10 Smart Ideas to Heat Your Home for Less – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection A Couple in a clean homeAs cooler temperatures begin to sweep the nation, homeowners are turning on their heat for the first time in months. With every degree increase on the thermostat, utility bills follow suit.

A warm, comfortable home shouldn’t cost you a small fortune. Luckily, there are some simple strategies from Boston Home Inspection for combating the chill while lowering heating costs at the same time.

Change the filters
The summer and fall months are a prime time for airborne allergens and microbes, which can clog furnace filters and inhibit airflow. This makes your furnace work harder and in turn, costs you more. Change your filters monthly to help open airflow and save money.

Embrace the sun
Want to help heat your home for free during the winter? Pay attention to the sun. Try opening curtains on south-facing windows and the radiant heat from the sun will help naturally heat your home. Just remember to close them at night to keep out the evening chill.

Use a programmable thermostat
You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Use a programmable thermostat to change the temperature for time periods you are sleeping or away from home. Some air conditioning systems can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app like “Smart AC,” which works seamlessly with 
LG duct-free systems, allowing the homeowners to wirelessly connect, control and monitor the temperature through an easy-to-use smartphone app.

Consider installing a duct-free mini-split system to provide zoned heating
Instead of moving air through ductwork as central heating and air conditioning systems do, duct-free systems deliver warm conditioned air directly into a room. Duct-free systems like those from LG provide high-performance zone heating, allowing homeowners to keep their bedrooms toasty warm at night when it’s frigid outside, while turning the heat down (or off!) in the rest of the home to help save energy.

Clear heat registers
One common mistake homeowners make is covering heat registers with furniture, toys or other items that block the heat flow. To improve heating efficiency, inspect all heat registers in your home and remove anything that’s blocking them.

Seal leaks and lock windows
Phantom heat loss is a huge energy drain. Test for leaks by using a flashlight to see if light filters through cracks or try pulling a dollar bill through. Then, seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs, chimneys and recessed lights with spray foam. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal windows and doorway drafts. Don’t forget to close and lock windows and doors. Locking pulls the components tight against the weather-stripping to block cold air from entering the home.

Consider installing an Energy Star certified heating system
Energy Star certified energy-efficient products provide superior performance while saving energy to help lessen the impact on the world around us. The EPA Energy Star program identifies heating and cooling products that are energy efficient and can save you money.

Use your fireplace wisely
The warmth and ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace are hard to beat on a chilly day. But to ensure you don’t lose valuable heat when the fireplace is not in use, always remember to close the damper when the fire is completely out.

Fill attic insulation
When was the last time you checked your attic’s insulation? Heat rises – so if you don’t have proper insulation in your attic, you’re losing money. Start by checking to make sure insulation is evenly spread throughout your attic. Then, visit 
energy.gov/energysaver/insulation to learn recommended insulation amounts for your region.

Lower your water heater temperature
Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Consider setting your water heater to a lower setting of 120 Fahrenheit and you’ll still enjoy hot showers without a utility bill that will scald you.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

4 DIY Projects for Your First Home – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection Beautiful Outside View“Where should I start?” It’s a question many homeowners ask themselves.

DIY is a great place to start for new homeowners. DIY projects are very versatile – they can easily be adapted to your skill level, budget and desired project. With a little extra time and creativity, you can transform your home. Take these steps from Boston Home Inspection for your DIY projects.

Other benefits to choosing a DIY project are that they are typically more cost-effective than the alternative and they offer an added sense of ownership and pride in your home.

Since DIY project ideas are endless, it’s important to choose ones that will improve your home’s value at a reasonable cost. A DIY project should make your life easier and more enjoyable. These are some top recommended DIY projects for first-time homeowners. They won’t break the bank but they will deliver a bang for your buck.

1. Add crown molding or update casing and trim. The addition of crown molding to the top of interior walls is a subtle change with big impact. Casing, which is the trim around doors and windows, can also make a huge difference. The replacement of dated crown molding, casing or trim can make a room look newly updated. Go one step further with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you’ll basically have an entirely new room. For more information on how to install crown molding, check out these simple steps.

