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The Forever Faithful Perennial

The Forever Faithful Perennial

There’s nothing more trustworthy than a good, hardy perennial. These plants might go dull in the winter, but you can rest assured they’ll return faithfully the following year. Perennials have the power to keep your landscape alive with new colors, fragrances, and wildlife all season long — as long as you treat them well. While they’re well-known for their minimal maintenance, there are still some things to keep in mind.

When to Plant Perennials

Planting is both an exciting and stressful time for plants. Most perennial plants need a modest amount of moisture to survive, especially when they’re just trying to establish themselves. The best time to plant your perennials is during the transitional seasons: spring and fall.

In our area, we fall into hardiness Zone 6a, and, lucky for us, perennial plants tend to do very well in this zone! However, spring carries with it a lot of cold weather. If you plant too early and your young plants are caught in a particularly bad frost, they may not grow at all. Avoid a disappointing garden by paying attention to frost dates. The last frost in Missouri and Kansas typically happens in mid April (but lately, we have had some pretty crazy weather!), so wait until after then to plant new perennials. Even then, check the forecast and be wary of the conditions your new plants may be subject to. It’s best to err on the side of caution and plant when you’re confident that the weather is going to cooperate.

Of course, the ground has to be unfrozen to plant anything in it. One test to see if the soil is workable is to grab a handful of it and squeeze it tight. If your soil sticks together, it’s a little too wet. If it crumbles, it’s in workable shape and you can start planting!

Any perennials you plant in summer will need a lot more attention and water to encourage growth. Avoid digging up perennials in bloom during this season. Just let them do their thing.

How to Plant / Balancing Bloomers

The term ‘perennial’ encompasses thousands and thousands of plants. Naturally, they don’t all bloom at the same time. The key to keeping an interesting garden all season long is to interplant species that flower at different times in the summer. That way, you always have something new blossoming in your garden. It’s those little pops of new color that keep something exciting happening all the time. Here are a few model varieties of gorgeous perennials that bloom at different times in the summer:

Late Spring / Early Summer Bloomers

For your early summer flowering perennials, consider giving these plants a try:

clematis

Clematis: Creeping up several feet tall, clematis produce single, colorful flowers in shades of blue, pink, red, and white. They continue to bloom all the way into fall, and they prefer lots of sunlight and damp soil.

Siberian-iris

Caesar’s Brother Siberian Iris: This deep violet flower rises up on tall, poker-straight stems that really stand out along borders. They thrive in moist soils better than most, and are extremely resilient and adaptable. Just make sure you water them regularly, especially during hot dry weather.

peony

Peony: This lush, romantic flower is very popular for wedding bouquets and decor. Its massive blooms are a true work of art and some of our favorites are Sarah Bernhardt, Bowl of Beauty, and Bartzella Itoh. Their stems are nice and sturdy, so you won’t have to worry about staking them to keep them upright.

Creeping-phloox

Creeping Phlox: This fabulous groundcover plant spreads like wildfire and is great for rock gardens, as it creeps its way up rocks and rough terrain with ease. Its densely packed flowers create a carpet of vivid color that’s truly breathtaking. So long as it has full sun and is watered regularly, it will thrive beautifully.

Midsummer Flowering Perennials

These flowers bloom beautifully in the prime of summer:

Balloon-Flowers

Balloon Flowers: Balloon flowers are easy to care for, and are named as such because their buds balloon before blossoming. Among a few different colored varieties, balloon flowers can come in a very striking, deep blue.

coreopsis

Coreopsis: These sun-lovers come in bright, warm colors and attract all sorts of butterflies. They make great cut flowers.

salvia

Salvia: Tall stalks of blossoms adorn this beautiful plant in all different shades of blue, purple and red, with a few less common varieties in shades of yellow and white. It’s actually a member of the mint family, and its aroma is absolutely divine.

lavendar

Lavender: With a pleasant fragrance and characteristic purple color, you can’t go wrong with growing some lavender in your garden.

monarda

Monarda: Also known as bee balm, these vibrant flowers lure in pollinators like a magnet. Planting monarda in either spring or autumn will give you the best results. Some varieties can grow up to 4 feet tall, and they spread quite a bit, so dividing the root ball and replanting every 2 or 3 years will save it from getting overcrowded.

