county and liquidated.

The liquidation happens one of two ways- either the deed to the property is sold, or a lien on the property is sold. Sometimes this is done by auction, other times by lottery, and still other times by round robin. It can happen all different ways, even within the same state. It’s a very competitive way to get properties. Buying tax liens or deeds has become very popular, and with the rise in popularity has come a sharp decrease in the profits to be had that way.

You’re going to avoid all that. If you want to make money off of back taxes owed on homes, you’ll have to stay one step ahead of tax sale investors, and get the deed to the property before the auction, without bidding- or after the auction, in the period of redemption where the owner can still bail out his or her home (usually, around a year).

How?

Well, it’s shockingly simple, and yet if you pay attention, you’ll see that almost no one does this. Why? Maybe they’re antisocial. Maybe they feel guilty getting involved in other people’s business when they’re “down on their luck.” Maybe they’re just plain chicken.

What am I referring to? Simply contacting the owner and dealing directly with them.

Let’s say it again: you can get rich investing in back taxes owed on homes, but only if you can be sure that property’s going to be yours once you pay those taxes. The way to do that is not to bid on the deed or a lien at the auction– the owner can still come back and pay that off, and take their deed right back from under you. The only way you’ll be able to invest in those properties with surety is if you deal directly with the owners.

It may seem counter-intuitive to you, but you’ll be surprised how often these owners are glad to hear from you! By the time the tax sale is rolling around, these owners are desperate to get out of the tax delinquent situation, and will be primed and ready to sell to you for pennies on the dollar. You’ll also find absentee owners and heirs who inherited an unwanted property that are dying to get the burden off their shoulders and sell to you for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.

How to Start a Home Bakery Business

Starting a home bakery. Most home based business are in built up areas of a community. There are usually children in the house. Often very young children.

This is often the cause of wanting to start a bakery at home. Plus, it is also a reason to be prevented from starting a bakery at home. Catch 22 syndromes.

Children also play in the gardens and roads of the area. This is a concern to local authority, because it is often considered an increase of vehicular traffic to a home business.

Neighbors complain of the increase in traffic and without your next door neighbor approving of your venture, it might just be a pipe dream. Another problem with home based business ventures, is the increase of garbage. Local authorities consider a business as extra income collecting your business garbage.

So you will pay for two garbage pick ups and your business garbage might have to be in a protected container, not the usual one bag bin as might be allowed in your community pick up.

Another reason for the neighbor to complain is these container bins attract flies, they smell terrible in hot weather and they also attract vermin in varying forms. The garbage contractor is not responsible for steam cleaning or pick up of the surrounding area either. That is your job.

It could get very messy if you leave the container unlocked. Garbage pickers will very likely rummage through for cans or bottles from which they might get a refund of deposit. If you live in a semi-detached house, an apartment, or a townhouse. There is a very real threat from a fire? Your built-in oven may have dried the woodwork around the oven to the point of combustion and only needs a certain amount of moisture and heat to actually catch fire.

Have you seen the heat generated by a compost heap? Or a pile of wet sawdust. Your neighbor would probably hear all your machinery working. And, if you started work on your products at say 3 a.m. in the morning. They will not be best pleased at being rudely woken at such an unearthly hour.

They won’t mind the aroma from your fresh product if you were allowed to make then, but they most certainly will create very loudly at your early start to the day.

There would be another problem with delivery of your ingredients. First of all there is the storage of the ingredients. These are usually delivered in larger quantities than you would normally purchase from the local super market. So your built in cupboards will not be sufficient to hold everything.

That in turn means you will require a storage area. Separate from the house. The floor in houses are not designed to support the weight of a bakery business and its ingredients, nor the machinery.

If you store flour, there are certain legal requirements. Flour is considered a combustible. Even an explosive. I have been around flour for over 50 years and never heard of flour being an explosive till recently, when my building inspector pointed out the problem to me. Yes! I have heard of flour mills catching fire, but never a bakery for that reason.

Your storage area will very likely need to be re-enforced on all sides and ceiling. In some areas that re-enforcing might be in the form of two layers of giproc, no less than five eighth inches thick and fire retardant. Your storage room might also require a fire door.

One which if a fire should start in your storage room would take at least two hours to burn through before the structure of the building suffered.