2. Replace doors. Doors are often forgettable, but don’t have to be. Replace hollow core bedroom, bathroom and closet doors with wood alternatives for an instant dash of richness. And don’t limit yourself to traditionally-styled options. From specialty woods to glass panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

3. Clean and refinish your wood deck. As long as your wood is in good shape, all you need is deck cleaner and wood stain to turn something dated into the focal point of your backyard. You can buy deck cleaner at your local hardware store. Wood deck stains are available there or at a paint store. You’ll be amazed to see weathered wood look like new again. If you haven’t cleaned or refinished a deck before, here are step-by-step instructions.

4. Update your closets. Add built-in shelving or simply streamline clothes hangers for an organizational boost you’ll thank yourself for every day. Or you can tackle a popular closet upgrade: lining a traditional closet with cedar. Natural cedar looks great, smells great and keeps moths and mildew away. It’s a classic and high-end upgrade that’s not terribly expensive or time-intensive. When your friends or family open your closet, they will be pleasantly surprised.

Use tongue-and-groove cedar to line some or all of an existing closet. You can leave baseboards in place if they’re thicker than the cedar. If not, remove them with a pry bar before the cedar installation. Use nails to attach the cedar to the wall studs, or adhere them with a construction adhesive. Prepare to feel like a bona fide fancy grown-up when it’s done!

These are just a fraction of the many DIY projects possibilities. The most important piece of advice is to have fun and don’t be afraid to try new things. The more DIY projects you complete, the more confident you’ll feel. To get started, pencil in a dedicated DIY day on your calendar and enjoy the process!

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

4 important tips for planning a kitchen remodel – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection a woman washing her hands offKitchen upgrades can seem daunting. From full renovations to hardware updates, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your dream kitchen. To make the process as smooth as possible, Delta Faucet compiled key tips to keep in mind as you embark on the remodeling journey. Learn these quick guidelines from Boston Home Inspection that will help you focus on the end result and ensure the overall experience is enjoyable.

Storage solutions

Determine storage needs based on how you work. Take inventory of kitchen tools and accessories to determine your path forward. For example, install a cabinet near the stove specifically tailored for pots and pans, or add a narrow cabinet by the oven to house cookie sheets and trays within easy reach. If you rarely use your food processor or slow cooker, choose a cabinet out of the way to guarantee storage space for the items you will need to access more readily. Plan a designated place for every kitchen utensil and appliance to avoid messy drawers and cluttered cabinets.

An island for your needs

A multifunctional island delivers additional storage and prep space to almost any kitchen. Customize your island area based on your cooking and entertaining style. Make the most out of the space to fit your needs. Avid cooks who prepare many big meals might consider including a prep sink for rinsing fruits and vegetables. Conversely, those who love to entertain can use the island to add counter space for hors d’oeuvres and accommodate bar stools.

Faucet functionality

Few people enjoy rinsing messy dishes, but the proper faucet can make this chore easy and carefree. Blending design and functionality, the Delta Mateo Kitchen Faucet with optional Touch2O Technology is an ideal choice for any kitchen redesign. Touch2O Technology with the TempSense system allows the faucet to be turned on and off with just a touch, simplifying kitchen tasks during food prep and clean-up. An LED light at the base of the faucet changes color from blue to red to alert users to the water’s temperature and avoid surprises. Beyond innovative technology, the faucet’s transitional design — inspired by the Italian countryside — works well with a variety of style preferences, creating a beautiful kitchen focal point.

Quick and easy design upgrades

When designing the kitchen of your dreams, take into consideration that tastes and styles are ever evolving. Peel-and-stick backsplashes are budget-friendly as well as quick and easy to install. If your favorite finish or pattern preference changes in a few years, simply replace with a new design for an appealing refresh.

Take the time to plan appropriately with these four tips in mind and you will create a space perfectly tailored to all your kitchen needs. For more information, visit deltafaucet.com.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

Easy DIY tips to save on your winter energy bills – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection a man measuringHere’s what Americans have to look forward to this winter: While the south will be drier and warmer, the northern U.S. can expect “wetter, cooler conditions,” predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

As a homeowner, what can you do to get ready for the season’s frigid blasts, in order to keep your family warm and comfortable while avoiding heart-stopping heating bills? Here are DIY Tips from Boston Home Inspection to save on your winter bills.

Whether you have an older or a newer home, chances are it could use additional insulation to make it more energy efficient. Approximately 90 percent of U.S. single-family homes are under-insulated, according to research conducted by Boston University for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. With proper insulation, “residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent,” says Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor of environmental health at Boston University.