Late Summer / Early Fall Perennials

These plants are perfect reminders that summer is still hanging on:

aster

Aster: Asters provide great coverage in your flower beds, and bloom small flowers in reds, blues, and purples. They grow easily enough in a richer soil without much maintenance.

chelone

Chelone Hot Lips: This mounded plant has gorgeous blue-green foliage that contrasts beautifully with its pink clusters of flowers. It makes a great border plant, reaches to around 2 feet tall and spreads 2 feet across.

lobelia

Lobelia Cardinalis: The bright ruby red racemes of this fabulous perennial can be seen from miles away! It does best in moist clay soils, so if your soil is very loamy, make sure to water is generously.

When Fall Arrives

These are just a few of the endless perennial plants that can complete your garden. When fall rolls around, pay attention to any perennial pruning and winter protection needs. It’s also the perfect time to plant new perennials, as your soil is in ideal, moist conditions. You can use this season to also divide up some of your perennials, so long as they aren’t still in bloom.

Planning ahead for this season will reward you kindly. Be adventurous, and be sure to plant perennials of all different kinds during this time. A higher volume of plants will provide for more color and texture in your garden and culminate in an exciting new growing season the following summer!

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Join Us For Our Spring Spectacular Open House Event!

Join Us For Our Spring Spectacular Open House Event!

OUR AMAZING SPRING SPECTACULAR OPEN HOUSE EVENT STARTS TOMORROW! We look forward to seeing you all in Ft. Scott Saturday, May 4th and in Nevada Sunday, May 5th!!

HOMES IN FT. SCOTT, KS SATURDAY, MAY 4TH

901 Barbee

Price: $64,900

Price: $124,900

801 Fairway

Price: $148,000

923 Burke

Price: $159,000

1014 Holbrook

Price: $148,000

HOMES IN NEVADA, MO SUNDAY, MAY 5TH

16933 s 1200 Rd

Price: $164,000

1402 w wight

Price: $178,900

127 E Cherry

Price: $125,000

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Join Us for Our First Time Home Buyers Seminar

Join Us for Our First Time Home Buyers Seminar

Has it been your dream to own your first home? Think it isn’t attainable? Well, my friends, we want to show you how easy it is! Buying a home for the first time can be terrifyingly intimidating—there’s so much to learn! Start with the basics. In this information-packed seminar, you will find out what every first-time home buyer needs to know to dive into house hunting with confidence. Join Stutesman’s Action Realty for this informative program. Let us help you make better financial decisions by understanding the purchase process, along with the benefits of having a Realtor as your step-by-step professional. There will also be mortgage companies and lenders, insurance professionals and title companies on hand to answer questions. You’ll learn about the entire home buying process, how to qualify, what loans and programs are available, how to prepare for home ownership, what to know about the local market, the escrow process (it’s really not that scary!) and so much more! CHOOSE THE LOCATION AND DATE THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU! PLEASE REGISTER BY SIGNING UP ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, EMAILING DIANE EARLL AT DIANE@DIANEEARLL.COM OR CALL 833-286-8400 BEFORE FRIDAY, APRIL 5TH, 2019. Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 5:30 – 7:30 pm Nate’s Place 750 South National Fort Scott, KS 66701 Thursday, April 11th, 2019 5:30 – 7:30 pm FCS Financial Building 1925 N Osage Nevada Mo. 64772

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8 Curb Appeal Boosters You Can Do in a Weekend

8 Curb Appeal Boosters You Can Do in a Weekend

CurbAppealCover

Win home shoppers over before they even think about stepping foot inside.

A polished home exterior creates an inviting experience for visitors or passersby, which is especially important if your home is on the market. Check out our tips to get the most curb appeal for the lowest cost — while turning your neighbors’ heads and getting prospective buyers to your door.

