Watch Out – Standard Home Inspections Provide a False Sense of Security!

Look Below the Home’s Surfaces! A Standard Home Inspection may provide you with undeserved, short term Peace-of-Mind! They don’t even scratch the surface of the house to find potentially costly problems.

It’s essential to get a home’s structures and systems thoroughly home inspections, house inspections, forensic home inspectionsinspected before starting that Home Renovation!

Why? To avoid costly surprises!

Investing in a diagnostic, forensic inspection is just Good Business! It will give you peace-of-mind and avoid major costly surprises.

What you don’t know will hurt you and the surprises will lead to costly surprises! We at Properties, Probe & Renovation (PPR) highly recommend contracting with professionals for a Diagnostic Forensic Home Inspection provided by a team of skilled tradesman and managed by a Project manager that represents your interests! Yes – PPR provides this service! Want more info? Call 216.577.5579 —Your sanity and wallet are at stake! 
project manager, condo renovation watchdog,Let PPR be your WatchDog! 

Pricing Information for the PPR Forensic Inspection Services – Your Property Probe WatchDog!

Flexible Pricing to Meet the Client’s Forensic Property Inspection Needs

About PPR Forensic Inspection Pricing

To provide our potential clients an estimated price for PPR’s Residential and Commercial home inspections, house inspections, real estate inspectionsForensic Inspection Services, it is essential to outline two important factors:

1) How the PPR Forensic Inspection (Probe) differs from traditional Commercial and Residential Real Estate Inspections

2) What components contribute to the price estimate for a PPR Forensic Inspection

The PPR Difference:

A) The inspection is not performed by one person who is a “Jack-of-all-Trades”.

B) PPR utilizes locally vetted trades who are leaders in their areas of expertise, ie., plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, insulation, etc.

C) The vetted trades utilize the latest in tools, methods and technologies to generate their expert findings in a Report which is then incorporated into the Comprehensive Report for the Client.

D) The vetted trades people are familiar with Building Codes and associated Regulations required for the given real estate property.

E) The Client is provided a Consolidated Forensic Report amalgamating all of the Reports of the participating trades inspectors, including a combination of text, pictures and video which is then presented to the Client.

The Price Components for a PPR Property Inspection:

  1. Building(s) and Property – The following factors contribute to the estimated price.
Location No. of Rooms w/ Plumbing
Property Size & Topography Types of Ceilings
No. of Floors What’s Below the Ground Floor
Sq. Ft. Per Floor Type of Garage(s)
No. of Rooms Type of Roof(s)
No. of Bathrooms Age Building(s)
Type of Heating System(s) Other Factors

2) Estimated Number of Vetted Trades to Complete Inspection

3) Cost Per Hour of Vetted Trades

4) PPR’s Hourly Wage

5) Travel and Related Expenses

Producing an Estimated Price for the PPR Forensic Inspection

After PPR has gathered the above information utilizing a comprehensive checklist during a phone appointment with the owner, PPR will provide the Client an itemized Estimated Price for the Forensic Inspection within 5 business days. Should the Owner decide to proceed with the PPR Forensic Inspection, the Payment of the Estimated Price for the Inspection is due 72 hours prior to the scheduled start date and time.

Finalizing the Price for the PPR Forensic Inspection

The Final Price of the Comprehensive Inspection and Report will be invoiced to the Client with the delivery of the Report. The amount of the Final Invoice will not exceed the Estimated Price unless, during the Inspection process itself, unexpected probing needs arise in order to provide additional data on a property’s systems, land, or structural condition. In such a case, the PPR Project Manager will contact the owner to get permission to proceed; confirmation will occur in writing by text or email and time and materials for the work above and beyond the estimate will be added to the Final Invoice.

Do you have questions about PPR’s Forensic Inspection Service or Pricing as it could be applicable to your Commercial or Residential property?

Email or give Phil a home inspections, property watchdog, real estate watchdog, your real estate eyes and ears,call…we look forward to hearing about your real estate challenges! 

