4 Things to Know About Home Inspections

How to navigate a home inspection

This summer has been so busy, and I haven’t found much time to write lately. And, quite frankly, I haven’t done anything very exciting around the house in a while. Most of my weekend projects have included unpacking final boxes, cleaning, organizing and fixing things that are broken. After a very intense weekend of fixing things that were broken, I decided that I want to share some things about home inspections that I think everyone should know.

There are certainly lessons we’ve learned from buying two houses now, and they’re valuable. Whether you’re in the market for a new home, already own one or hope to buy one someday, my hope is that this quick guide about home inspections will offer some guidance. Or a moment to commiserate. This little list I came up with are all things I wish I had known, or thought that I did know (but really had no idea.)

4 things you need to know about home inspections.(image source)

1. Getting a good home inspector is your wild card.

Please note: I said good inspector. We did this right in Denver when we bought our first home, but messed up on our current place. In Denver our Realtor was amazing and worked with great partners so when it came time for the home inspections she connected us with one of the best. She knew it was important to us (Mike) to have a ‘Holmes on Holmes’ kind of home inspection, and this guy delivered. He found every small imperfection, but more importantly, the big ones.

We were fortunate enough to have some negotiating power and moved in with all of the big problems fixed. And I didn’t appreciate this at the time, but we also knew exactly what we were getting into. There was only one small surprise, which I’ll get into in a second.

When we bought our current house, we were on a super tight timeline, trying to close in just three weeks. So, our Realtor called on the inspector who owed him a favor and got him out to the house in a few days for the home inspection, instead of the 2-3 weeks that most inspectors were going to take. The report came back a little too clean–nothing major, and only a few small things that the sellers were willing to remediate. We took this as good news, and moved forward. Unfortunately, what we’re finding now is that there was a lot of lipstick on this pretty pig.

The thing with the inspection process is that you don’t necessarily have the time to get a second (or third!) opinion. And, you really won’t know how good the inspector was until you’ve already moved in… so, here’s my advice to you: take your time to get references, read reviews and ask around to get the best inspector possible. If you have time to get a second opinion, it’s worth every dollar–I promise.

Home inspections for home buyers: 4 things you need to know(image source)

2. Pay for elective home inspections, too.

There are several items that the standard inspector doesn’t inspect and you can have a specialist come out to inspect them individually. Ask your Realtor about this, as it varies in different states. For example, Radon is highly prominent in Colorado (it’s a gas that comes up in basements from the soil) and though it’s highly dangerous it’s not required to have it tested. We had to elect to have a specialist come out and test for it.

You should also always have a sewer scope! It’s only a few hundred dollars to send a camera down the drain to ensure that all of your underground pipes are in good condition, and totally worth it to save yourself a $12,000+ expense if a pipe bursts. Especially if it’s an older home with clay pipes, don’t skip this step.

Also, get the sprinklers inspected. When we bought our first house we ran the sprinkler system every day until we got a $400 water bill. Come to find out, it was just dumping all the water out into the ground. We didn’t realize that the sprinkler system isn’t part of the normal home inspections, but I highly recommend having it checked if you can.

4 things you need to know about home inspections before you close on a home(image source)

3. When it comes to home inspections, Don’t be shy about asking her age.

Knowing how old things are in the house will help you both short-term and longterm. If the inspection reports that the water heater is in great condition, ask how old it is (It has a sticker with a date on it.) If it’s 12 years old, you’ll likely be replacing it at some point even if it’s working well now.

Make a list and find out the age of things like the HVAC, appliances, plumbing, most recent remodels, etc. Also, ask about the upkeep and find out when the last pesticide was sprayed or carpet cleaning was done.  Some of these answers will come out of the home inspections, but don’t rely on them to offer up the details. It will help you budget and plan for these expenses later on, at the very least, so don’t be shy about asking!

Home buyers: The truth about home inspections(image source)

4. Home warranties aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

I don’t know how many times I heard “you better get a home warranty!” when we were buying our first home. They seem like such a great idea, but the reality is that they’re a waste of money.

First, they only cover a limited number of items–mostly major ones. Appliances are covered, but not if they’re broken–only if they need to be replaced. Garage door openers, leaks, mold and electrical are not covered. If you do have a problem with something that’s covered,  you can call them and they’ll send out their preferred partner to check it out. They’ll charge a trip fee as well as “nickel and dime” you on several other small costs.

Personally, I prefer to call out highly-rated companies for a free consultation and then negotiate a good rate on the repair. I’ve heard from several friends that going through their home warranty has actually cost them more money than if they hadn’t.

It’s nearly impossible to buy a house without any problems, so the most important thing is to set realistic expectations for the home inspections. Part of home ownership is fixing things you don’t want to fix. I think we’ve finally gotten most of the dirty work out of our way, and I’m looking forward to getting back to decorating and settling in!