Clean up

The easiest way to enhance curb appeal is dedicating a weekend to deep cleaning your home’s exterior. Sure, you’ll want to trim bushes, sweep and mow your lawn, but there’s more to curb appeal than keeping a tidy front yard. Turn the nozzle on your garden hose to the strongest setting and clean off your driveway, sidewalk, windows and fence. If dirt and grime are caked on your home’s exterior, you can rent a powerwasher for around $50 to $75 a day. Just avoid areas with caulking, like windows and doors, because you can strip some of the sealing. And as tempting as it may be to powerwash your roof, don’t do it —  you may damage the shingles’ coating. When it comes to your windows, spraying them with a garden hose isn’t enough. For maximum sparkle, clean your windows outside and inside. Instead of relying on a glass cleaner, try a mix of detergent diluted in warm water.

Add shutters

Shutters are an easy way to accentuate the size of your windows. They make your windows look larger and add visual interest by disrupting a bland exterior wall. For maximum curb appeal, choose a shutter color that contrasts with your home’s color to make it pop.

Paint accent areas

Paint is a quick and easy curb appeal booster. Instead of painting the entire exterior of your home, focus on the trim, door and shutters. You can typically find a gallon of exterior paint for $20 to $30. But before you decide on a color, consider home exterior color trends, along with your home’s natural style.

Give your door a face lift

If you don’t love your front door, you don’t need to dish out loads of money to replace it. Think beyond paint — consider adding molding, which offers a decorative frame for your door that welcomes visitors. You can also add metal house numbers, which you can find for as low as $5 a number. And if seasonally appropriate, consider adding a wreath to your door as a bonus.

Replace your house numbers

If you’d rather not add house numbers to your freshly painted door, here are some alternative DIY ideas:
  • Paint a terra-cotta planter with your house number and place it by your doorstep.
  • Add house numbers to a post planter near your front porch.
  • Use your front porch stair riser’s real estate by hanging or painting numbers there.

Update your light fixtures

Replacing your exterior light fixtures is another curb appeal must. You can usually find outdoor sconces for around $20 at home centers. Just make sure your new light fixtures have the same mounting system. And if you want to save on lighting, a fresh finish can do wonders. Try spray-painting them — a can of spray paint costs around $10.

Keep porch furniture neutral

Just as you would aim to simplify the interior of your home so shoppers can envision themselves living there, the exterior of your home should be neutral and welcoming too. Put your pink flamingo and wind chime collection into storage, and focus on porch decor that offers pops of color and character. You can find brightly colored outdoor chairs or throw pillows for $20 to $30 each.

Don’t forget the small things

These low-budget fixes make a big impact, so don’t forget the little details!
  • Upgrade your mailbox: Install a new mailbox for under $100, or spray paint your existing mailbox.
  • Plant a tree: A charming tree can up your curb appeal for as low as $20.
  • Build a tree bench: If you already have a tree you love, build a bench around it! Great for napping, picnicking or just hiding exposed roots, a wraparound tree bench costs only what you spend on boards and screws.
  • Install flower boxes: For around $20 each, flower boxes are a quick way to add some life and color to your windows. If flower boxes sound like too much work, try a container garden in pots by your front porch.
  • Hide eyesores: Place a small lattice fence or a side of paneling around your air conditioner, and hide your trash bins behind a small fence. You can also hide your hose in a pot or storage bench.
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Meet Diane Earll: Director of Operations, Broker/Assoc. MO-GRI, CRS, SRS

Meet Diane Earll:

Director of Operations, Broker/Assoc. MO-GRI, CRS, SRS

Meet-diane

Diane has taken on a new role in the agency, but is still doing what she loves – helping clients with their real estate needs!

Diane’s career in real estate began 22 years ago, when along with her husband Eddie Earll, began building and remodeling homes in the and have always taken great pride in their accomplishments.

Diane grew up in rural Vernon County and graduated from El Dorado Springs School. She learned from an early age the value of hard work and determination and continues to display these principles in her career.

As a member of the National Association of Realtors and Missouri Realtors, Diane has had the opportunity to serve as Secretary, Vice President, and President for the Five County Board of Realtors. She also received her GRI (Graduated Realtor Institute) in 2008, CRS (Council of Residential Specialists) in 2015, Brokers license in 2015, and SRS (Seller Residential Specialist) in 2016.

