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Preparing a yard for summer

As the days get warmer and trees begin to bloom, many homeowners will begin making plans to prepare their yards for the hot summer ahead. Preparing a yard for summer can feel like a daunting task but the good news? It doesn't have to be.

 

The following tips will help your yard stay in peak condition throughout the summer.

 

Aerate Your Lawn

 

Aerating your lawn before summer is extremely important because it allows water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate your grass roots more efficiently. This leads to a healthy root system which helps to keep your lawn healthy and green. It's best to perform the process in the fall  if your lawn is a cool-season grass, like bluegrass or ryegrass. If you live in a climate where warm-season grasses thrive, aerate in the spring. Many experts recommend aerating your lawn every 1 to 3 years but high-traffic areas may require more frequent attention. Learn more about aerating here.

 

Remove Excess Thatch

 

Thatch is the decaying plant material that accumulates on your lawn. A thatch layer exceeding a half inch can block sunlight from grass and prevent water from reaching deep roots. You can remove thatch in the autumn by raking it up while you're raking leaves but it's also a good idea to rake it up again in the spring to prepare your yard for summer. Detaching should be done in conjunction with aeration.

 

Fertilize Your Grass

 

How you should fertilize your yard will all depend on what type of grass you have. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer should be spread in the spring for warm season grasses at the first signs of vibrancy. You can fertilize again in late summer. A  cool-season grass will require a little more attention and will need fertilization during early spring after the winter dormancy period and again during early fall. Use a fertilizer with higher nitrogen concentrations during the fall application. Fertilizer application should be scaled back about 30 days before peak summer temperatures.

 

Water Your Lawn

 

When watering your lawn in preparation for summer, you'll need to keep the roots in mind. Most grasses will need about 1 inch of irrigation each week during their peak growing seasons. A single, deep irrigation is preferable because frequent, brief sprinklings encourage unfavorable shallow root penetration. Healthy, deep roots are a necessity in helping grass plants withstand hot summer conditions, including droughts. For best results, water your lawn during the early morning or at night so that the grass has more time to absorb the water before it dries out.

 

Keep Your Grass Mowed

 

Mow your yard properly.  A systematic approach to mowing is crucial to the overall health of your lawn. Keep the following best practices in mind when cutting your grass:

 

Never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass during each mowing, as any more can cause damage to the grass

Frequent springtime mowing helps strengthen roots, making your grass stronger.

Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower as the summer months approach. Longer grass shades the soil better, keeping it moist.

Reseed bare patches prior to your grass-type's peak growing season, preferably in the fall. Till the soil and spread the seed evenly. Use a standard fertilizer and water the area as you normally would. Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer after the seeds have germinated to ensure robust growth.

 

We hope these tips help you keep your yard in tip-top shape this summer.

 

Natrona County Meals On Wheels COVID-19 Action Plan

Week 1: Start Monday, March 9th

 

  • Quality hygiene practices by all staff and volunteers (communicate and post information)
  • Staff to begin preparedness
    • Order emergency meals to cover client meals for 12 days (2 emergency meals where sent out a week ago). One meals per day.
    • Making frozen meals in case we need them to cover delays in deliveries.
  • Disinfect/sanitize office, bathrooms, kitchen equipment, volunteer room and all handles daily
  • Volunteers with underlying conditions asked to take a leave of absence
  • Volunteers returning from foreign travel asked to take 14 days off from volunteering
  • Staff/volunteers with any signs or symptoms to implement social distancing for at least 14 days
  • Sanitize delivering bags daily after deliveries are made.
  • MOW building closed to general public.
  • Distribute communication to public (press release, Facebook update, MOW website)
  •  

 

Week 2: Start Monday, March 16th

  • Continue communication to public (press release, Facebook update, MOW website)
  • Continue communication to clients.
  • Distribute communication to volunteer drivers (attached to route sheets)
  • Still working on getting emergency meals ordered due to change in distributors quantities
  • In-home assessments done via phone.
  • Social distancing expected by volunteers and staff in the MOW building and on deliveries.
  • Survey clients to see if they need toilet paper, sanitizer ect…
  • Collect things need on survey
  • Let each recipient know that starting next week we will deliver to coolers only, unless they cannot physically get meals out of the cooler.
  • Take and record body temperature of all staff and volunteers daily upon arrival for shift.

