Home » Archives for Liz Hammond

A/C Maintenance Check List.

We recommend that a professional HVAC specialist come and service your unit for you when it is needed. However, there are some things you can do yourself to Maintain your unit and keep it working and kicking out the cool air when you need it.

Note: Turn off all power and disconnect switches before performing inspections/maintenance on the unit yourself.

Maintain your a/c check list icon

A/C Home owner Maintenance check list.

snow flake
  • Maintain records.
  • Change out the filter as often as required. (Sometimes once a month).
  • Switch to high/low returns at the start and end of winter going into spring.
  • Listen to the unit for any unusual noises and call an HVAC specialist if it is concerning.
  • Check that the drain lines are draining correctly.
  • Look for water leaks or changes in the system.
  • Clean up weeds and plants from around your unit.
  • Keep the exterior coil clean.
  • Keep the exterior unit level and away from landscaping materials.
  • Make sure the inside supply and return registers are not blocked.

Home Owner Heat Pump Maintenance Check List.

fire to represent heat
  • Schedule professional service yearly
  • Watch for ice forming on the exterior unit.
  • Follow the maintenance recommended for the central air conditioning above.


It is gearing up to be a nice warm summer. You want to make sure that your A/C unit is working at its best. The best way to do that is to maintain your unit every year. Regular maintenance will not only keep your unit nice and cold when you need it most but, will keep it working longer.


A home inspection is not only for when you are purchasing or selling a home. It can also help you know what things are happening in your home while your living there. Having a plan will help you get to where you want your home to be. A home inspection will help you form your game plan to a well maintained home for years to come.

New Home Budget

Home Inspection:5 Questions Before Hiring a Home Inspector.

What is a home inspection? A lot of people think that being a home inspector is easy work and easy money. I can tell you from experience it is not at all easy. It is however, very rewarding. You probably do not hear the phrase ”Home Inspector” until you are buying your first home. So, what does a home inspector do?

A home inspector is a highly trained licensed professional that goes through your soon to be home and looks for defects, safety hazards, and looks to see what needs some maintenance. The inspection is a limited visual inspection of the readily available systems of the home. They will know witch contractors to call and recommend them to get the problems fixed. They do this because the contractor will know how to take apart the system in question and how to fix it.

Home inspectors are very knowledgeable on all home systems and are there to give you a closer look into what you are purchasing. They give you the tools you need to move forward into negotiations.You can read more about home inspections and why they are important here.

Buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase you will make in awhile. You want to be sure you aren’t purchasing a money pit.

Now that you know what a home inspector does, it is time to know how to choose the right home inspector for you. Here are 5 very important questions to ask when you schedule your home inspection.

1. Home Inspectors Credentials

Home inspector Credentials

Make sure to know the company you are hiring. The internet is a big place and almost everyone has a website. See what they are all about.

  • Are the inspectors licensed and up to date on their license? Some states do not require a license. Just because a state requires a license doesn’t mean all the home inspectors in that state will be licensed or be up to date on it. Its a good idea to ask.
  • How many years of experience does the inspector/s have? Compare to the other inspectors in your area. asking how long a company has been in business is different than asking the inspectors experience. You can follow that up with how many inspections they have completed. the more completed inspection the more experience they have.
  • Look at their online reviews. Don’t just look at the ratings. actually read some of them the good and the bad. Also, you can learn a lot about a company from how that company replies to 1 star reviews.

2. Home Inspection Report.

Home inspection report

The report is the product you are paying for so naturally you want to ask some questions about it.

  1. Report turn around.
    • Maybe you are needing the report very quickly and knowing what the report turn around time can be a factor on who you choose to perform your inspection.
  2. Does the report have pictures?
    • Only a description of the defects will not show you the whole picture. Pun Intended.
  3. Ask to see a sample report.
    • If you want to have a better idea on how your report will look ask about a sample report to look at. make sure it has pictures and is easy to understand.

3.What Does the Inspection Report Include/Exclude?

