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  • June 6, 2024

    Maintaining a lush, healthy lawn as a homeowner can be both rewarding and challenging. With the right care and attention, your lawn can become the envy of the neighborhood. In this blog post, I will cover essential lawn maintenance practices, including mowing frequency, correct mowing height, aeration, dethatching, seasonal raking, fertilization, and watering. By following these tips, you can ensure your lawn remains vibrant and well-maintained throughout the year. Mowing Frequency Mowing is one of the most fundamental aspects of lawn care. The frequency of mowing depends on the type of grass you have and the growing season. Generally, during the peak growing seasons (spring and summer), lawns should be mowed once a week. However, in cooler months or during periods of slow growth, mowing every two weeks may suffice. Regular mowing helps to keep the grass healthy by promoting even growth and preventing weeds from taking over. It also helps to keep the lawn looking neat and tidy. It’s important to never cut more than one-third of the grass blade at a time, as cutting too much can stress the grass and lead to browning or disease. Correct Mowing Height The height at which you mow your grass plays a crucial role in its health. Different types of grass have different optimal mowing heights. For example: Cool-season grasses (like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue): These grasses thrive when kept at a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Warm-season grasses (like Bermuda and Zoysia): These grasses do best when maintained at a height of 1 to 2 inches. Maintaining the correct mowing height helps the grass to develop a deeper root system, which improves drought resistance and nutrient uptake. Taller grass can also shade the soil, helping to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Aeration Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. Aeration is especially beneficial for lawns that are heavily trafficked or have compacted soil. The best time to aerate your lawn is during the growing season, when the grass can recover quickly. For cool-season grasses, early spring or fall is ideal, while late spring or early summer is best for warm-season grasses. Aerating once a year is generally sufficient for most lawns, but heavily compacted soils may benefit from more frequent aeration. Dethatching Thatch is a layer of organic matter that accumulates between the soil and the grass blades. While a small amount of thatch (less than half an inch) can be beneficial, providing insulation and protecting the roots, too much thatch can be harmful. Excessive thatch can prevent water, air, and nutrients from reaching the soil, leading to a weak, unhealthy lawn. Dethatching involves removing this excess layer, usually with a dethatching rake or a power dethatcher. The best time to dethatch is during the grass’s peak growing season. For cool-season grasses, early spring or fall is ideal, while late spring or early summer is best for warm-season grasses. Seasonal Raking Raking is an essential part of lawn maintenance, particularly in the spring and fall. In the spring, raking helps to remove dead grass, leaves, and debris that have accumulated over the winter. This allows sunlight, air, and nutrients to reach the soil and encourages new growth. Spring raking also helps to prevent the development of mold and disease. However, delaying spring raking can benefit bees and other pollinators that take refuge under the leaf cover. Waiting until temperatures consistently reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit allows these beneficial insects to emerge safely, supporting their crucial role in pollination and maintaining a healthy ecosystem. By timing your raking activities carefully, you can balance lawn care with environmental stewardship. In the fall, raking is crucial for removing fallen leaves. If leaves are left to accumulate, they can smother the grass, leading to bare spots and making the lawn more susceptible to disease. Regular raking throughout the fall can help keep your lawn healthy and prepare it for the winter months. Fertilization Fertilizing your lawn provides the essential nutrients it needs to grow thick and green. The type and frequency of fertilization depend on the type of grass and the soil conditions. Generally, lawns benefit from fertilization in the spring and fall. Spring fertilization: Helps to jump-start growth and replenish nutrients depleted over the winter. Fall fertilization: Supports root growth and helps the lawn recover from summer stress while preparing it for winter dormancy. It’s important to use the right type of fertilizer for your grass type and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive growth and increase the risk of disease. Watering Proper watering is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn. Most lawns require about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently rather than shallowly and frequently. Deep watering encourages the grass to develop deep roots, which helps it to withstand drought and heat. The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning when temperatures are cooler and the wind is calmer. This helps to reduce water loss through evaporation and ensures that the grass has enough moisture to get through the day. Avoid watering in the evening, as prolonged moisture on the grass blades can promote disease. Remember that every lawn is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the best maintenance routine for your specific conditions. With dedication and care, your lawn can become a beautiful and functional space for you and your family to enjoy.

  • May 18, 2024

    The advertising budget was increased this month. Be sure to watch the promotional video for West Egg Inspections.