Email PPR Phil@contactppr.com  — Call PPR 216.577.5579 —                                                       Visit the PPR Website www.contactppr.com

A Problem Waiting To Happen – An Untended Home!

Who’s Watching Your Home and Property

While You’re Out-of-Town?

 The Problem. When you are out-of-town for any length of time, your home and property is at risk – not just from burglary!

Bad things can happen in a home while you are away, problems home watch services, home visitation, home careinclude: heating and cooling failures; water leaks and damage; insect or rodent infestations; storm damage; mold; plumbing problems; electrical problems; water heater failures; etc. Imagine these problems going undiscovered for days, weeks, or even months! It happens more often than you think!

Precautions like security systems, cameras, and other detection devices -while recommended – have their limitations. Regular human visitations can add an important dimension to providing the home owner with peace-of-mind! This is where a house watcher service comes in.

Note – House watchers are different from House Sitters. House watcher professionals visit your home/property on a scheduled basis to check on its status. House sitters live in your home while you are out-of-town!  

The Solution. A home watcher service that visits and inspects the property on a scheduled basis to make sure that everything is in order and working properly. The service inform their client about all issues and generally will be capable of coordinating the required “fix”. A proper home watch visit takes time and expertise.  The professional is trained to detect the early signs of damage and catch it before it becomes an expensive disaster. Even the most minor mold or water damage will cost thousands!!  Early detection is the key to saving money.

A home watch service will be your “Eyes and Ears”while you are away. They can maintain and protect your most important asset – Your Home. The Service is there when you can’t be. They do the worrying for you and take care of your home while you’re out-of town.

Who Needs a Home Watch Service?

The services are designed to support seasonal residents with vacation homes, vacationers, week-enders, frequent travelers, employees working out-of-town, people on the go, and private owners of vacant property. The service can also be made available to owners of corporate owned properties, homes vacant due to corporate relocation, homes listed by realtors, and bank owned properties.

What Does the Home Watch Professional Do When Visiting the Home and Property? home watch, home visitation

Your Property Watch Services Should Include:

• A thorough check of the properties interior, unattached buildings and the exterior

• Checking that security systems are functioning

• Opening/closing the main water valve as directed by property owner

• Checking smoke detectors and replacing batteries if needed

• Making sure all windows and doors are secure

• Checking for forced entry

• Checking for vandalism

• Checking ceilings for visible signs of roof leaks 

• Checking for flooding

• Checking the humidity levels

• Checking for moisture problems

• Checking for indications of mold

• Checking for plumbing failures

• Checking for pest issues

• Checking for frozen/broken pipes

• Checking for tripped breakers (reset electric appliances)

• Checking all HVAC units and settings

• Running faucets in sinks, tubs, and showers

• Confirming that the refrigerator(s) are working properly

• Checking deck areas

• Visual inspecting the roof and gutters from ground level

• Confirming yard maintenance is being performed properly

• Starting automobile(s) (if requested by owner)

• Ensuring there are no unwanted guests (Squatters) on your property

• Acting as the emergency contact in the owners absence

• Offering additional options specific to your property

What the Home Watch Service Should Provide the Home/Property Owner?

1st and formost Pace-of Mind! The owner needs to know that an experienced professional is looking after their home and property when they are absent and that the professional is highly capable of protecting their most valuable asset – Their Home!

What Should You Expect When Receiving a Quote and Pricing?

The initial consultation – whether by phone or at your property – should be free of charge. During this meeting you should be able to meet the manager and ask any questions you have. The manager should then schedule an onsight inspection and discussion about the services required to establish a price.

The price for the home watch service will vary with the size and the specific needs of the home owner! People shopping for the lowest price should beware – You get what you pay for! Look for value and trust, not for the cheapest price you can find.

What Additional Home Watch Services Should Be Available?

Beyond basic absentee homeowner services, the service should a single-point of contact by overseeing all of the property maintenance, repairs, renovation, remodeling or special projects at your home or property while you are away.

In the event of an approaching storm, the service should be available – at an added cost – to secure your property and alert you to any damages that are incurred.