  • Do you walk the roof? If you cannot safely walk the roof what do you do?
  • Do you inspect the attic?
  • Will you go into the crawlspace?
  • Do you inspected detached garages or buildings? ( For an additional fee most inspectors will.)
  • Does the full home cover insurance inspections (east coast specific? Again for an extra fee most inspectors can add this to your full home inspection.)
  • Does the inspection cover the pool?
  • Do you do WDO/termite inspections or can you set one up at the same time as the home inspection?
  • Does the inspection cover the sprinkler system? (For an extra fee some will inspect the irrigation systems if requested.)


Home inspection agreement

Will you need to sign an agreement for the home inspection? If an inspector does not ask you to sign an agreement this can be a problem. The agreement will outline the things that are inspected and what is not inspected. It will set the expectations and help everyone evolved understand the nature of the inspection and helps avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Make sure to read over the agreement and understand it. if you have questions about the agreement make sure to ask before signing.

5.How Long Will the Inspection Take?

Home inspection clock

This can be a tricky question but most home inspectors will have an average time frame for you. The amount of time the inspection takes can depend on the home and a few other factors. For example a home that is older, has a crawl space and attic will take longer to inspect than a newer home. Even a larger newer home will go quicker than a smaller older home.

Some companies send out more than one inspector to help the inspections go faster. So, the time it takes for an inspection doesn’t necessarily depict how thorough the inspector is.

Ask Multiple Companies.

When you are looking for a home inspection company you could go with the ones referred to you. However, call all the companies on the list. Ask them these questions and get a feel for who they are. See if they answer the phones. Don’t only shop on price. Use a number of factors to decide who to go with. Not every inspector is made the same and you can find out a lot by asking the right questions.

Prevent Damage, Clean Your Gutters.

dirty gutters should be cleaned to prevent damage.

As we come out of Winter and into the rainy season it is a wonderful time to clean out your gutters. Why, do gutters need to be cleaned? I’m so glad you asked! Whether the gutters are cleaned by you or a professional, the gutters of your home should be cleaned at least twice a year to prevent damage. Here are five reasons why cleaning your gutters prevents damage and makes for a happy and good looking home.

Clean gutters prevents damage to your home.

moisture damage on the door and exterior walls. get gutters to prevent damage

It is recommended that your gutters are cleaned twice a year. Doing this will avoid the risks of water damage. Not maintaining the gutters can cause damage on the exterior and interior of your home. Water travels the path of least resistance, it will trickle into any cracks in the exterior walls. This trickle may not seem like a big deal however, overtime it can cause mold in the walls and extensive water damage to your home.

Clogged gutters and downspouts push the water through the roofing structure since it has nowhere else to go. That can cause roof leaks and water damage in the attic and eventually come through the ceiling.

Clean gutters can prevent damage to the foundation.

Lilies growing from the foundation
less water pooling will prevent damage to the foundation.

Having clean gutters helps to prevent damage to your foundation. The gutter system on your home has a big responsibility. It protects the foundation from pooling water during heavy rainfall. Gutters will help move the bulk of the rain water away from the home. Having clean gutters will make sure the water is directed away from your foundation. Erosion and pooling water will weaken the foundation leading to cracks, settlement, and shifting. These issues are very expense to fix and would need immediate attention. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a small price to pay to insure your foundation stays where it’s supposed to.

Clean gutters reduces pests and prevents damage created by


prevent damage by rats, termites, cockroaches, mice, birds, mosquitos, and ants.

Clogged and dirty gutters are very attractive for pests and rodents. Cleaning the gutters can prevent them from causing damage your home. Gross leaves, sticks, and debris is very attractive to pests, a regularly cleaned gutter is less attractive. Pests are not only a health hazard for your family they also cause damage to your home if left untreated. When your gutters are clean it prevents rot from occurring which is especially attractive to pests. So, clean those gutters, it will keep those pesky pests away…. most of the time anyways.

Clean gutters improve curb appeal.

foliage on top of a roof remove to prevent damage.

Having clean gutters wont be the only factor that will sell your home or keep the HOA off your back however, keeping the gutters clean will give your home a fresh look. It shows you care for your home. This is especially attractive to buyers because they pay top dollar for a home that has been taken care of. Having clean gutters will not be the only good looking thing on your home. The absence of extensive water damage also looks very good to potential buyers. Your landscaping will look better, you wont have sagging gutters or water stained siding. Whether you are wanting to sell your home or have a beautiful home to come home to, clean gutters will get you there.