 

Bathroom Remodel Inspiration

Bathroom Remodel Inspiration

I just share my master bath makeover with you, and it sounds insane, but we’re planning a bathroom remodel.

We’ve been so busy the past month dealing with a little plumbing problem (which I can’t share too much about) and we’re pretty much forced to go ahead and do the bathroom remodel now. It’s been crazy hectic calling contractors, meeting with them and getting quotes! We’ve also been working with a space planner to ensure that we’re utilizing our square footage to the max, and we’re now on round four… But, it’s also super exciting!

I’ve spent lots of time searching for inspiration and trying to figure out what I want, which is a ton of fun but also a little overwhelming.  Especially since I have such expensive taste! I think I’ve finally got a pretty clear picture of what I want to do, and lucky for me, Mike and I generally agree on these things (I do have great taste, after all…)

I love all white bathrooms, but I’ve really been into black and white lately.  I’d love to incorporate brass hardware as well, but that’s the one thing Mike didn’t agree with, so I’ll let him win that one.  And by win, I mean that I’ll do it in the guest bathroom instead. ;)

I will share our space plans with y’all next week, but in the mean time I thought I’d share some of the photos I’ve been swooning over.  Whenever I’m looking for ideas and inspiration I generally have a few go-to sites: Pinterest, Houzz, MyDomaine and Apartment Therapy.

Here’s some of my favorite bathroom remodel inspiration:

Mixed Media

I love how they mixed up the metals in this bathroom. Chrome on the vanity lights, brushed nickel on the faucets and drawer pulls, and then the glass knobs on the drawers. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be matchy-matchy.

 

White cabinets-bathroom remodel

 (Image via Pinterest)

 

Tile Patterns

I love creating texture with tile, and I can’t get over the way they used different patterns and textures within the same color scheme.  Notice the hexagon pattern on the shower floor–that’s a must in my new shower!

mydomaine bathroom photo

 (Image via Apartment Therapy)

 

Wood on white

I have really found myself drawn to this trend of wood on white, and this bathroom is ideal. I love how they’ve incorporated this amazing vanity (I’m seriously in love) into the all-white color scheme. Based on the comments on this post, it was custom made in NYC, so it likely cost the same amount as my entire remodel budget… I’ve gotta find someone to make this for me!

midcentury modern bathroom vanity

 (Image via Houzz)

 

Subway Tile

It’s so basic, but I just love white subway tile. It never goes out of style and it’s super cheap. Lowe’s sells it for 72 cents a tile–you can’t beat it!  I’m definitely going to be using it in my new bathroom, but I’m on the fence with the black grout. I go back and forth on it–what do you think?

white subway tile-bathroom remodel

 (Image via Pinterest)

 

Black + White Geometric Tile

This is a seriously bold look, but I really love it. I think it adds character and definitely some style! I’m thinking that maybe I’ll use something similar for the shower floor.

white-black bathroom remodel inspiration

 (Image via Pinterest)

 

Tile Accent Walls

I really want to do a tiled wall above the vanity.  I think it’s a great way to create a really elegant look, and would be an ideal spot to use some of the more expensive tile I’ve found since it’s just a small area.  This is the tile I’ve been dreaming of for this.

tile for bathroom remodel

 (Image via MyDomaine)

We have so many choices to make! Stay tuned to see the space plans next week and to find out how this bathroom remodel turns out later on.

My Favorite Summer Trends

summer decor trends

If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably know by now that I have a bit of an addiction.  As a visually-inspired person, Pinterest is my favorite social network and down time go-to. I draw a ton of ideas and inspiration from pins, and it’s one way that I stay current on decor and fashion trends. I also have a few magazine-style lifestyle blogs that I like to follow for inspiration, like My Domaine and Glitter Guide.

Mike and I have an ongoing joke about how I don’t read–I only like to look at pictures.  We laugh about it, but the truth is that I do really like pictures! :) So, I wanted to share some pictures with y’all and tell you about the summer trends that I’ve been swooning over.

1. Pineapple

Pineapple has been popping up everywhere, and I can’t get enough of it!  From accent pieces to fabrics, accessorizing with pineapples has been a huge thing this summer.

Decorating with Pineapple

Decorating walls with pineapple art

2. Greek Blue

I’ve always been a fan of bright cobalt blue–especially paired with white.  Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of our 2008 trip to Greece, but this color just makes me happy!