Fortunately, adding insulation in a few key spots in the home isn’t difficult, and is within the skill level of many do-it-yourselfers. Two key areas to check for proper insulation are the attic hatch and basement walls.

If your home’s hatch to the attic is above a heated space (versus in an “unconditioned” space such as the garage), it could be a prime source for heat loss. “Hot air rises, and many attic hatches are not properly sealed and insulated, so homeowners can be losing big money through that opening,” says Tom Savoy, technical director for Insulfoam. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends inspecting the attic hatch to make sure it is “at least as heavily insulated as the attic, is weather stripped, and closes tightly.” For the insulation, homeowners can easily cut and attach rigid foam panels made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or graphite polystyrene (GPS), notes Savoy.

Rigid foam insulation is also easy to install on basement walls, in garages and attics. Some manufacturers even offer DIY Insulation Kits to help simplify the job. Available at home improvement stores nationwide, such kits can be used for a quick weekend project to boost your home’s energy savings.

Because insulating the attic hatch and basement walls happens inside the home, you can complete these jobs even in the dead of winter in order to start seeing immediate savings on your energy bills.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

Valentine’s $25 Off Boston Home Inspection Special

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Metro Boston Property Inspections logo. Metro Boston Property Inspections has been providing 5-Star Home Inspections, Buyer's Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection, Mold Screening, WDI Certifications and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Boston, Quincy, Milton, Westwood, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Wellesley, Weston, Lexington and the surrounding areas since 2006.Metro Boston Property Inspections has been providing 5-Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection, Mold Screening, WDI Certifications and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Boston, Quincy, Milton, Westwood, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Wellesley, Weston, Lexington and the surrounding areas since 2006.

4 Easy Ways to Pest-Proof Your Home – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection a huge ratIt’s late and you’re in your favorite, cozy pajamas. You get in bed and pull up the warm comforter. You turn out the light and are just about to drift off to sleep when you hear a noise coming from the attic. You sit up to listen, but it quickly goes quiet again. You lay back down and close your eyes, and just as you fall asleep, the noise is back, this time it’s coming from inside the wall.

You have a visitor — an unwanted visitor.

As much as we all enjoy our cozy homes, they are also the perfect setting for pests like rats, mice and raccoons to snuggle up and escape the cold air, too.

“There’s nothing more unsettling than knowing you and your family may not be the only ones enjoying this season indoors,” said Buck Hempel, manager of wildlife services at the pest control company Terminix. “Luckily, there’s still time to prepare your home to prevent critters from finding their way in.”

Whether you’ve already noticed signs of pest activity or just want more peace of mind at home, use these four preventative tips from Boston Home Inspection to eliminate and prevent potential pest infestations.

  1. Seal off entry points to stop rodents from squeezing in.

Rodents can enter through holes as small as a dime, and will use any vulnerable opening to get in—from your foundation to your roofline. To keep these unwelcome intruders out, start by checking the perimeter of your home and repairing any small cracks or holes. In order to prevent rodents from chewing through these sealed areas, layer your sealing work by stuffing it first with a metal mesh, such as steel wool, and then sealing it down with caulk. This can also help keep summer pests such as spiders and ants at bay.

Don’t forget to check for gaps around conduit pipes, worn-out door sweeps and garage seals, as well as torn screens behind gables and roof vents. And, avoid leaving your doors open unnecessarily—even between trips to the car for groceries.

  1. Secure food sources to eliminate the attraction.

Pests are not picky eaters. Once they find a food source, they are notorious for overstaying their welcome (and inviting friends). While critters can thrive in even the cleanest of houses, homeowners should remove any temptations by sweeping up spills and crumbs immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends storing food in airtight containers made of thick plastic or metal. This is especially important when storing pet food or bird seed in the garage.

  1. Clear up clutter in your yard.

Stacks of firewood, old tires or other debris leaning against your exterior walls are a perfect, protected pathway around your house. Leave at least a foot of space between these items and your home, and move mulch away, too. Then, clean out your gutters and remove any dead leaves. Not only do piles of colorful fall foliage make for the perfect autumn Instagram photo, but raking these away from your home can help prevent pests like earwigs and snakes from finding warmth and building nests.

Homeowners with green thumbs should also thoroughly clean out planters before bringing them in for winter, as spiders will often lay eggs at the bottom of pots to hatch next spring.