Taking an hour or two twice a year to clean your gutters will save you money from damage and give your home a nice clean look that you are happy to come home to. Just a little work now will do wonders to your home and keep it upright for generations to come. A kept home is a happy one!

Check out our blog on roofs here.

The BBB! (Best Banana Bread)

Getting Started with Banana Bread

A couple weeks ago I was talking about eating on a budget. You can check that article out here. This banana bread is my absolute favorite. It is my moms recipe and it never fails. You can add any filling or toppings you like. In this one a added dark chocolate chips on the top only. It was delicious however, I enjoy the cinnamon crumble on the top much better. The ingredients for this bread are probably already in your pantry staples. Plus those pesky bananas never get eaten before going ripe so this is the perfect opportunity to make a mouth watering desert or snack. When your living on a budget you learn a thing or two on how to make some simple ingredients into something scrumptious for your family. Lets take a look at what you need.

Banana Bread ingredients and kitchen mixer.

My Process

mashed bananas

I like to use three bowls when making this bread. The mixing bowl for the stand mixer will contain the butter and sugar mixture. Be sure to beat the butter and sugars until it is light and fluffy before adding the other ingredients.

The second bowl is for sifting the dry ingredients together.

The third is for the bananas and buttermilk.

Notes: I make my own buttermilk with 1/4 cup of milk and 2tsp of lemon juice. I just use what I have on hand at the time. It still turns out delicious!

Banana bead batter in loaf pan

Ingredients For the Banana Bread

After getting all your ingredients together preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease/flour a bread loaf pan to reduce the bread sticking during cooking.

After you have all the ingredients ready you will add the dry ingredients and the banana mixture alternately. Making sure the batter is completely combined each time.

sifting flour

After I poured the batter into the loaf pan I added a handful of dark chocolate chips on top to add another layer of flavor. You can add nuts, mini chocolate chips and cherries, or a cinnamon crumble to the top of the batter before baking it. This recipe is so versatile that almost any combination will taste amazing!

This recipe makes one loaf of banana bread however, it is easy to double or triple the recipe to make extra and freeze for later.

This bread stays fresh for about three days. Store in an air tight container or zip lock bag.

Sliced Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Serving Size:
1hr 15Min


  • 1/2 cup butter/ softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 3 Tbsp butter milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon/save for later
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar/Save for later


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5” loaf pan and set aside.
  2. With a standing mixer cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until light, fluffy and smooth. Once smooth add the egg and vanilla to the mixture. Beat on medium until completely combined.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Peel and mash the ripe bananas and mix the butter milk in. For home made butter milk check notes above.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the banana and milk mixture stirring or mixing until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on the top of the batter
  8. Bake at 350 for 45 mins to an hour or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool and enjoy.
  10. Store in a zip lock bag or sealed container up to 3 days. It probably wont last that long.
Money Saving Tips $100 Bills

Money saving Tips.

Save money bag

The subject of money has been a big deal since the beginning of human history. Even in Bible times money became a problem for many people. There has always been a need for money or trading of goods to survive in all societies. Lately it seems like simply paying the bills is getting harder, especially with the ever rising prices in daily essentials. So, saving money really gets put on the back burner. For the average American, the cost of living has gone up by almost 4% since 2008! Our dollar just doesn’t stretch like it used to. Did you know inflation is a normal process of life? However, there are steps you can take to help get out of debt and save money in the process.

Money saving tip one: Have a Plan.

save money clip board with plans

My family lives by the motto “you don’t work, you don’t eat. There are no free lunches.” To achieve goals, whatever they may be, you need a plan. Set realistic expectations for yourself and work hard to achieve your goals. “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” -Anthony Robbins-

Nothing in life goes exactly to plan and you can’t predict every outcome. Sometimes you will stumble and fall. Sometimes you seem to have it all figured out. Having a solid goal and knowing your “why” will help keep you on track to reach your goals. Maybe that looks like owning a home, having a family, your dream career, or financial freedom. Maybe it is all of the above. Mars is the limit when you have a goal and work toward it everyday. I want to encourage you and provide a positive solution to help you navigate your way through these troubling times financially. I don’t have everything figured out either I’m just like you. Trying to be better than I was yesterday. Be positive and have a plan!