In her current role, Diane handles everything from handling the office’s administrative duties, to ensuring contract and document compliance. Diane also works closely with the agency’s outside marketing firm, assisting with property and agency promotions. She also is a pro at keeping the team organized, keeping the database current, gathering together paperwork from the seller and the buyer, working with the title company to make sure all parties show up to closing, and making sure profits get wired in.

Her organization and people skills show in her personal life as well. Diane loves the outdoors and keeping connected with friends and family. Diane also enjoys hobbies such as cooking for her family and having huge family gatherings, working outdoors in the yard, and going on road trips.

Diane and her family have a special love for their animals… All of which were wayward souls taken in by the Earlls’. Each one of them has a story and now  have a forever home with unconditional love.

She and her husband, Eddie, have one daughter Nikki and son-in-law Jonathon. They are also blessed with a granddaughter, Iridessa, which they enjoy every given opportunity.

Diane takes great pride in customer satisfaction and looks forward to each opportunity when assisting clients with any of their real estate needs.

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Signs That Now is the Time to Sell Your Home

Signs That Now is the Time to Sell Your Home

TimeToSellYourHome

There are many reasons why it may be time to sell your home. You may need more space to make room for a growing family or you need to downsize after your kids leave the nest. Whatever your motivations, you want to make sure that you’re timing it right.

If you sell when home prices are plummeting, you may end up losing on the deal. If you sell when home prices are highest, there may not be a lot of buyers looking to move. So how do you know when it’s a good time to sell?

A qualified Stutesman’s agent can help you determine if the market puts you in a good place or not. But for your own personal situation, here are the signs telling you that now is the time to sell your home.

You’ve Outgrown Your Home

Whether you are expecting another child, caring for an aging parent, or have taken in your adult children, when you’ve outgrown your home, it may be time to sell your home. Consider the permanency of the change. Will the kids be there for a long time? How long will you be able to care for your aging parent? Buying a bigger home is one of the main reasons why homeowners choose to sell.

 

You Need to Make a Change

Change is inevitable. Maybe you’re tired of shoveling snow (what a brutal winter we’ve had!) and you want to live in a warmer climate. Maybe you have to move so you can go after your dream job or you want to be closer to family. When change entails moving, then a home sale becomes necessary.

Home Prices are on the Rise

This is one of the riskiest reasons to sell your home. Sure you may get more than you ever dreamed for your home when prices are on the rise, but that also means that you will pay more for another home. Perhaps your agent can help you find a steal in a new location where prices are more level. Then you will have made a huge profit and a smart move.

 

You Need to Downsize

Many homeowners are selling in order to downsize. The baby boomer generation is moving into their golden years. The kids are all out of the house and you just don’t need all that space anymore. Selling now could add a nice healthy sum to your nest egg as well. As long as you are smart about how much of that profit to spend on a new place, downsizing could be just the right move for you financially.

 

You Can No Longer Afford Your Home

Sadly, there are homeowners who just can no longer afford their home. Whether it is due to divorce, illness, a death, a skyrocketing mortgage payment, or the loss of a job, change in your financial circumstances is a big red flashing sign that now is the time to sell your home. Waiting any longer could have catastrophic financial consequences.

In any situation you find yourself in, an experienced agent is the key to helping you achieve your goals. Learn more about how to determine if now is the time to sell your home by speaking with agent now.

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Join Us Saturday, Feb 23rd for Sweet Listings Tour – Round 2!

Join Us Saturday, Feb 23rd for Sweet Listings Tour – Round 2!

Join us Saturday Feb 23rd 10 am – Noon! Tour 5 SWEET listings in the Ft. Scott KS area. Yummy sweet treats and drinks will be served. ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A $25 Casey’s GAS CARD!

THE RULES: Tour the homes, pic your favorite, take a selfie INSIDE the home and post it with #sweetlistings on our Facebook page in the comments section under the home’s post. Make sure to tell us what you LOVE about the home! We will announce the winner Sunday Feb 24th at 5 pm! Gas card can be picked up at Stutesman’s Action Realty Ft. Scott office!