Greek Blue painted dresser

Cobalt blue kitchen

greek blue bedroom decor

3. Word Art

I think this trend may have started with Taylor Swift’s clever little graphic tees, but I’m totally on board. I have a nerdy affinity for typography (see, I do read!) so I love the idea of dressing up my walls with short, pretty messages! Bonus points for music lyrics or movie quotes.

word art wall decor

word graphics for walls

4. Flamingoes

Okay, seriously–aren’t pink flamingoes every little girl’s favorite “animal” at some point? Even at 31, they still put a smile on my face. I would love to decorate our back patio with a flamingo theme… It would never fly with Mister Weaver, but it would be so much fun–black, white, flamingoes!

flamingo wall art

flamingo wallpaper

flamingo bathroom

5. White + Black

Speaking of black and white, I love that this classic color combo is so hot right now.  Ten years ago we were all into the browns, and then we transitioned to grays… and now white and black are the neutral palette of the future.

white and black graphic living roomblack and white bathroom

black and white modern kitchen

 

So, which of these trends are your favorite?  Check back next week to see how I’ve incorporated at least two of them into our master bathroom makeover!

Violent Seas: The Blue Bathroom Nightmare

blue bathroom nightmareWhat started out as a genius plan turned into a blue bathroom nightmare, which we’re now referring to as ‘Violent Seas’.

Our master bathroom is hideous.  I mean, beyond bad.  The best way I can describe it is that it reminds me of a cheap hotel in Mexico. We will definitely remodel it, but that’s at least a year or two away and I’ve seriously lost sleep wondering what in the world I’m going to do with it in the mean time.

Ugly out-dated bathroom

The one almost likable feature is the cobalt blue tiles that accent the insanely tiny (dark!) shower.  So, one day as I was washing my hair I thought, “Maybe I should just embrace the ugliness and work with it, instead of trying to change it.  Maybe I should paint the walls blue!”  Later that day I was at Target and spotted some awesome blue and white towels, and the deal was sealed.  I bought the towels and a few rugs and burst with excitement when I told Mike the news (he, obviously, did not share my excitement.)

I browsed Pinterest for some inspiration and played with about 20 paint chips over the next couple of weeks. I knew it was going to have to be the perfect blue in order for me to pull it off–especially with the heavily textured walls.  I kept going back to this picture, described as Benjamin Moore’s Symphony Blue:Benjamin Moore Symphony Blue

I went ahead and got a gallon of the color so that we could get the entire main floor painted over Memorial Day weekend.

So, we had gotten almost every room painted in a day—it was getting late but all we had left was the bathroom and an accent wall in the bedroom.  I tackled the bedroom while Mike started the bathroom.  A few minutes in I shouted, “How’s it looking in there, babe?” When his response was “Uh, I don’t know…” I knew something was wrong.

I walked around the corner and my eyes burned as I tried to wrap my head around what I was looking at.

Ugly blue bathroom

It was clearly not covering very well, so Mike tried to make me feel better about it by telling me that it probably just needed a second coat, so I quickly slapped some more paint onto a small section.  Which didn’t help.

Symphony Blue Bathroom

We decided to get the first coat on the entire room (because, why wouldn’t we stop while we were ahead?  We’ve got to get in deep.)

Ugly blue bathroom paint color

Eventually, we called it a night–I needed some time to figure out what to do. I mean, what in the heck was I going to do?!  I hardly slept that night thinking about it.  Whenever Mike went in there he kindly reminded me that he felt like he was in an aquarium. The textured walls sort of gave it a “wave” feeling.

I showed my mom in the morning to see if she had any sage advice, and she was even speechless. I told her that I was going for a calming blue, and she told me, “honey, you’ve got violent seas!”

I spent the entire next day painting it gray.

Before + After: Living Room Lighting

Blog-Post-Living room- Lighting

In my last post, I told y’all about my intense hunt to find new lighting… And I finally get to reveal our first update!

I’ve really gotten into this mid-mod style over the past four years or so,  but I still like for our home to feel modern and cozy.  Full-out retro is a little much for me, but I love mixing in mid-century pieces in a more subtle way.

Our living room is huge! I think it’s like 25 feet long by 19 feet wide, and the ceilings are super, super tall.  It had an ugly ceiling fan when we bought it, and that thing had to go! The challenge was that it needed a big fixture in there to fill the space.

Before photo - Living room Lighting

I’ve been obsessed with the 1954 Sputnik replica lights, and was searching everywhere for one big enough and cheap enough.  We needed something that was at least 32″ in diameter, and the lighting replicas I was finding were only about 12″-16″, and starting at about $399.  My budget was $250. Yikes.

I had found one on Joss and Main for only $150, so I snagged it up and figured I’d put it in the dining room and do something different in the living room.  So I searched and searched for a new idea.

Eventually, I was looking on Amazon for about the tenth time, and found it! This big, chrome beauty! At only $280, I packaged up the other one and shipped it back to Joss and Main.  Mind you, we spent another hundred bucks on light bulbs (WTF.)

It’s a chrome fixture with twenty bulbs, measuring 36-inches in diameter. It’s perfect!

BEfore-After

I am so happy with the way it looks–it’s truly perfect. It’s such a great feeling when your vision becomes a reality.

Shop here: Large 12-Light Chrome Sputnik Hanging Pendant


EuroStyleLighting.com – Save $10 off $150 coupon.