Money saving tip two: Eat simple meals at home.

simple save money food items

Eat at home. Eating out can be very expensive. Even with the price of groceries it is still more expensive to eat out. Especially with a bigger family. Eating simple meals at home can save you hundreds of dollars a month. There was a time we ate beans and cheese for dinner every night for a month. We did what we had to do to survive. Sometimes life isn’t about thriving its about surviving. Just keeping it real.

Additionally, shop the sales when ever possible and buy in bulk.

Tips for saving money at the grocery store. Found on The Humbled Homemaker.com

Simple breakfasts:

1. Oatmeal and fruit

2. Yogurt with fruit or granola

3. Home made French toast

4. Breakfast burritos

5. Smoothies

6. Cereal

Simple lunch/dinners:

  1. Peanut butter and jelly

2. Tuna salad sandwiches

3. Rice and beans

4. Broccoli cheese rice

5. Baked potatoes loaded or w/butter

6. Tortilla pizzas

7. Homemade pizza

8. Zucchini boats

9.Grilled cheese with tomato soup

10. Potato soup

11. Beans and corn bread

12. Home made Mac N cheese.

13. Beef/fish/turkey Tacos

Simple snacks:

  1. Apples and peanut butter

2. Oranges

3. Carrots and hummus

4. Fruit of any kind

5. Yogurt and berries

6. Fruit smoothies

7. Cheese sticks

8. Roasted Cheerios.

Simple deserts:

  1. Peanut butter cookies

2. Cereal treat bars

3. Homemade rice crispy treats

4. Muddy buddies

5. Rice pudding,

6. Peanut butter yogurt

Saving money tip three: Get creative with date nights/family activities.

 Couple on a date save money

To save money, you should be creative. There are great things to do for free or cheap everywhere, just think outside the box.

Date night idea one: You can grab a couple of coffees and a pastry from a gas station and go to a park for a late night walk and snack.

Date idea Two: Set up a nice table at home and have homemade pasta by candle light then watch a good movie on your comfortable couch.

Family fun: Pack a sack lunch and go to a park with your kiddos. They will have a great time and it won’t cost you a thing! Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood. Play basketball at the park. Game night at home, video or board games. Your kids will have fun either way. Plus, it’s a great way to have fun and connect with your family without needing to spend money on entertainment.

Money saving tip four: Save for Christmas/ birthday’s year around.

Christmas tree and gifts. save money this season

Holidays have turned into a money sucking machine. It is fun to give and receive gifts. However, you shouldn’t need to take out a loan to do it. Saving a little from every pay check year around can do two things. It can keep you in a budget and get you in the habit of saving. We live in a culture that wants things now! However, good things come to those who wait. Waiting and saving for the gifts you want to give makes the gifts that much more special.

Shop for sales and at the outlet stores or thrift stores. You never know what gems you can find! Also, if you go to thrift stores in the wealthier parts of town, they are likely to have nicer things.

Last minute gift ideas for when your not sure. Found on The Humbled Homemaker’s website. She has great tips for saving money!

Save money Girl with shopping bags

Simple peanut butter cookies

money saving cookies

One cup peanut butter

One cup granulated sugar

One large egg

Mix all three ingredients together. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 mins. Enjoy!


Taco Tuesday! It is not only delicious it is easy and inexpensive to make.

Click here for a recipe.

Bonus tip: 3 gift rule.

For Christmas, consider having a three gift limit rule in your family.

1. Something they need/educational

2. Something they want

3. Something to wear. (Sometimes the something they need and wear can be combined into one gift.)

In conclusion:

Cutting back and thinking outside the box will help you save money. When you are buying a new home, saving money is important. Every dollar counts and a dollar saved is a dollar earned. Make a plan, know your finances. Be creative with entertainment. Save for holidays year round. Learn to cook from scratch, and shop sales. Saving money isn’t easy and it takes a lot of self control.