Our Sweet Listings Include:

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Welcome to the Winter Blast Tour 2019

Welcome to the Winter Blast Tour 2019

THE WINTER BLAST TOUR STARTS SATURDAY IN FT. SCOTT, KS! Don’t miss out on taking a look at these 5 amazing homes in Ft. Scott, KS! We will have yummy snack and hot drinks to keep you warm! We will also be collecting non-perishable items to donate to the Fort Scott High School Clothes Closet and Pantry!

ROUND 2 OF THE WINTER BLAST TOUR STARTS SUNDAY, JAN 27TH IN NEVADA, MO! Don’t miss out on taking a look at these 4 amazing homes in Nevada, MO! We will have yummy snacks and hot drinks to keep you warm! We will be collecting non-perishable items to donate to our local Community Outreach – The Food Pantry!

 

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The Sweet Listings Event is Happening in TWO DAYS

The Sweet Listings Event is Happening in TWO DAYS

THE SWEET LISTINGS EVENT STARTS SATURDAY IN NEVADA, MO! 

We will be showcasing 6 sweet homes and giving away FREE GAS! 

GAS CARD CONTEST RULES: Tour the homes, pic your favorite, take a selfie INSIDE the home and post it with #sweetlistings on our Facebook page in the comments section under the home’s post. Make sure to tell us what you LOVE about the home! We will announce the winner Sunday Feb 10th at 5 pm! Gas card can be picked up anytime next week at Stutesman’s Action Realty Nevada office!

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30 Things Home Inspectors Examine

