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With a tighter Real Estate Market, below are some cheap and fairly easy items to check and repair before a home inspector or pest inspector shows up to inspect your home.  These are typical items that show up on reports.  By checking these items, you can have
a cleaner inspection on your home.  Most of these items you can do yourself.

1.   Caulking and Sealing     
This is the #1 item that always shows up on reports.  Small gaps and voids in wet areas of the bathrooms or kitchens can allow water to penetrate in unwanted areas.  Be sure that all wet areas are caulked and sealed.  For example, where the floor meets the bathtub, shower walls meet the tub or shower pan. Also sinks and backsplashes should be kept properly sealed.

2.   Low Flow Toilets-Shower Heads     
In most parts of Santa Cruz County, when you sell your home, you must have low flow shower heads and toilets.  You can do a web search (“low flow toilets – Santa Cruz”) and find more information on this subject.  You may want to hire a plumber to change out the
toilets if your toilets are not 1.6 gallon per flush

3.    Seismic Strap Water Heater        
Kits can be bought at any hardware store for about $15.00. It is required by the seller to install the straps before the close of escrow. The straps are usually pretty easy to install, but can require the water heater to be removed and then the straps installed. The kits
come with directions for correct installation.

4.    Smoke Detectors
Make sure that all smoke detectors are working.  Smoke detectors should be installed within 15 feet of all bedrooms and there should be at least one on all levels of the home.  Newer construction requires smoke alarms in the sleeping areas as well. To make sure
this item doesn't show up on an inspection report, install smoke alarms outside and inside bedrooms and on all levels of the home no matter what the age of the home.

5.        Loose Toilet     
This is an item that shows up on most inspections. Stand in front of the toilet and put slight pressure on the front right side of the toilet and then the front left.  If the toilet is loose you may be able to tighten the bolts.  Don’t over tighten, as it can be easy to crack
the toilet.  It is also possible that the toilet will need to be pulled up and have the wax seal replaced. You may want to hire a Plumber or Handyman to repair this item.

6.        Lower Soil from Wood Siding at Least 6 Inches    
Soil should be lowered from the wood siding or stucco weep screed at least 6 inches. When untreated wood and earth are very close, there is increased risk of wood damage from moisture and/or wood boring insects. Remove the excess soil, but in such a fashion to not cause water to stand against the foundation. Water should always drain away at least 3 feet from the home.

7.        Cut Back Shrubbery or Remove Clinging Vines from the Side of the Home
Any plant growing on a home may eventually damage the siding and other parts of the home. Clinging vines can also create an environment for insects/other pests and may hold moisture against the home. Also the inspectors may not be able to inspect the
entire exterior of the home, due to limited access.

8.        Clean Debris from the Roof and Gutters     
Excessive debris on the roof and in the gutters can limit the Visual Inspection.  Typically the home inspector will recommend further inspection of the roof.  It is best to use a blower to clean the debris off of the roof. Brooms or rakes can damage the roof shingles
or granules.  Use extreme care when on the roof.  Roofs can be slippery.  If you are hesitant about walking on the roof, hire someone to do the work for you.

9.        Remove Debris under the Home
Most houses have some scrap wood or debris under the home. This is always called out on a home inspection and termite report.  We recommend that all debris be removed to a rakeable size.  While under the home, be sure to check for leaks on water and drain
lines.  Also check for separated heating ducts (if present) and/or any other damage.  

10.        GFCI Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt
In the late 1990s, GFCI type receptacles were required in all wet areas. This would include being within 72 inches from sinks and exterior outlets, including in garages. Although these receptacles may not have been required when the home was built, it will
show up on the Home Inspection Report as a recommended upgrade. These receptacles generally cost about $20 each. You may want to hire an electrician or handyman to install the receptacles.

11.   Excessive Storage     
It is not uncommon to find a garage or room full of storage. The Inspectors cannot see all areas of the room or garage (walls floors, etc.), be sure locks are off all electrical panels, sub-area doors and have all sub-area and attic access doors accessible. We will
recommend a re-inspection if we are not able to do a complete inspection due to being inaccessible. This can cost the seller of the home extra money to have the inspectors come back.

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