Restricting yourself may cause you to over spend later on something you do not really need. Consider having a set amount set aside to spend each month as “fun money” or “mad money” to help you stay on track.

Energy Efficient Home: Tips (6-10)

In the first post with tips 1-5 we took a brief look at what you can do on the exterior, windows and plumbing of your home to be more energy efficient. In this post I will focus more on the appliances and fixtures of your home to make it more energy efficient. Having an energy efficient home can save you money every month and you don’t necessarily need to change your lifestyle to do it.

When you research how to be energy efficient there are so many tips on the internet that it can give you a headache. Some are practical, others are just confusing! I wanted to give a straight forward list that is easy to do and doesn’t break your wallet. Some things on this list cost you nothing to incorporate into your home, just a small change in your daily routine. Lets dig in.

6. Energy Efficient Home: Shower heads

Lowering the amount of water used in your home can save you a bundle. The shower is where we use the most water. Most standard shower heads push out 4 gallons per minute. That is about 40 gallons for a ten minute shower times the amount of people in your home and how many times a week you shower. That could come to 15,000 gallons a year for one family. That is a lot of water! What if I told you that a one time $20-$50 purchase could save you up to half the water a year! Installing a good quality low flow shower head can greatly reduce your water usage.

There is a lot of controversy on if a low flow shower head is really worth it. Angi.com has some great information on low flow shower heads that may help with your decision. If the low flow shower head is not for you, consider shortening your time in the shower by half.

low flow shower head

7. Energy Efficient Lighting Controls and Light bulbs.

Another big energy user in your home is lighting. Use natural lighting when possible. Consider replacing your light bulbs with LED bulbs or fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent bulbs have come a long way and you can get ones that give off more of a natural light or light more like the incandescent light bulbs. They also can last 10 times longer than the incandescent bulbs that are most likely in your home.

There are always advantages and disadvantages to saving energy. Fluorescent lighting does help with energy efficiency, but there are some disadvantages to using them.

Disadvantage: The fluorescent lamp contains a small amount of mercury liquid inside of it, which is converted into a mercury vapor when the lamp is turned on and is what allows the lamb to make light. The amount of mercury in the lamp is very small. However, it is a poisonous substance and should be treated carefully if the lamp is ever broken or goes out.

Disadvantage/advantage: Seemingly high cost is also a disadvantage to the fluorescent bulbs. But, since the bulbs last significantly longer than the incandescent bulbs the cost does end up being less expensive.

Advantage: One of the best benefits of fluorescent lighting comes from its energy efficiency. The energy savings can be up to 35% when compared to conventional light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs also do not put out much heat like the traditional bulbs do. So it shouldn’t burn you when changing it out. It also helps keep the room at a cooler temperature!

Compact fluorescent lamps

I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to remind my children to turn off the lights! You can purchase a light switch with a timer or one with a motion sensor from most most home improvement stores. Then you can set to shut off after 1-15 minutes, or just walk in the room! Or you can be like me and just keep reminding your kids to turn the lights off. One day they may just remember!

8. Clothing.

A great way to save energy is to dress appropriately for the temperature. Wear a sweater around your home so you can keep the thermostat at a lower temperature during the winter and wear shorts and t-shirt during the summer. The less your cooler or heater has to work the more energy you can save. If the weather is nice out, open a window or door. Fresh air will do you good I promise!

9. Energy Efficient Washing Machine.

Whenever possible, wash your clothes with cold water. Cold water is fine for most types of clothing and most stains will come out by using cold water. Not all stains will be removed when using hot water, such as sweat. The warmer water may even set the stain into the fabric, making it harder to remove later. Cold water washing also means clothing is less likely to shrink or fade and ruin your clothes. In addition, cold water can reduce wrinkles which then saves energy on ironing.

It is estimated that 75-90% of the energy your washer uses is to heat up the water.