 

 

Week 3: Start Monday, March 23rd

  • MOW building closed to general public and volunteer drivers
  • Continue communication to public (press release, Facebook update, MOW website)
  • Continue communication to clients.
  • Deliver meals to coolers only for clients.
  • Allow no one but staff and board in the MOW building
  • Distribute essentials to clients in need.
  • Executive Committee meet to make a plan for how to handle wages and employees that wish to self-quarantine.

 

   

 

Day by Day 3: Things to consider (TBD)

 

  • Distribute emergency meals when delivered for all clients for 14 days
  • Increase frequency of phone calls to clients for well-being checks
  • Seek additional funding (government, business and private)

 

CO-VID 19 Update

With the constantly evolving situation with CO-VID 19 changing the way every day life is being conducted here in the US and around the world; we at Inspection Tech wanted to take a few moments to update you and let you know how we are continuing to serve our community and our clients & agents in the safest way possible.

Did you know that our inspectors are able to conduct contactless inspections at any property without anyone in attendance? We have many out of state clients that are unable to attend inspections so have offered this service in the past. Even as an agent, you are able to supply us with entrance/lockbox information and we can gain access to the property and perform our high quality inspection for you and your client. All while you the agent and or client are safely at your office or home.
Always practicing safe distancing, our inspectors are wearing gloves and masks and are maintaining a sanitary and safe environment in the homes they inspect.

In addition to contactless inspections and practicing social distancing, we excited to announce virtual follow-ups to go over the reports with you the client and your agent. These meeting will be set up at the time of booking your inspection, be sure to let your scheduler know that you won’t be attending the inspection and would like the follow up meeting. All of our office staff are currently working remotely in order to stay safe themselves and our office hours have not changed. We answer the phones Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and on Saturday & Sunday from 10am-6pm

We currently use Zoom for the virtual meetings and you would only need to download the app to your particular computer or device in order to participate in the virtual inspection report review. In addition to the video review option we still phone follow up’s to you, the client to see if you have any questions or concerns regarding your report.

In these uncertain times we understand that the unknown can give one pause. At Inspection Tech we want to let each and every one of our agents and clients know that we are continuing to do our best to deliver to you the highest level of home inspections in the safest possible manner and that we are here should you need us.

Stay Safe Northeast Ohio
From our family at Inspection Tech to yours

CO-VID 19 update

In these new and uncertain times we have many questions regarding CO-VID 19 and how it is impacting not just human lives, but our every day existence.

 

Governor DeWine issued a state-wide shut down of all non essential businesses in order to flatten the curve and ease the spread of this devastating virus. The natural question is, “what are essential businesses?”

 

In short, the real estate industry is considered an essential industry and thereby all the businesses that contribute to the operation of this industry.

Home inspections are an integral part of the home buying process and here at Inspection Tech we are committed to performing the highest quality inspections with attention to the smallest of details and are following Governor DeWine’s, and the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing and keeping ourselves and our clients and agents safe during this time.

 

We are operating at this time in a “business as usual” manner. We are available for inspections 7 days a week from 8am until 6pm and our office assistants are all working remotely at this time, answering phones and scheduling inspections from 8am-8pm Monday through Friday and 10am until 6pm on Saturday & Sunday.

 

It has never been a requirement that clients, or even agents attend inspections. We have always encouraged both parties to be present as home inspections are informative and often a learning experience for potential home buyers. In these times of social distancing we want our agents and clients to know that they have the option of not attending the inspection and that Inspection Tech has lockbox insurance and we are fully able to access properties with a lockbox code.

 

We issue our reports via email and can go over all details and any questions via email or a simple phone call. Payments are able to be made online via the link in the confirmation emails that are sent out after scheduling your inspection.

 

We work with many out of state investors and have performed many inspections without clients or agents present and have an impeccable history of expertise and professionalism in regards to these inspections.

 

Keeping ourselves and our agents and clients safe are of the utmost importance to us as Inspection Tech and being here for you during the home inspection process is paramount in what we do.

 

Below is a resource guide provided to us by ISN and can provide you with additional information during these unprecedented time.

 

http://help.inspectionsupport.net/en/articles/3824453-covid-19-resource-guide

COVID-19

We are living in some unsettling times right now. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus shutting down schools, restaurants and businesses we just wanted to reassure all of our agents, clients and friends that at Inspection Tech we always place the utmost importance on the safety of those we work with every day.