  1. Know when to call in the pros.

As with most home improvement projects, there are great do-it-yourself methods available to prevent pest control issues in your home. However, waiting until it’s too late to call in a certified professional can be dangerous and lead to major damage, costing you money and time. Pest control companies like Terminix offer free pest inspections to assess your home, and if needed, can remove any critters that may have settled in. To keep your family worry-free, they will seal any entry points to ensure winter pests can’t return.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

4 Tips to Help Keep Your Home Warm, Comfortable and Energy Efficient This Winter – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection Toddler's feet over mom's feetWith winter comes the holiday season, a time that’s supposed to be associated with “comfort and joy.” Learn these tips from Boston Home Inspection to make your home warm. But how joyful will it be if pests invade your house, or if your home is cold and drafty? Help stay warm all winter long by addressing factors like air leaks from gaps and cracks that can make your home feel uncomfortable.

“Drafts and heat loss are common problems in the winter, and they affect homes of every age, size and construction,” says Gary Parsons, fellow at The Dow Chemical Company. “Those factors can seriously affect your home’s energy efficiency and how comfortable it feels. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to deal with issues like air leaks and insulation, and doing so can significantly improve your home’s function and livability.”

Parsons suggests these steps to help ensure a draft-free, pest-free and comfy home this winter season:

Seal cracks and gaps

Gaps and cracks throughout the home allow hot air to escape and cold air and pests to enter. Energy Star estimates that homes can have a half mile or more of cracks around doors, windows and sill plates alone, and those aren’t the only places in a home where gaps can exist. Air duct joints, points where piping enters a home, and anywhere wood meets concrete (such as around the foundation) are locations where cracks and gaps can occur.

Sealing cracks can help prevent air leakage, improve a home’s overall energy efficiency and block out pests and insects. In fact, homeowners can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling by air sealing their homes and adding insulation, according to Energy Star.

Even do-it-yourself novices can easily and quickly seal cracks and gaps in their homes. Products like GREAT STUFF(R) Gaps & Cracks and GREAT STUFF(R) Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealants are specially formulated to seal gaps and cracks, blocking out air, moisture and even pests. The ready-to-use insulating foam sealants can fill gaps up to 1 inch. When using the product, be sure to follow safety guidelines, including covering all skin, using gloves and safety goggles, and keeping the work area well ventilated.

Check insulation

Insulation is like a blanket that your home wears to help keep everyone inside warm and cozy. If your home doesn’t have the right amount or type of insulation for your climate, it can lose heat, energy efficiency and comfort. About 90 percent of existing homes don’t have enough insulation, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Follow Energy Star’s guidelines for more information on how to check your insulation to see if your home could benefit from adding more.

Take care of the HVAC system

If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system isn’t working as well as it could, you’re sacrificing comfort and increasing your energy bills. Make sure to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall to ensure they are operating efficiently.

Have the ducts inspected and seal any leaks. Be sure to change air filters regularly, per the system manufacturer’s recommendation for filter type and frequency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty air filters restrict airflow, making HVAC systems work harder and consume more energy to heat your home.

Don’t overlook little things

Things as simple as a forgotten window left cracked in summer months or neglecting to close the flue in your wood-burning fireplace can all affect the amount of heat and comfort that escape your home in the winter.

Before the weather turns very cold, make a sweep through your home and check for these minor but important points:

* Windows – Are all your windows closed? If you’ve recently sealed around windows, you probably opened them for ventilation. Double check to be sure you remembered to close them.

* Thermostat – Is yours properly programmed to optimize energy use by adjusting the temperature when you’re out of the house? Proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut energy bills by nearly $200 per year, according to Energy Star.

* Ceiling fans – you can use ceiling fans to supplement your furnace during the winter, but you have to remember to reverse the air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down from the ceiling during winter.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

New Year’s Plan to Get Fiscally Fit on Buying Your First Home – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection Christmas OrnamentsSo buying a new home tops your list of New Year’s resolutions. Follow these steps from Boston Home Inspection to get fiscally fit. As you picture the big moment – the one where you pull up to your dream home in your moving truck, sprint up and unlock your front door – you probably understand there’s something you need to do first. You need to get your finances in shape.

Just like those who make resolutions to run a marathon, making this big investment starts with a plan. Runners know that if they run a certain distance each day, it gets them closer to accomplishing their goal.

“The same is true, in many ways, when it comes to buying a home,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “Before taking on a loan, many home buyers find they need to build their ‘financial muscles’ and establish ‘healthy’ money habits.”

