Why is that Inspector snooping through the Basement and Attic? Top 10 list


Recently I asked my co-host to develop a top 10 list.  It was difficult to pin him down to just ten so that we could advise our audience what are the main seller inspection issues in the present market.  What I didn’t count on was the interesting juxtaposition between what a Home Inspector uncovers and ultimately the repairs that are often requested by a home buyer.


I began by asking Steve to rank his top ten concerns that he uncovers during his work as a residential home inspector – although I thought he would give me a specific itemized list ranked from least important to the most significant, it didn’t really go down that way.

Here is his list:

10-Railings – loose, falling apart (safety issue)

9- Windows/Doors – broken insulated glass seals, moisture evidence, age

8- Evidence of water infiltration – basement walls, ceilings, plumbing problems

7- Structural indicators – cracks walls, sagging floor joists, support beams/columns

6- Insulation Issues – cold exterior walls, gaps, roof insulation adequate?

5- Foundation problems – cracks in basement walls and slab, painted concrete block?

4- Mechanical Systems – HVAC, hot water, boilers, air handlers – functional?

3- Roof surface conditions – worn shingles, vents flashing, performing as designed?

2- Health hazards – mold, asbestos, lead, air quality, radon

1 – Septic system if the property has one – does your toilet flush? Where is the waste going and is it working the way it should?


In my opinion this list is too vague. How can a homeowner be sure that any of those items are serious issues or not?  Oh, and the homeowner can’t use the old excuse that it’s always been like that” so I will sell the house “as is”.  Good luck with that!


Ultimately, everything a Home Inspector documents for a Client (typically a home buyer) is relevant and needs to be understood in the context presented in the report to the Client.  The inspection is like a report card of the current conditions of the house at that very moment in time.  It is meant to give the Client a list of the “significant material defects” (fancy legal language for problems & issues) and to better understand the necessary risks of taking ownership of the property.


Now, My Take!  As a professional contractor specializing in handyman repairs, I decided to add my list to the mix, not to compete with my co-host but to give you an idea of what I am asked to repair.  Some of these items are not my expertise, but all are important and should not be overlooked by the homeowner.  I would also go as far as to suggest that this list can be rectified before the inspection occurs – if the homeowner knows/acknowledges the issues (Wouldn’t that be great!).

10-Front door issues – not closing, weather-stripping, bad paint job

9- Holes in the wall or staining on the ceilings indicating there is/was a leak

8- Doors that do not close/latch or bind – sometimes not properly hung

7- Loose tiles or grout on the floors in bathroom or kitchen

6- Compromised or broken rafters/joists

5- Dead bolt locks interior keyed instead of thumb latch.

4- Deck structure is not up to minimum building safety code

3- Replacement of broken GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) (by the way not a handyman repair in the state of NJ)

2- Evidence of leaks under the sink/cabinet floors are warped/destroyed

1 -Septic issues if the property has one (definitely not a handyman repair but certainly the worst-case scenario for the homeowner – especially if the whole system needs to be replaced.)


This is just a handful of potential red flags that the homeowner should be aware of when selling their home, but surely not a conclusive list. The old adage of  “information is power” definitely applies in the home buyer/seller market, so make sure you take all the steps necessary to feel good about your transaction.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Post Freeze Comments

Was it cold enough for you?  Now that we are coming out of the ice box and will experience some comfortable winter days let’s recap what happened and how to avoid disaster the next time:

Frozen pipes? There are only 2 solutions to this issue, the first solution is to live with it, but install heat tape on those pipes that are running through the cold area causing the freeze.  In this case you should coordinate with a licensed electrician to install a dedicated circuit that you can switch on during the cold months and off when it is warm.  Otherwise, the second solution is to bring in the plumber to reroute those pipes into the warmth.

We also talked about opening your cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to circulate and use ceramic heaters to push heat to spots where pipes are freezing.  It’s not a bad idea to turn up the thermostat by a few degrees while we are experiencing the extreme cold – don’t drop the temp at night.

Here are a few other tips that we discussed during our radio show:

  • Keep your curtains closed to block out cold
  • Allow sunshine to come through windows on the south side of home
  • Use cellophane shrink wrap on windows that are not air tight
  • Furnace cleaning – make sure to change those filters so the furnace is breathing correctly
  • Check the exhaust vents outside to make sure they are not covered with snow and ice – possible carbon monoxide issue.
  • keep garage doors closed to keep cold out.
  • Insulate those attic steps – this open space above the drop door is drafting up all your hot air and creating ice crystals in the attic
  • Make sure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and co detectors
  • Fire places – wood burning fire – did you get a sweep to avoid creosote fires and inspect for holes in masonry.

If you would like to hear the whole broadcast click here!

Cold is an Understatement!

Cold is an understatement.  Pat and I are going to take your questions about what you should do in this kind of weather to guard against frozen pipes, keep your homes warm and monitor your heating systems.  This is unusual weather and continuous cold can take it’s toll on your home and you.  Join us on our radio show “Home Sweet Home”  this Friday at 11 a.m. at HunterdonChamberRadio.com to hear our tips for surviving the deep freeze…

Happy New Year!

Steve and I would like to wish all our clients and friends a very prosperous and Happy New year!  Thank you for contributing to our successes and for allowing us to assist you with your projects!

Winter is coming!

November is the month when we switch gears and think about what indoor projects need to be addressed in the house. But before we start those projects let’s list those last minute chores that we need to accomplish before the white stuff falls from the sky!