30 Things Home Inspectors Examine

What does a home inspection involve? Standards and specifics vary from state to state, but in general, the inspector is responsible for making sure there are no glaring, obvious issues with a home that’s being bought or sold. Sellers can hire an inspector before listing the home to ensure they tackle anything major before putting it on the market, and a buyer’s mortgage loan will almost always require a home inspection so that the lender can feel confident that the home is in good shape and habitable. There are dozens of features that a home inspector will examine to ensure the home’s safety and habitability. Here are some of the things you can expect your inspector to look at — if it’s at all possible, it’s always best for a buyer to be present during the inspection so that the inspector can explain any issues in person and so the buyer can ask questions (although it’s usually best to wait until the inspection has concluded before you bombard the inspector with queries). Puddles or standing water outside The inspector will check outside the home for a number of things, including whether there are any puddles or standing water that could indicate a drainage problem. Water is an element that can wreak havoc on a home, and standing water or puddles are a sign that there could be water damage inside the house, or that the foundation is faulty. Sheds If there are sheds or other storage buildings on the property, the inspector will take a look at those to ensure they are safe — no crooked or leaning walls, solidly built, and with doors that open and shut smoothly. After all, you don’t want a shed falling down on top of you while you try to stash your lawn tools. Pathways, retaining walls, and fences Any pathways to and from the house, retaining walls, or fences should be inspected to ensure that they are in good shape; buckling in a pathway, or a leaning retaining wall or fence, could be other indications that the ground underneath the house isn’t entirely stable, and that’s a red flag for inspectors. Decks and patios In addition to making sure that decks and patios don’t have any holes or aren’t skewed in a dangerous way, inspectors will take a look at the railings on your decks and patios to determine how safe they are. Decks or patios without railings or with large gaps in the railings might need to be repaired, and it’s the inspector’s job to check them out and decide whether they meet safety requirements or not. Trees and shrubs Inspectors aren’t arborists, but they’ll still take a look at the trees and shrubs on the property and check for any obvious issues; if there are branches overhanging the roof or falling off a tree, or it looks like it’s about to come down on top of the house or the driveway, the inspector will note the safety hazard in the inspection notes, and it will probably need to be addressed before sale. The foundation A cracked or shifting foundation can mean big trouble for a house, so expect your inspector to spend some time taking a look at the foundation and determining whether it’s stable — and dry, too; a wet foundation means there could be water seeping in (or out) from somewhere, which could potentially undermine the home’s stability in the future. Mold and mildew Not all mold or mildew is toxic, but in general, it’s best not to try to cohabit with spores, which can irritate lungs and trigger allergies. And some mold and mildew is toxic, which poses its own set of problems. Inspectors will look in several places in the home (notably the foundation and attic) to see if there are any signs of mold or mildew present. Basements and crawl spaces Basements and crawl spaces are areas that can be subject to both moisture damage and pests, so inspectors will check for signs that either moisture or pests are present, but the inspector will also look for adequate ventilation, ensure that any exposed pipes are insulated, and check to make sure the insulation is sufficient. Attics The attic is a part of the house that can show if there’s damage to the roof or leakage from outside, so inspectors will spend some time looking for evidence of moisture or water seepage, including stains that might indicate water penetration. There shouldn’t be any open electrical splices or plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents that terminate in the attic, so inspectors will look for those, too; there also needs to be adequate ventilation and sufficient insulation that’s been appropriately installed in the attic. Windows and door frames Windows and door frames can be places where foundation issues emerge, so inspectors are going to make sure that the windows and door frames are straight — not askew or bowed in any way — and will also check the caulking and glazing on the windows, in addition to ensuring that the window glass isn’t broken and is the appropriate type for the climate and area. The roof Depending on how tall the house in question is, the inspector might or might not actually get up on the roof to look for signs of damage or any problems — if the home is three stories high or taller, then the inspector might use binoculars and other tools to make the best assessment possible from the ground. They’ll use different criteria depending on the roof material, but in general, they’ll want to make sure there aren’t any holes, that there isn’t any decay, look for stains, and make sure that any vents are clear and clean. Gutters and drainage The gutters need to be well-built and securely fastened to the house, with no decay, rust, sagging, or missing pieces. Gutters should also be clean to facilitate good drainage, and the inspector might also check to make sure that the gutters are draining away from the foundation just for good measure. The siding There are many different materials that can be used to construct a house, and the specifics of the inspection are going to depend on the type of siding material used. In general, the inspector is going to look for any stains and signs of damage, ensure that the walls are straight and not bowed, and ensure that there are no cracks in the siding. Vines and flaking or peeling exterior paint are other items that an inspector might look for to ensure the home’s structure is solid. Leaning walls Inside the home, the inspector is going to look at the walls to see if they’re straight or if they happen to tilt one way or another, or whether there are cracks — all signs that the foundation might be problematic. The inspector will also look for any stains or signs of water damage or even smoke damage on the walls, especially if it hasn’t been reported by the seller. Stained ceilings The ceiling should also be level and stain-free, with no cracks, and any trim should be installed properly and in good condition. Again, the inspector is looking for any indication that there might be leaks or water damage happening somewhere in the home, which often manifests on the ceiling. Insulation Inspectors clearly aren’t going to tear open your walls to ensure that there’s insulation and that it’s