When a problem is discovered and needs repair, the service should notify the client and make arrangements to have it rectified by vetted professionals. When time permits, the service should discuss the repair options with the client and assist in making an informed decision on how to move forward.

You should not need to worry about broken pipes, flooded basement, storm damage, old newspapers piling up while you are away, or other potential problems. That is why you need a home watcher service.

The home owner should be able to focus on their travels, business, etc. and have Peace-of-Mind! 

What About Insurance and Bonding for the Service?

The home watch service provider should be insured and bonded for the services offered and provide proof upon request.

Conclusion.

Before leaving your home and property vacant, there are a number of precautions you can take to protect your home. One of the easiest solutions is to hire a professional home watch service. Having a service on the job may be the difference between minor damage to your home or complete disaster.

Don’t wait until you have a problem!

If you are planning to be out-of-town or currently away from home, the above discussion about Home Watching should be of interest to you! 

Have Questions. 

We at Properties, Probe and Renovation (PPR) will answer your questions and help determine your best options.

property watchdog, real estate watchdog, your real estate eyes and ears, The PPR WatchDog offers all of the above services and more! Let’s see if PPR is a good fit for you. Contact PPR – Email phil@contactppr.com or Call 216.577.5579

Seriously…You can Avoid the potential Dark Side of Home Renovation…

Horror Story or Dream-Come-True? The PPR 24-Item Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/ Preparation Check-List!

 Making the Decision to Renovate.

home renovations, renovations, remodeling, renovation disasters, project managementDeciding to renovate your home is one of the most important decisions you can make as a home owner. We all have heard the horror stories associated with a renovation project. Despite this, we embark on a home renovation because we have high hopes and huge dreams about creating satisfying, even luxurious living spaces.

 Renovation Equals Messy.

Regardless of the most exacting planning, a renovation process creates disruption and is messy…

          –messy in the design planning with its multiple ideas and final decisions you, your family, your architect/designer, and Project Manager must consider and agree upon;

          –messy during construction with the basic flow of every-day-life put in disarray despite the best efforts of your Project Manager to control the construction process;

          –messy in the furnishing choices, wait-time, and coordination until the final outcome is achieved!

 The Knight in Shining Armor: Your Check-List (and your Project Manager!)

To prevent the excitement of your new space turning into an escalation of frustration, an out-of-hand budget, and a disappointment of epic proportions, reno prep is mandatory. And your 24-Item PPR Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List must now become your newest, most-important best friend!

 If you take the Check-List to heart, the process and stages of your renovation can be reasonably orderly and achievable with the least amount of stress for you and your family. The 24-Item PPR Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List which follows is a guide; you and your Project Manager will custom-tailor the List to meet your renovation requirements.
The PPR 24-Item Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List

  1) Thoroughly discuss the project with family. Agree on the details of the renovation: Type, Time, Style, Budget, Design Details, etc.

  2) Determine what you can afford allowing for 20-40% in cost overages. You may want to consider checking with your financial adviser(s) to line up any necessary financing which will be involved. At this stage of early planning, keep in mind that renovation projects are synonymous with unexpected costs due to changes in required or desired material and/or construction.
  3) Check with Governmental Entities about Codes, Permits, and Scheduling Inspections.  Note – Your Project Manager (PM) will do this for you. Your PM will also assure that each of the trades is fully aware of the regulations and that the materials used meet the codes. Inspections  often must be scheduled and approval obtained before walls go in!
  4) Consider how to manage living arrangements for you and your family during the renovation. Availability of power, water and heat may be limited at times during the renovation. Remember that among other problems there will be dust, muddy areas, loud noises and a constant flow of unfamiliar work people.
  5) Consider the Living Arrangements for Your Pets and Animals. Remember that among other challenges, there will be dust, muddy areas, loud noises and a constant flow of unfamiliar workers.
  6) Check with all related Home Owner Associations to assure that your project is in compliance. Each and every association has its own set of restrictions. It is best to understand the regulations to avoid delays, required changes and unnecessary litigation.
  7) Let your neighbors know about your renovation plans. Note – Your PM will do this for you. Projects create noise, dust, mud and traffic. It is best to keep peace in the community.
  8) Determine your ideal time to start the renovation. Note – Your PM can assist you in determining the best availability of skilled trades and to get the best prices. Realize that the house will need to be organized and storage may be required. Generally allow 30 days for the organizing process.
  9) Initiate the planning stage by working with a Project Manger (PM) – not a General Contractor (GC). There is a startling difference between the services of a PM and a GC. Follow This Link to read and understand which of the two professionals best represents your real estate interest from project inception to project completion and which offers the most comprehensive project onsite oversight.
  10) Find the right renovation Professionals for you and your Family. Interview and vet the parties to make sure there is a good fit for your project:

            Project Manager (PM)

            Architects

            Structural Engineer

            Interior Designer(s)

  11) Get a Floor Plan for the entire house: The measurements and location of Structures/Systems. Knowing the measurements and structures of the entire house and sharing them with the various trades as necessary will save time and per-hour-costs of tradespeople on your project. Look to your PM to accomplish this task. Your PM should check with each of the trades and suppliers to assure that they have the exact measurements before ordering, cutting, installing, etc.
  12) Check for and mark all utility lines – Gas, Water, Electric, Sewer/Sump- located in areas affected by renovation. Note – Your PM will make these arrangements. This is extremely important! Your PM will also guide the trades as they work in the areas where utilities are located to prevent disruption of service and added repair and construction delay costs.
  13) Assure that the Electric Service is adequate for the new renovation. Note – Your PM will do this for you. Most homes built before 2000 did not anticipate the electronic load required to energize the multiple devices we use in our homes today. Your utility and your PM can determine your needs working with the Architect and Engineer(s).
  14) Discuss the renovation project with your Insurer. During and following the renovation you will want to make sure that your coverage meets your needs. This is not a good time to be under-insured!
  15) Focus on Quality and Durability as well as Appearances. Given the multiple number of suppliers, products and price points, it is extremely important to take into consideration the quality, durability, price, and appearance when comparing the construction materials you are choosing.
  16) Choose Designs that will provide lasting value – Avoid trends and fads! The renovation and design should enable you and your family enjoyment and comfort for years to come. Suppliers and the shows on TV feature ideas that are designed to sell products which excite an audience…but what is made popular today may not be good for you in the longer run or to a potential buyer in the future.
  17) Plan the organizing, decluttering, packing and storage required to get the renovation underway. On average, it takes at least 30 days to prepare the home or condo for the renovation. At this stage, working with your PM or a trained Organizer is essential to assure that the items discarded as trash really are trash items and not valuable to you. It is essential that you and your family’s possessions are protected and that moving back into the house goes smoothly based on an orderly method of boxing and labeling your household goods as part of the preparation process. Reminder: You or your PM should make arrangements for delivery and location of a dumpster.
 18) Carefully protect your possessions that are valuable, sentimental or fragile. There will be a constant flow of people in and out of the house during the renovation. Nothing is safe!
  19) Work with your PM and the other Professionals to assure that they thoroughly understand Your Goal. It is essential that you, your family and all of the professionals involved in your renovation project understand all of the nuances of why you are renovating. Every family they work with has a different set of motivations and desired outcomes. Make sure your PM schedules regular “Pulse Meetings” so that all parties are aware of the current status of the project. If you have selected the right professionals, they will share in your vision and do everything possible to make your Dreams Come True!
  20) Schedule a Forensic Home Inspection for the entire structure and property. While the renovation itself may only involve a part of your home, the systems and structures are inherently tied together. It is essential to have a forensic inspection to understand the condition of all structures and systems as well as to limit unfortunate and costly surprises.
  21) Schedule the times that you want to be on site to tour and inspect the renovation’s progress. You or your family’s presence can be extremely disruptive to the trades in getting their work accomplished. This will create additional clock hours with additional costs to your project. Let your PM represent you!
  22) Avoid making unnecessary design changes after the PM, Architect, Engineer(s) and Design firm(s) have finalized a renovation plan and budget. Changes cause the overall costs to skyrocket and timelines to become extended. In addition, work that has already been accomplished by the trades may need to be replaced at your cost.
  23) Check all deliveries of materials, fixtures and supplies— Discrepancies are often the norm rather than the exception. Your PM should check all invoices to assure accuracy plus open all boxes and check that the delivery matches the ordered material, quantity, quality and condition. Your PM should reject order discrepancies. The new invoice will need to be adjusted, a new delivery date scheduled, and the trades involved in using the product notified about the delay. The PM will then adjust all timelines involved and provide them to the trades.
  24) Expect the Unexpected. You’ll Sleep Better!
In Conclusion – When embarking on a renovation, the more you plan, the luckier you get and the more rewarding your project becomes! A strategic plan initiated at renovations, renovation goals, renovation expectations, construction dreams, property managementthe beginning of your renovation project is one of the most significant contributing factors to a successful project! As you can see from the above Check-List, a successful project depends in part on being well organized, working with the right people, and              constantly being aware of your surroundings.
 Either you or the Project Manager (PM) needs to be omnipresent – a condition which PPR calls “Onsight Oversight”. You or the PM must have the ability to creatively solve problems and communicate with parties from a multitude of backgrounds who offer diverse skill sets while being constantly aware of Time, Quality and Cost. In addition, the focus must always be on obtaining the desired results.
 Who will be your Project Manager? From inception to completion, a renovation should be a full-time job. It is, in fact, a very big job!