By following a few tips to reach financial fitness goals, you, too can achieve the goal of home ownership.

Do those daily sprints

People who reach their fitness goals begin with a look at their current habits and then make a plan to replace them with better ones. The same is true for homebuyers. First, look at the spending choices you’ve been making, and review three to six months’ worth of bank statements. Consider what is necessary and what needs to cut back. The goal is to trim the fat in your budget so you can use the extra money to reduce your debt and increase your savings.

Crunch your debt

Take a look at your debts and consider the monthly payments you make. Are there any debts standing in the way of making a house payment affordable? Those are the ones you want to knock out with an accelerated payment plan, using the money you freed up by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Try focusing on one debt at a time, paying close attention to the ones with the highest interest rates to pay off first.

Beef up your credit score

The good habits you exercise today will make all the difference on your interest rate later. Put in the extra work to raise your credit score. Your credit score pulls together many details from your past and current debts as well as other financial factors, and helps lenders determine your creditworthiness. Making the effort to raise your score is worthwhile because shaving off even one-quarter of a percentage point from a mortgage loan can potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage. A credit score factors your history of on-time payments, the amount you owe on your debts, the type of credit you have, the age of that debt and any recently opened new credit lines as well as other factors. You may be able to improve your score and get the lowest possible interest rate on a home loan if you follow these “reps” every month: pay all your bills on time, don’t close old credit card accounts and don’t open new lines of credit.

Increase your intake of savings

Even when paying down debt, it’s still a good idea to start a small savings plan so you have some cash to fall back on if, say, you need to go to the doctor or get new tires for your car. Start by opening a savings account and set up automatic transfers each month. Even with $50 a month, you’ll have $600 in one year, which could bail you out of a number of small emergencies. Eventually, once your debts are paid off, you can divert those payments right into savings, which also can build your down payment for that new dream home

Prepare for the big event

All these steps lead to one main event: buying a home. Once you meet those smaller goals – following a budget, eliminating debt, raising your credit score, and saving for your down payment – you’re ready for the final push toward home ownership.

First, figure out how much home you can afford: look at home prices in your area, use an online loan calculator to estimate your payments, and go through your budget. Then gather up the financial documents you’ll need, including proof of employment, bank statements and tax statements. Finally, choose a lender that is right for you. Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. has many programs that can fit many kinds of buyers. Perhaps you’re getting your first mortgage, have perfect credit, and in some cases, less-than-perfect credit. All loan programs are subject to credit approval and restrictions apply. Contact Vanderbilt for details. If you are interested in learning more about Vanderbilt, visit, http://www.vmfhomeloan.com. Vanderbilt is a Berkshire Hathaway national housing lender that has been in business for more than 40 years and has helped families just like yours find the right financing program.

“Following these habits can be challenging from a motivation standpoint,” Hamilton says. “It takes patience, but once you’ve followed the steps to get financially healthy, it is a very rewarding experience.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

4 Questions Smart Homeowners Must Ask Remodelers – Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection Home RemodelersIf you’re like millions of Americans, you’re doing some sort of home improvement project within the next year. Have you thought about how you’ll select your remodeler? Here are 4 questions to ask your remodeler from Boston Home Inspection. Don’t be wooed by beautiful before-and-after photos – they are created to grab your attention and impress you, but they don’t tell the whole story.

For example, when you review a restaurant, you don’t base your rating just on the food. You expect an excellent experience, including a welcoming atmosphere and attentive service during the meal. Similarly, the overall impression of your remodeling project will be based on how you and your family were treated by the remodeling firm and its subcontractors from start to finish.

You can take the first steps toward a livable remodeling experience by asking your potential remodeler about what will happen during the project. Your home, in essence, will become a construction zone for weeks, months or longer. During that time, you and your family could be mired in a dangerous dust bowl, weeks away from seeing your living area turn into the showplace you envisioned.