 

As of today, we are still actively performing home inspections and want to assure you that our inspectors are practicing the methods that have been suggested by the CDC.

 

Our inspectors will be practicing social distancing and combined with frequent hand washing can wear gloves while performing inspections.

 

If you wish to decline attending an inspection it is your choice to do so. Our inspectors take many photographs and are used to performing inspections in homes for out of state clients and are always through and respectable. Under present guidelines we fall into the safe category for gatherings at inspections as generally it is the inspector, agent and perhaps the client and a spouse. So it would bu up to you, the client to make that decision.

 

If our inspectors are feeling unwell they will immediately let the office staff know and take themselves off the schedule to self quarantine.

 

Our office staff is working remotely and our hours in the office will remain Monday – Friday 8am-8pm and on the weekends from 10am-6pm

 

We cannot thank all of you, the agents and clients, that have helped Inspection Tech become the company it is today. We will do everything we can to continue bringing you the best inspections in NE Ohio in the safest way possible for all during this time of uncertainty.

Pre-Inspection Checklist

You have a listed property and have reached an agreement pending the results of a home inspection. This can be an unnerving feeling for both you and your client. Often times it may seem like the only thing you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Check of the inspection check list

THE TOP 5 THINGS BUYERS SHOULD ASK ABOUT HOME INSPECTIONS

 So you think you have found the home of your dreams. Open floor plan, big rooms, back yard, basement. Everything you have ever wanted. But what about the things you DON’T want? Electrical issues, heating and cooling? Or what about pest infestation?

 

On the eve of the biggest purchase of your life there are many questions that loom large. Here are the top five questions regarding home inspections, that you, the buyer may have, or may have not even known you need to ask!

 

1. Are inspections “automatically” part of every home purchase?

 

No. As a buyer, you must include a home inspection clause in your purchase agreement, which will let you back out of the contract if the inspector discovers unexpected problems with the house.

 

If you still want the house, an inspection clause allows you to renegotiate with the seller in light of any issues discovered—either requesting a price adjustment, or asking the seller to make necessary repairs prior to completing the sale.

 

Home inspection clauses aren’t “automatic,” but they’re highly recommended by buyer’s agents and almost always added to standard real estate contracts. The average person isn’t going to be able to assess the condition of a home and our licensed and certified home inspectors at Inspection Tech can put your mind at ease and help you be sure you are getting the home you truly want.

 

2. What IS a home inspection?

 

A home inspection is a comprehensive review of the systems, structure and general “health” of a home, conducted by a qualified, objective inspector. If there are any issues that may degrade the value of the home, or require immediate/near-term repairs, they should be revealed by a professional home inspector.

 

What is included will depend on the individual inspector, the local municipal codes, and the type of inspection(s) you request.

 

Basic home inspections should include visual inspections of the:

 

Roof

Foundation/framing (including wood rot)

Fireplaces

Plumbing systems

Electrical systems

HVAC (heating and cooling) systems

Interiors (doors, paint, floorings, ceilings, walls, windows, etc.)

Exteriors (siding, windows, doors, etc.)

Insulation/ventilation

Additional inspections may be done for:

The presence of radon, mold, or pests

At Inspection Tech we have a team of general home inspectors as well as a certified radon and mold specialist and a licensed structural engineer

 

3. How do I select an inspector?

 

You can ask your buyer’s agent to recommend a good, qualified, local inspector. You can also find one on your own. Either way, you should consider the inspector’s qualifications, confirm if they are bonded and insured, and if they meet the requirements to be licensed in your state.

 

You may also want to ask how long they have been in the business and request references from past clients. There are a number of state/national/international professional home inspector organizations; ask your potential inspector if they are a member of any of these groups.

 

Realize that not all states require licensing, or even specialized training, to become a home inspector, so do your own due diligence.

Inspection Tech has been in business since 2008 and helps serve Northeast Ohio and beyond. We are available 7 days a week and our office assistants can answer all of your questions and make scheduling a breeze

 

4. Can I be there during the inspection?

 

Yes, you can and should be. Your buyer’s agent can handle it for you, but you’ll get a much better feel for your new house if you attend the inspection. If the inspector finds any problems, you’ll be able to ask questions, on the spot, and get the answers you need.