Of course you can’t always use cold water to clean your clothes. There are some fabrics that may not do so well in the cold wash. If you are unsure, you can check the tags on your clothes. This should tell you if they should only to be washed in hot water. GE appliances has a great list and rules on clothes labels and what they mean. The statistics about the energy usage was also found in this article.

10. Energy Efficient Home Air Filters.

Your air filters for the cooling/heating systems should be changed every month or every three months depending on where you live. Most units have a disposable filter. However, you can also get a reusable one. Changing filters often makes your equipment work easier and more efficiently. A clean air filter is an efficient one! You can read more about air filters here!


  1. Switch to low flow shower heads or spend less time in the shower.
  2. Switch your incandescent bulbs out with LED or fluorescent bulbs.
  3. Wear weather appropriate clothing.
  4. Wash your clothes with cold water.
  5. Change or clean your air filters often.
Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficient Home: Ten Tips (1-5)

Energy efficiency is a big topic these days. It seems like everyone and their dog has an opinion on what is trendy or the correct way to be energy efficient. I am not going to get into all that today or any day for that matter. I just want to give you tips that are reasonable and affordable. You may even SAVE some money in the process. Having an energy efficient home may seem like a daunting task. Where should you even start? I am so glad you asked.

1. Energy Efficient Attic Door

Insulating and weatherstripping your attic trap door is a great energy efficient step you can take. It doesn’t cost much and will eliminate a large heat loss or intake and potential attic moisture problems. The weatherstripping will prevent the hot air from the attic from escaping through the cracks. A few layers of insulation on the trap door will prevent heat transfer through the door.

Energy Efficient Attic Trap Door-Insulate, Seal

2. Water Heater Temperature

Reducing your water heater to lower settings or to a temperature that is best for you. This makes the unit work less, keeping the water hot in the tank, thus using less energy. It will also reduce the chances of someone being scalded by the hot water. A good temperature to set your water heater to is 120 degrees. Water feels hot at 105 degrees, at 115 degrees it can cause first-degree burns.

Some water heaters do not have a dial to show the temperature of the water. So, moving the dial to the “warm” setting should do it. Once reset you can test it to see if that will be warm enough for your liking. Note: it will take a few hours for the heat in the tank to change to the new temperature set. Be careful when opening the box to change the thermostat on your water heater some wires may be hot.

Use Electric Water Heater Temperature Dial to Be more energy efficient
Use Gas Water heater Temperature Dial to Be more energy efficient

3. Energy Efficient Thermostat Settings

We all want to be comfortable, lowering the thermostat setting for your heating system in the winter and rising it in the summer doesn’t exactly seem like comfort. However, by dialing the thermostat back just one degree it could save you up to 3% on your energy bills.

In the winter trying to have the thermostat set at 68 degrees may require you to put on a sweater or use a blanket but who doesn’t love a comfy sweater or snuggling up on the couch to read a good book with a blanket? In the summer try setting the thermostat to 78 degrees.

During a particularly hot spell leave your cooler on but at a higher temperature like 78 degrees. Don’t turn your cooler on and off day to day. Switching it on and off uses more energy then just letting it get to the set temperature. Setting it lower helps your system not to work so hard also saving some energy.

Consider getting a programmable thermostat. That will allow you to set back the heating or cooling during the evening while your sleeping or during the day when no one is home.

Use Digital Thermostat to Be more energy efficient

4. Energy Efficient Doors and Windows

To eliminate heating and cooling losses throughout your home you should seal the doors and windows on the exterior walls. This will also make sure no unwanted moisture or pests enter your home. In Florida we have snakes, lizards, frogs, opossums you name it, I think we can agree they should stay outside where they belong. Every year you should check the calking and weatherstripping on all exterior walls and windows to make sure the sealant hasn’t broken down.

Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to install. If you can see light through your doors when they are closed air is definitely seeping in. Making your systems work harder to heat or cool your home. Sealing the doors is very energy efficient!

Use V-strip weather strip to Be more energy efficient

5. Stop Water leaks

This may seem like a no brainier to stop all water leaks in your home, but how often do you look under the sinks or at the fixtures on the exterior of your home to check for leaks? Probably only if you start to smell mold. At that point it’s too late, the damage is done and your water bill is already higher than normal. You should do a routine bi-yearly check of all your plumbing for leaks. This also includes the crawlspace if you have one. Our home inspectors have never been in a crawlspace where there wasn’t something leaking.