adequate, but they will look for clues that the walls are well-insulated and that the insulation has been installed correctly. Heating vents Depending on the climate, the inspector is going to check for both heating and cooling sources in habitable rooms; in most of the country, a source of heat will be critical (after all, even in desert climates, it gets pretty cold at night). The fireplace and chimney If you have a working fireplace and chimney, then it might be worth having an additional and more in-depth inspection done to ensure there aren’t any issues with it, but the home inspector will take a brief look at the fireplace to check for cracks or damages, and will typically shine a light around to make sure the flue is clean and lined. Range hood or exhaust fan The range hood or exhaust fan in the kitchen need to be checked so the inspector can ensure that the fan or hood is vented to the outside of the building and that either the hood or fan (or both) is working correctly. Outlets by the kitchen sink Any electrical outlets by the kitchen sink will need to be checked for a ground fault circuit interrupter, a safety precaution, so you can expect the inspector to spend some extra time and attention on those outlets. The kitchen sink itself Water flow, leaks, and stains are going to be top priorities for the inspector when checking out the kitchen sink; the inspector will spend some time looking underneath the sink for any signs of leaks or stains, and will check for rust or deterioration in any garbage disposals or in general around the sink. Built-in appliances Does the dishwasher drain properly and close all the way, and does it leak? Does the stove, range, and any other built-in appliances operate properly? The inspector will look for any signs of problems in the kitchen appliances and note them in the report. Cabinets and drawers If kitchen cabinets or drawers don’t open or close correctly, or all the way, this can be another sign that the foundation or stability of the house could be compromised. The inspector will ensure that the cabinets and drawers are in good condition and that everything opens and closes the way it should. Toilets Not only should toilets operate correctly — flushing when you press the flush mechanism — but toilets should also be securely fastened to the floor: no rocking or looseness, and there shouldn’t be any stains around the base of the toilet. Inspectors will check all of those factors for each toilet in the house. Drains Inspectors will check drains in sinks, tubs, and showers throughout the house to check for any blockages or potential issues, and inspectors will also check the drainage pipes that lead to the sewage or septic system to ensure that the pipe slopes appropriately and that there is no evidence of leaks or stains around the drain pipes. Showers and tubs As you’ve no doubt learned by now, water can present a serious problem if it’s somewhere it’s not supposed to be in the house, and showers and tubs are a danger zone for water leaks and issues. Inspectors will check to make sure the walls, tiles, flooring, and caulking is stable and in good condition, and that there are no stains or signs of leaks around the tub or shower; inspectors will also check the shower or tub’s drainage. Pipes If there’s any visible damage to the plumbing pipes, or it looks like there are stains on the materials around the pipes, those are two indications that the plumbing might need some attention before the sale closes, so you can expect the inspector to check for those. Water heaters The size of the water heater is one thing that inspectors will check to make sure is correct for the size of the home and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house, but inspectors will be looking for more than that — signs of rust and proper ventilation included. Water temperature and pressure Hot water should be hot, but not too hot; inspectors will check the water temperature and pressure to ensure that the water heater works and that there’s adequate pressure for the home. (Sellers may want to set their heater to between 118 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit if they happen to have it hotter than that, so the inspector doesn’t have to do any investigation into why the water is too hot — or even worse, come back a second time after the temperature has been adjusted.) Visible wiring Visible wiring isn’t a dealbreaker in and of itself, but it needs to be appropriately wired and cared for — there should be no visible splices, and any cables should be secured and protected. If the visible wiring is in good condition, then you should be all set. Electrical panels Some electrical panels don’t have adequate capacity for the size of home they’re servicing — a scary but true fact. Inspectors will make sure that the panel is sufficient for the size of the house and will also make sure there are no overheated fuses or breakers, in addition to checking the connections of any cables running into the panel. Electrical outlets The inspector will look to see if there’s an adequate number of outlets in each habitable room, for starters, but you can also expect the inspector to spot-check outlets here and there to see if they’re working properly, and to ensure they’re of the correct three-pronged type. Light switches Light switches might seem like a small thing to worry about, but inspectors will nonetheless check to make sure that the light switches are working in the house. Sellers should do a self-check before the inspection and swap out any problematic light bulbs, and possibly even label a light switch if it connects to an outlet (with a floor lamp, for example) instead of an overhead light. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors It might get loud when the inspector checks the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but of course, you’d rather know those are working well before the house sells. Expect the inspector to check and even trigger the alarms to make sure everything is in good working order. Floors and stairways Inspectors will determine whether floors are level and look for any cracks, stains, or signs of damage; the inspector will also want to make sure that stairs have hand railings (if necessary) and that the treads and risers are solid, with no loose boards or other issues that might literally trip someone up. Garage doors In addition to checking for structural issues and leaks in the garage, inspectors will want to make sure the garage door is in good working condition — it opens and closes with no problems, and that automatic garage doors stop where they’re supposed to stop. If it sounds like there’s a lot involved in a home inspection, well, there is! The inspection is one part of the process that’s helpful for both buyers and sellers in terms of protecting everyone’s interests, so ask for references (and even a sample inspection report) when choosing an inspector, and do your best to be present for the event itself so you can hear firsthand about any issues uncovered. (Originally published – Realtor.com)