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Henry Toman
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What Really Matters

Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?

Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

1. Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
2. Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
3. Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
4. Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure or nit-picky items.

My Promise to You
Choosing the right home inspector can be difficult. Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get to meet me until after you hire me. Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods and yes, different pricing. One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work. Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual inspector’s own effort. If you honor me by permitting me to inspect your new home, I guarantee that I will give you my very best effort. This I promise you.

Henry "Sonny"  Toman
1st American Home Inspections, LLC

Fax 1-443-378-8996
Cell 443-685-4062
sonny@1stAmericanHi.com
 
    Inspecting the American Dream
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Here is some useful information about maintaining your chimney.For more information or to schedule an inspection go to our website:
www.1stAmericanHomeInspections.com
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How do I add a manager to my account for external optimization purposes?

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Want to improve you email marketing?

This quick video has some helpful tips!

Enjoy!
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How to get the most out of your air conditioner

Dirty coils are the #1 cause of major repairs to your heating and cooling system. Here is a video that shows just how easy it is to do your own little clean up job on the air conditioner. You don't have  to fool with a disconnect, you can turn everything off in the breaker panel if that is easier. In our area 3 times a cooling season is probably about right. If you can spray from the inside to the outside, that is even better. 

Enjoy!
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If your Realtor scheduled your home inspection when you bought your home, you might be a little confused about their relationship. You are the "client" of both the Realtor and the Home Inspector. That means that they are both obligated to perform their duties in a way that is in your best interest. A detailed inspection report can make an agents job more complicated but may be exactly what their client needs. A report full of inconsequential information in an attempt to impress the buyer may not be in anyone's best interest. Home inspectors usually try their best to strike the perfect balance, but it's not easy to do sometimes!

I will always represent my Client!
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Recalled Smoke Alarm

If you ran out and purchased new smoke alarms when the state of Maryland changed the rules for type of alarm and placement (GOOD IDEA) you may have bought a defective product! Follow the link to find out more. And if you haven't updated your smoke alarms, it may be time to do so.
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Smoke Alarms can save your Life!

In 2013 the Maryland State Legislature updated Maryland's fire code as it relates to smoke alarms. This revision was designed to reduce the number of fatalities statewide. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), "U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home structure fires per year during the five-year-period of 2007-2011.  These fires caused an estimated average of 2,570 civilian deaths, 13,210 civilian injuries, and $7.2 billion in direct property damage per year.  Almost three-quarters (71%) of the reported home structure fires and 84% of the home fire deaths occurred in one- or two-family homes, including manufactured homes." 

​I'm only including the information that relates to residential properties that are similar to ​our homes here in the Peach Orchard. I've highlighted the areas of particular concern as I see it. The new law requires smoke alarms of a particular type, powered by a particular source (more on that later), on every level of the home.  I am not trying to define the exact requirements of the law as that is very difficult. If you Google this issue, you will find some differences in the information being made available by state and county agencies. I have included an attachment that I thought was the easiest to understand. I'm not sure that all fire marshals would agree on what the new law means for home owners. The law requires all homes to be updated by July 1, 2018.

More from the NFPA.

"Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and non-fatal home fire injuries.  Smoking materials are still the leading cause of home fire deaths.  Half of all home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11:00  p.m. and 7:00 a.m.  One-quarter (25%) of all home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom ; another quarter (24%) resulted from fires originating in the living room, family room, or den; and 16% were caused by fires starting in the kitchen.  Three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present or in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate.  Compared to other age groups, older adults were more likely to be killed by a home fire."

The legislature did not require smoke alarms in the sleeping areas of a home older than July 1, 2013, only new homes built after that date. I am very surprised by that in light of the highlighted portion above. Half of all home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m (when we are likely asleep).  One-quarter (25%) of all home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom (where we sleep). It seems to me that the legislature should have required smoke alarms in all bedrooms for the greatest reduction in preventable deaths.

Any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older should be replaced. Now, about the new smoke alarm requirements; any existing AC powered smoke alarms that need to be replaced, should be replaced with AC/DC smoke alarms. This simply means that the new smoke alarm should have a battery back up in case of a power outage. These may use 9 volt batteries as a back up. I would strongly recommend an alarm that has an easily opened battery compartment. If you are adding or replacing smoke alarms that are not wired to the electrical system; use smoke alarms that are powered by a sealed battery that cannot be removed. This is because occupants will sometimes remove batteries from alarms that become a nuisance, often caused by a toaster or low battery warning. As I've personally observed in rental homes that I managed, the batteries are often forgotten and never replaced. Remember; "Three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present or in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate."

If you have any questions or need help with choosing smoke alarms, please feel free to call me.


Thank you

Henry (Sonny) Toman
1st American Home Inspections, LLC
443-388-2410
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If you are handy, this isn't too hard to do on your own. Remember to carefully check all of those connections when you are done. A leak under the kitchen sink can lead to a LOT of damage.
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