Here are four key questions to ask contractors about ensuring a livable remodeling experience:

  1. What is the work schedule and projected timeline for this project? Agree on a working schedule that fits with your family’s lifestyle, but be willing to make modifications when necessary. Make sure the timeline includes project milestones as well as other important dates, such as when a utility will likely be disrupted or paint fumes could be bothersome.
  2. What are the potential risks associated with this remodel? While no one can predict every obstacle that will arise on a job site, both remodelers and homeowners should take safety precautions and be prepared for setbacks. Find out what chemicals, materials, tools and other equipment will be used in your home and how they will be stored when not in use. Being aware of potential dangers is key in keeping your family safe.
  3. What are your dust control practices? Exposure to small dust particles can cause serious health issues affecting both the lungs and the heart, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The threat is magnified when anyone in the home has breathing issues, allergies or other chronic conditions. Select a remodeler that follows dust control best practices, including isolating the work area, sealing vents and air ducts and establishing negative air pressure while maintaining proper ventilation. Ask if they use an air scrubber to collect and eliminate dust particles before they’re able to migrate throughout your home.
  4. How can I help you? That’s right – you, the homeowner – can be a help or hindrance to the progress of the project. Find out what you can do to make it go as smoothly as possible. In addition to keeping children and pets away from the work area, try not to distract or hover over your remodeling team so that they can work safely and efficiently.

A quick search online can provide insight on which top remodelers are in your area. As a homeowner, you also need to ask the right questions and communicate your specific requirements to the contractor, ensuring a smoother, more comfortable experience for everyone involved.

See how you can work with your contractor to ensure livable remodeling by following these tips.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

Tips to Stop Drafts, Save Money and Improve Your Home with Boston Home Inspection

Boston Home Inspection A Woman holding a fireplace plugCan you imagine keeping your windows open all winter long?  Learn the tips to save drafts, money and improve your home with Boston Home Inspection. The heat loss, cold drafts and all that money spent on wasted energy would be staggering. But if your home has folding pull-down attic stairs, a whole-house fan, a fireplace or clothes dryer, you may be doing the equivalent of leaving the windows open every day.

Drafts from these often-overlooked spaces waste energy and cost you big in the form of higher energy bills. They are also the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home.

Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits that caulk and weather-stripping provide to minimize energy loss and drafts. But what can you do about drafts from the four largest energy leaks in your home – the folding attic stairs, the whole house fan, the fireplace and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these areas.

Attic stairs

When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

Because your attic space is ventilated directly to the outdoors, the attic space can be very cold in the winter, and in the summer it can be very hot. And what is separating your conditioned house from your unconditioned attic? Only a thin sheet of plywood.

Try this yourself: at night, turn on the attic light and shut the attic stairway door. If you see any light coming through, it means your heated and air-conditioned air is leaking out of these large gaps in your home, 24-hours a day.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an insulated attic stair cover that seals the stairs and stops drafts and energy loss. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Whole-house fans and air-conditioning vents

When whole-house fans are installed, a large hole (up to 16 square feet or larger) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only the drafty ceiling shutter between you and the outdoors.

An easy solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan shutter seal. Made from white textured flexible insulation, you simply install the seal over the ceiling shutter, secure it with Velcro, and trim it to fit.

The shutter seal can also be used to seal and insulate air conditioning vents, and is easily removed when desired.

Fireplaces

It’s ironic that while fireplaces are intended to heat up a house, they can create some seriously cold drafts.

Fireplaces, especially during the winter heating season, are energy losers. One study showed that an open damper on an unused fireplace in a well-insulated house can raise overall heating-energy consumption by 30 percent. Another recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher each winter because of the drafts and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

Even if the damper is shut, it’s not air-tight, and glass doors don’t stop the drafts either. Your chimney is an opening that leads directly outdoors – just like an open window and like a giant straw sucking your expensive heated or air-conditioned air right out of your house!

A simple way to avoid this problem is to add a Fireplace Plug to your fireplace. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, the Fireplace Plug is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes dryer exhaust ducts

In many homes, the room with the clothes dryer is the coldest room in the house. In the winter, cold drafts come in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house. Many dryer vents use a sheet-metal flapper to try to reduce these drafts. This is very primitive technology that does not provide a positive seal to stop the drafts.

Compounding the problem is that over time, lint clogs the flapper valve, causing it to stay open.

A surprisingly simple solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted drafts, and also keeps out pests, bees and rodents. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

For more information on Battic Door’s energy conservation solutions and products for your home, visit www.batticdoor.com or, to request a free catalog, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box 15, Mansfield, MA 02048.

Whiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection LogoWhiting Environmental Boston Massachusetts Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

Whiting Environmental will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Boston City area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Whiting Environmental Building Inspection, Tod Whiting prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (617) 202-3919 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!