Do you have the time, expertise and patience to oversee the project from start to finish – every day? Or do you think the renovation project would go more smoothly if you worked with a full-time Project Manager (PM), thereby allowing you to attend to your regular work, travel, or leisure schedule while providing you and your family peace-of-mind?

PPR, renovation oversight, your property watchdog

If, upon consideration, you would like to explore the option of hiring a Project Manager, feel free to discuss your Project with PPR at no cost or obligation! Our PPR WatchDog will protect your Real Estate interests and point you in the right directions! 

    Email phil@contactppr.com or 

  Call Direct: 216.577.5579

Don’t Let Your Dream House Become a Nightmare!

Don’t Let Your Dream House Become a Nightmare!

10 Action TipsImportance of Annual Home Inspections

“Though there’s no such thing as a perfect house, the trick is to make… sure the home is free of any major problems before signing on the dotted line.” (Zillo)

If you are planning a home purchase it is critical that you arrange to have experts conduct an in-depth, “forensic”, physical on the home before making a commitment. That way, you will know what additional repair/renovation expenses await you if you choose to purchase.

If you currently own your home, you should give your home a comprehensive physical once a year. When you detect problems early, you can correct them, or have them corrected before you suffer an unexpected disaster. Deferred analysis of your home’s major structures and systems most often results in expensive, budget-busting consuming repairs.