A small drip can waste a huge amount of water and energy over time. Energy is required to replenish wasted water. A small drip that fills a cup in 10 minutes can waste up to 3,200 gallons a year if not corrected. Repairing leaks at faucets or fixtures will save energy and protect your precious resources.

Unattached plumbing under the sink and mold
Mold under the sink
Leaking pipe in the crawlspace
Leaking shower head


  • Insulate and weatherstrip
  • Lower water heater temperature
  • Lower thermostat settings
  • Seal doors and windows on the exterior
  • Stop all water leaks

There is a lot of advice on energy saving out there, hopefully these practical and affordable tips help keep you happy, healthy and comfortable.

New Year New Home: a moving in checklist

Congratulations on making it through another crazy year! You may be thinking now is a good time to purchase a new home. The good news is, you’re right, it is a great time! But, buying a house is a big deal and there is so much to do! So many different things to remember that in the hustle of the new year and that holiday daze, we can forget. You can get overwhelmed by all the things needing to get done. With all this in mind, we have compiled a check list to help make your move a little easier!

Home Floor Plan Picture

Home Documentation

  • Make sure to re-read and check the following things before your final walk through:
    • Your inspection report and purchase agreement as well as, utility system instruction manuals and service information. Most systems in your home will need to be serviced at least once a year by a professional contractor to keep them running smoothly and help them have the best life possible.
  • Ask the seller for documentation on appliances and equipment. Such as instruction books for appliances, service information, contractor information and any warranties that can be transferred into your name. Speaking of warranties, ask your home inspector if you get any warranties with your inspection.
  • Learn the operations of your HVAC system. Asking the seller or your home inspector how to operate the heating and cooling system if you are unsure of the operations is a great place to start.


  • Ask your home inspector about past water leaks on the ceilings, in the basement/crawlspace, at the water heater and other plumbing. It’s been a few weeks since the inspection and you want to make sure to re read your report before going into the final walk through.

Fire Safety

  • Go through the house and make sure there are smoke detectors in all the main living spaces. If not make a note to get some to install after moving in. Pro-tip: write down the date on the smoke detector with a sharpie, (they only last 10 years).
  • Get a fire extinguisher. Hopefully you will never need one. However, it is always better to have one and not need it then to need one and not have one.

Utilities, Warranties, and Home Insurance

  • Prior to closing, transfer all the utilities into your name. This is also a good time to ask the utility company about home operating tips to keep your bills low.
  • Ask your agent or your new neighbors about the garbage and recycling schedules.
  • Insurance is required by mortgage companies. They may need certain reports done by a home inspector. Make sure to ask if you need them and have them done with your full home inspection. Most home inspectors can perform these reports at the same time as the scheduled full home and you can ask about them when scheduling your inspection. This can also save you some money if done at the same time as a full general home inspection.

Home Safety

  • Change the locks and security codes when moving in.
  • Know how your garage door operates and remember to ask for the garage door openers at closing. Understanding the operation of your garage door system and how to use it when power is off is a necessary skill in areas that have a lot of power outages or surges.
Garage Door Key Cable Release
Garage Door and Operator- Extension Spring
  • Know where your main shut offs are: for water, gas, and electricity. Know where the main electrical disconnect is located in case of an emergency. This could be a fuse block, breaker or switch. As well as the furnace disconnect switch, (if electrical) or the fuel valves (if gas).

More Safety shutoffs in your home

  • Air conditioning disconnect switch
  • Hot water shut off
  • Individual breakers or fuses for branch circuits.
  • Plumbing valves for appliances and main distribution connections.
  • In the event of an emergency knowing where these shut offs are is important. Make sure everyone in your home knows where they are and how to disconnect or turn them off.
  • Know where your lighting controls are. For exterior security.