 

Inspectors can also offer guidance on how to properly maintain a home’s systems, which is always helpful for a new buyer. Be sure to take notes to review later, and to potentially share with the seller, so you will be able to get accurate estimates on the needed repairs.

 

5. What if the house I want fails inspection?

 

An inspection is an evaluation, not a test, which means houses can’t “fail” inspection. It’s a way to reveal any issues, or potential issues, that may negatively impact a buyer prior to completing a sale. It’s also intended to ensure both the buyer and seller are in informed agreement regarding the condition of the property that is changing hands.

 

Call us today to schedule your home inspection!

TOP 5 Secrets to Selling Your Home FAST!

Selling Secret #1:  PRICE IT RIGHT!

Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. Even in slower markets buyers will  bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

 

Selling Secret #2:  EMPTY OUT YOUR CLOSETS

Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will want to look in all the spaces of the home, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

 

Selling Secret #3: AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT

Maximize the light in your home. Good lighting  is the one thing that every buyer says that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – and if you are selling in the colder, darker winter months, this hack is especially important!

 

Selling Secret #4: GET THE RIGHT AGENT

Hiring the wrong agent can kill a home sale. Make sure you have an agent who is totally informed and energized to sell your home.  They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find an who uses all the technology available in the arena of real estate today.

 

Selling Secret #5: NO PETS

Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. Get rid of the pet evidence and burn candles and if you are showing the home send the pets to the spa for the day!

identifying or fixing any problems both difficult and expensive, once the new home is completely finished.

A pre-drywall inspection can be performed after the insulation is installed, which is convenient because it allows the home inspector to determine whether it was done properly. However, the insulation may conceal some components in much of the same way that drywall does.

 

What is inspected during a pre-drywall inspection?

 

During a pre-drywall walk-through, the areas of the house that the inspector can check include:

 

  • the foundation
  • floor system
  • roof system
  • wall system
  • plumbing system
  • electrical system
  • HVAC
  • exterior wall covering
  • roof covering, and
  • the interior

 

When performing a pre-drywall walk-through, the home inspector may inspect:

 

  • electrical wiring and junction box placement
  • framing
  • foundation slabs, walls and drains
  • footings
  • notching of floor joists
  • firestop material
  • pier pads
  • crawlspace
  • retaining walls
  • plumbing pipe placement
  • waterproofing
  • flashing for windows and doors
  • wall studs
  • any missing metal clips
  • placement of HVAC air ducts and registers

 

There are many common concerns that a pre-drywall inspection can address.  These questions include:

 

Is there an appropriate number of electrical outlets in every room?

Is there a drain pan installed for the washing machine so that water is caught in the event of a leak?

Are there wood blocks in places where extra support may be necessary?

 

An important element to a pre-drywall inspection is the inspection report. Most home inspectors typically include photos and/or video. These are especially beneficial to the client because of the level of detail that they can provide. When it comes to documentation, more is more!  So, as long as you have permission to do so, record everything that you can.

 

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

Is your home ready for winter? Sustained low temperatures, combined with cold winds and winter precipitation, can cause problems for the interior and exterior of your home. Here are five common winter household problems to anticipate and avoid:

 

• Heating system breakdowns can be an uncomfortable and even hazardous issue when cold weather hits. Make sure your system is inspected and well maintained BEFORE it gets cold and you find out the hard way that your home heating system wasn’t up to snuff.

 

• Air leaks, particularly around doors and windows, can cause drafts and heating system inefficiency, that can cause winter heating bills to skyrocket!

 

• If you have fireplaces in your home they can be cozy and charming.  But chimney fires are a big winter safety hazard. Make sure your chimney has been cleaned and inspected before you light the first fire.

 

• Roof leaks often occur during the winter due to missing or loose shingles, or because of poor design and maintenance. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or precipitation, check your roof for potential problems BEFORE winter begins and keep an eye on it for potential problems.

 

• Ice dams, especially here in Northeast Ohio can be a seasonal issue many may not consider.They are usually caused when melted water backs up, causing leaks. Keep an eye out for potential trouble spots along your roof and roofline.

 

If you get ahead of the game and prepare early in the season with some simple preparations you can be ready for the cold winter months.