  1. Check Things Out Seasonally – Even if you are not buying or selling a home, you should give your house a physical at least once a year – even better, seasonally. Just like with your personal doctor’s physical, early detection pays off!
  2. Review Your Home Insurance – Is your home covered against unexpected calamities? Read through your home insurance policy(s) and know what is and what is not covered. What are your deductibles? Is your home insured to its replacement value? Check with your insurance broker with questions and when in doubt call several brokers for opinions and quotes.
    • Remember, “Homeowners insurance covers mold damage if it was caused by a “covered” peril or mishap. Learn what mishaps are and are not covered and you will probably determine that your homeowner’s policy will likely not cover mold damage when that mold resulted from a preventable water leak, flooding, or high humidity.” (insurance.com)
  3. Inspect Your Home’s Systems on a Set Schedule – With time, systems deteriorate! Find and read all of your systems and appliance warranties. Inspect all major systems: electrical breakers and service panels; smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors; plumbing connections, valves, toilets and drains; sump pump; water heater; and HVAC units.
    • Note – All of the above are often best left to professionals. Each of these systems requires specific expertise, tools, and equipment.
  4. Control Humidity and Sources of Moisture – When the humidity and moisture combine, it can lead to destructive and health-endangering mildew and mold. Keep the humidity at an ideal low throughout the house–between 30 and 50 percent.
    • Recommendation – Under most circumstances do not use a whole house humidifier! They add unwanted moisture.
  5. Check your walls for Moisture and Mold – Here are three things to do: A) Push on the wall – moisture-damaged drywall will feel soft and spongy, while wood-sheathed walls may feel slightly solid even with a moisture problem. B) Smell the walls – if the wall smells musty, it’s a sure sign of a problem; C) Invest in a moisture meter! They are incredibly powerful and accurate instruments for detecting moisture, which can reveal potential mold colonies. Units start at about $50.00 with non-invasive measurement techniques (no holes in the walls).
    • Note – Mold can be washed off but that will not get to the source. When dealing with mold, this is a job best left to the pros.
  6. Have your home inspected for lead-based paint and radon – Your house could be poisoning you, your family and guests! Since lead was last used as a legal paint ingredient over 35 years ago, most people have no idea what the paint in their current home contains. Radon comes from deep in the earth and is typically found in basements and crawl areas. Heavy concentrations are suspected of having a cancer-causing effect when exposure to radon is continued for years.
    • Caution – Lead paint abatement and radon remediation are best left to professionals!
  7. Inspect Your Home’s Basement, Crawl Spaces and/or Slab – Remember to check the exposed systems in these areas: plumbing, electrical, heating pipes, and ducts; drains, etc. Look for cracks in basement walls that can lead to termite and other problems. Check for mold or water stains on wood, particularly near water lines that may indicate a leak that needs repair.
    1. Reminder – Cracks and water stains may indicate a problem with the foundation. Call a professional!
  8. Inspect Those Often Forgotten Space Above Your Head –- Attics and Crawl Spaces. Inspections should include structural truss damage; insulation; ventilation; water damage; damage around the chimney; condition of electrical conduit and wiring; signs of pests – tiny poop pellets left behind by the critters: squirrels, raccoons, possums, rodents. They often enter attics through the eaves or loose boards. Also, check for signs of carpenter ants and termites–look for piles of wood shavings.
    • Note – Your chimney should be inspected annually, and cleaned periodically. The chimney carries dangerous gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace out of your home.
  9. Check Outdoor Home Features – Regular inspections of the eaves, gutters, and soffits are an essential part of home maintenance because these areas are particularly susceptible to water damage and can be a cause of mold. Undetected problems can lead to unexpected and hefty costs.
    • Reminder – Inspect your property’s trees and bushes. Untrimmed vegetation can cause moisture-related concerns, can stain the siding of your home, can give thieves a hiding place, can promote insect infestation and more. Take preventive action and trim the trees and shrubs away from your home’s foundation and near utility poles.
  10. Get a Sewer or Septic System Inspection – A professional should use a digital camera that is inserted into the sewer line and pushed through to the main line to check for blockages and deterioration.
    • Note – These same digital camera systems can be utilized to inspect your water, heating and drain pipes.

In Closing – While your home should bring your family and your joy, pride, and comfort, homes can be full of surprises! Weather, deterioration, wear and the effects of time can cause the systems in your home to break down. Sometimes these conditions can develop suddenly. Even the most careful homeowners could have home-related issues that require immediate attention without even knowing it. While attempting DIY solutions is often tempting, in most cases the inspections and solutions to problems are best left to professionals.

As Lifehacker points out, “DIY home improvements can definitely be very rewarding, both in terms of saving money and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel as you turn your living space into your dream home. Choose the wrong projects, however, and all your time and effort will be wasted—not to mention you’ll end up paying more to have the work redone correctly. Also, some improvements are just plain dangerous for regular homeowners (even experienced DIYers) to do themselves.”

Bottom Line

Inspecting your entire home annually.A forensic, in-depth, comprehensive home inspection, should be conducted by a team of professionals who are able to assess whether or not the major structures and systems in a house are functioning safely and efficiently.

And that’s what the PPR WatchDog can do for you!!