  1. October was fire safety month – did you remember to change those batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?  You should change them once a year, unless you have a 10 year sealed battery unit where the battery can not be removed.  Don’t forget to check your fire extinguisher(s) to make sure they are charged.  Don’t have one in your home? Why not?  In fact you should have more than one, the money is well worth the peace of mind if you should ever need to use one – buy extinguishers that are good quality ABC rated, make sure the nozzle and handle are made of steel and not plastic.
  2. Did you check the weatherstripping on your entry doors, this is where you can save big bucks on your energy bill.  You can change those QLon strips quite easily and the big box stores will supply you with the materials you need.
  3. Make sure your dryer ducts are cleaned – the lint is a fire hazard.  In addition look outside at the vent to make sure that it seals out the cold and possible vermin from entering your home.
  4. Get out those mouse traps and guard your garage and basement from unwanted guests.  You can also fill an old stocking with moth balls and set them close to the garage doors, mice hate the smell!  Be careful if you have pets or children, the moth balls are toxic if ingested so take heed!
  5. Clean out those gutters before the contents freeze into a block of ice!  Get those leaves out so the rains and snow melt have a place to drain away from your roof and foundation! You don’t want ice dams forming at the edge of your roofline which can sheer off your gutters and ruin your shingles.
  6. Drain the gas out of your leaf blowers, lawn mower and any other tools that you won’t use for a few months, the gas will gum up the carborators, and get the snow blower ready for action!
  7. If you have a wood stove or fireplace call the chimney sweep and get the flue cleaned, it is easier now then when it is snowing and the contractor can’t get on the roof safely.
  8. If you haven’t gotten your furnace cleaned or maintained you need to do this!  The money spent on a good cleaning will allow your heating system to operate at it’s optimum performance and could save your life if there is a blockage or a crack in the heat exchanger.  Don’t ignore this task, homeowners lose their lives every year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  9. Turn off your outdoor water spigots and remove the hoses so that ice that forms in the hoses does not destroy the brass fitting.
  10. If you plan on plugging your outdoor decorations into an outlet that is not GFCI protected you could risk a fire or electric shock.  Have a licensed electrician check your household wiring for potential problems.
  11. If you have attic drop-down stairs ( sometimes called Jacobs ladder) you should consider trying to insulate or air seal this big hole in your ceiling – it is allowing much of your heat to escape into the attic!  There are zippered tents and you can also construct a 5 sided box using rigid foam insulation boards.
  12. If you have ceiling fans in your home try switching the fan direction and operating it on a low setting to promote circulation of the warm air on the ceiling back to the floor where you can appreciate the warmth.

We hope that this partial list will give you a few ideas on what to be looking for to prepare for old man winter!  If you have any comments or want to add to our list feel free to reply and we can compile your ideas!

Steve, is it Summer Yet?

It is the last day of May – what a beautiful spring we had, lots of rain, cool evenings and the pollen count was making me sneeze!  We are quick to judge the weather and want to jump right into the dog days of summer but it is great when we actually can enjoy the green grass, tulips blooming in all their glory and anticipate beach weather in June.

Our radio show touched on many great topics including “when” you should paint the house – not yet- still too wet!  Did you see any carpenter bees buzzing around your home – that’s bad news so make sure you figure out where they nested! What about power washing the siding and making sure the back deck is safe before you have lots of people partying on it?

So turn on those dehumidifiers in your basement to keep humidity at bay, make sure to get a service call for your air conditioning, don’t wait until July when everyone is calling in an emergency situation!  If you need a new roof now is absolutely the best time to get it installed – but also the most difficult time to book a roofer…

Stay cool, “tune in” to WHCR DB radio and listen to a podcast of our show or listen “live” on Fridays and hopefully we can entertain you for an hour!  Happy summer folks!

Enchanted Aspects can create the kitchen of your dreams!

Tori Valspirit from Enchanted Aspects
Anyone in the market for a new Kitchen?

Are you thinking about remodeling or completely gutting your kitchen? Do you need good quality cabinets and someone to guide you through the process? Listen to our podcast as we speak to Tori Valspirit, an experienced Kitchen Designer, about how she makes dream kitchens for her clients.  She owns a kitchen design studio called ENCHANTED ASPECTS in Lebanon, NJ Hunterdon County.

Welcome to Home Sweet Home

Have you had a conversation with your house recently? What did it tell you?

Welcome to our inaugural blog! Our hope is that you will find helpful information that can give you confidence to try a home repair that you ordinarily would have left to the experts.

Steve and I have several decades of hands-on experience, working with our clients to create safe environments in their homes. You can affectionately call us the “house whisperers”, yes we can talk to your house! (Ok not really…).

Steve Bayly is the real deal when you need to unravel a mystery in your home.  He heads up the Home Inspector part of our dynamic duo – the name of his company is Brass Tack Home Inspections.  Like he always says ” Let’s get down to the brass tacks and make sure we are all on the same page”. His all round knowledge of residential and commercial buildings serves him very well when inspecting a house or office building.  He has a wonderful ability to communicate his findings in an easy to understand manner that is appreciated by the hundreds of satisfied customers he has worked with.

Then there is me, Patrick Gregory with Task Man Home Improvements LLC.  I am a Professional Handyman specializing in small repairs and maintenance around your home.  A large part of my business will come from clients in the process of selling their home and facing the “dreaded” home inspection report!  So you can see that Steve and I have a lot in common and we like to chime in on many home improvement topics!

We broadcast a web radio show every Friday through the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce radio station where we have in depth discussions about home inspection and repairs. As you look around our website, click on the links to our full length archived broadcasts, and feel free to send us an e-mail or comment.  We love to interview people involved in the trades and companies that have products/services that will be useful to our audience. If you would like to be on the show please contact us for more information!  If you want to call in to talk about an issue in your home, just maybe we can solve your problem!  Give us a call during our broadcast at (908) 237-0410.  Talk to you soon!