  1. Have your important documents all in one place
  2. Understand how to operate your new cooling and heating systems
  3. Check for previous or active leaks
  4. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home if applicable
  5. Buy a new fire extinguisher
  6. Transfer utilities into your name and update your billing address
  7. Know the garbage and recycle pick up in your new neighborhood
  8. Change all exterior locks on your new home
  9. Understand how to operate your garage door
  10. Know where your main shutoffs are located

Moving into your new home is so exciting but can also be exhausting. Hopefully this list will help you on your way to a happy and healthy home!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Pie.

After a long day of booking home inspections and talking to real estate agents, a nice slice of pie is what this mama needs.

I was trying to find a good low crab dessert that my whole family can enjoy and still be healthy to eat. I decided to try my own version of this delirious pie that is also gluten free and has very little sugar.

What you will need: Peanut Butte Cookie Bottom

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 egg

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 Cup heavy Cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Chocolate filling:

  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4th cup coco powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Whipped Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy creme
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


Start by preheating the oven to 350. Make the peanut butter cookie crust first. Mix the peanut butter, egg and sugar together. Place the batter into a baking dish and flatten out. Place dish into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the glossy look is gone. Wait for the cookie to cool completely before adding the filling. While waiting for the cookie to cool is a great time to make the filling.

In a stand mixer pour the cream and vanilla and mix on medium until the whipped cream starts to take form. Add the room temp cream cheese to the whipped cream and mix until combined and fluffy. Store in a bowl in the refrigerator until the cookie is cooled and start on the chocolate filling. again pour the cream and vanilla into the bowl and mix it on medium until the whipped cream is made. Add the sugar and coco powder mix until combined. place the chocolate filling into a bowl and put into the fridge. now for the topping. pour the cream and vanilla into the mixing bowl and whip until there are light peaks forming the topping should be less thick than the two filling creams.

When the cookie is cooled completely put the cream cheese filling evenly on the cookie top. Repeat with the chocolate and whipped cream. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or fridge for one hour.


Please note that this pie is not very sweet. The sweetest part is the cookie. If you are wanting a sweeter dessert add more sweetener to the cream mixtures. I only added 1 teaspoon of sugar to the chocolate so it was more of a dark chocolate taste. Have fun with the recipe. Thank you!

What is a Pre-Listing Inspection?

There are different types of inspections depending on your needs at the time.

  • Buyer’s inspection
  • Pre-listing inspection
  • Warranty inspections
  • Insurance inspections

We are here to help you where you are at. A pre-listing inspection is just a home inspection performed before you list your home.

Should I get a pre-listing inspection?

Thinking of selling your home and want to do a little work on it before putting it on the market? Where should you start? We can help you with that! Most home inspectors can and will perform a pre-listing inspection. It goes over all the same stuff as the buyers inspection with just a few differences. You get to see the report and are able to fix the things you feel are important. In some cases the buyer will still get their own inspection. However, you usually won’t get to see that report.

Should I hire a listing agent to sell my home?

Yes, your realtor has a keen insight into what would help sell your home the fastest and knows exactly where to list your home to get the best exposure. They also help you with any questions you may have. Also, in the negotiation phase they are invaluable!

How much does a Pre-listing inspection cost?

The cost of your inspection will depend on the age and size of the home. Some other things to consider is if you choose to add on other inspection types. Such as irrigation system inspection, pool/spa, sewer scope, etc. You can check out our website for more information on inspection types and what they include. Prices can range from $360-$600+ just depending on many different factors. Most home inspection companies are happy to give you a free quote over the phone. Don’t hesitate if you have questions to call and get a quote to get you started!

Will it help my home sell faster?

It may be able to help your home sell faster. However, make sure to lean on your real estate professional’s experience and expertise on the current market and ask for their advice.

Can I get a pre-listing inspection even if I’m not selling my home?

Yes, if you want to get an inspection on your home for maintenance purposes or peace of mind, home inspectors are happy to help. Helping you keep your home safe and efficient is our priority. Some even get a home inspection on their 1 year old home to give to their home warranty company.

In Conclusion.

  • Hire a realtor (ask for their expert advice) when selling is recommended.
  • You get to read the whole report.
  • It may speed up the selling process.
  • A home inspection is to inform you of the condition the major systems are in.