  • May 7, 2024

    It could be stressful to sell your house. Enlisting it on the market is also a very personal experience for you. Why wouldn’t it be? The potential homebuyers and their real estate agents will be walking through – and criticizing everything. Whether it be the curb appeal or square footage, they will have their opinion about everything. And if you want to secure a great deal, you need your home to appear the finest before them. After all, everyone desires a strong return on their investment. Like many, your house might also be your most significant investment. Thus, it is important that your property gives back the reward of putting in all the time and effort. But how to ensure that? One way is scheduling a pre-listing inspection. It works like the last nail you need to hit and get the upper hand while making the deal. This blog will highlight the importance of pre-listing inspection, covering the significant reasons why you need to get one. Understand Your Property’s Condition Once you conduct a pre-listing inspection, the inspector provides you with the most accurate evaluation of your house’s state. You will get the vital information that will help you list your home. A great deal about these inspections is that they will enlighten you about major defects in your house. And you can handle these before enlisting your property. You should know that it’s common for buyers to back out of the deal once their inspector discovers issues with the property during the inspection. In fact, the frequency of buyers backing out for this reason is 3.9% nationwide. Thus, it’s ideal for you to schedule your inspection first. Address the issues found during the inspection. And lastly, put your house on the market. Eventually, this will reduce your chances of losing any potential buyer. They won’t be able to find the hidden defect, so, no backing out of the deal. You Can Make Advanced Repairs Once the inspector discovers the issue, it’s time for you to discuss it with your agent. You can partner with them to decide which ones need fixing before listing. While the ones left, you can disclose them to the buyer, separately. Furthermore, if you decide to make some home repairs or upgrades, you will have enough time to find contractors and compare prices. This will save you money, time, and stress as you’ll be able to control the projects. Sometimes, it is also best to leave some of the repairs as per the buyer’s choice. This might lead to an unsuccessful sale, though. But that’s not always the case. The new owner also wants to control the repairs per their needs and wants. Thus, the best way to decide what should be your steps is to work with your agent. They will guide you with the best action plan per your situation. And your home will be ready for sale in no time. Accurate Pricing of Your Home No buyer likes a home that’s overly priced. And no seller likes to underprice their home. Therefore, sellers always seem perplexed about choosing the right price for their property. They want to choose a price that might not scare away the potential property. And, of course, they also don’t want to lose their money by settling lower prices. So, pre-listing inspection is the best way to get as close as possible to the perfect price. You can also work with your listing agent and use a pre-listing report not unjustly to set your home’s price. Whereas, if the buyer still criticizes or objects to the price, you can always use the inspection report to justify the listing price. Avoid a Buyer Home Inspection Often, buyers plan on getting their own home inspection before buying the house. But, if you provide them with your pre-listing home inspection report, they might think of forgoing their own inspection. After all, what’s the point when the inspector won’t be able to find any significant defects? This won’t only save the buyer’s time, but they will also be able to save their money. This is a plus; buying a house is as stressful as selling one. Skipping some steps won’t only accelerate the process but will also be advantageous for both parties. Moreover, if your house is listed as “inspected,” then it will be more appealing to potential buyers. This might work as a catalyst for your deal. Of course, buyers can still choose to get their home inspection and compare their inspection results with yours. This will allow them to buy the house with complete peace of mind, and they might not choose to negotiate the price. Earn Credibility and Trust You want your life’s biggest deal to be based on trust and credibility. This is a significant reason to get a pre-listing inspection. During the process, it’s important that you gain the buyer’s trust if you want to close the deal quickly. A house is a major investment people make in their lives. So, most buyers take every step with utmost precision and remain very careful when buying a home. With your inspection report, they can feel the security and safety in their decision to buy your house. Not to forget, getting the buyer’s trust is an advantage during the home-selling process. Less Negotiations One factor that every home seller runs away from is negotiations. This mostly happens when the buyer plans to inspect the house. Most of the time, these negotiations focus on fixing the issues that their inspector finds. But you can skip all of this with a pre-listing inspection on your end. With this, you can account for your home’s condition and work on the disclosure with your real estate agent. This isn’t just a benefit for the seller but also for the buyer as they will get accurate and reliable information. Both of the parties will stay on the same page throughout the transaction. In case the buyer’s inspection reveals new problems, you can always compare the report and call the inspector. This way, you can have another consultation and clear up any doubts. Conclusion We can never overstate the importance of a pre-listing inspection. You can gain invaluable insights into your property’s condition by scheduling an inspection before putting a home on the market. This way, you can address every issue proactively. Not only will this help set a realistic asking price…but it will also foster trust and transparency with potential buyers. Furthermore, this leads to smoother transactions and possibly even higher offers. You can also gain knowledge and make informed decisions. Eventually, negotiating from a position of strength. On the whole, investing in a pre-listing inspection is a strategic move. This will save you time, money, and stress while maximizing the value of your home sale. Ready to experience the peace of mind and confidence of a thorough home inspection? Contact West Egg Inspections today to schedule your comprehensive inspection and take the first step towards a smoother, more successful home-selling journey. Don’t wait – book your inspection now!

  • May 3, 2024

    Take a personalized tour of West Egg Inspections and Home Services LLC website. We look forward to helping you make an informed decision on your next home purchase. https://youtu.be/6YGH_esyK9E

  • April 28, 2024

    The May edition of MAHI's newsletter. As spring showers drench the earth, it’s crucial to ensure your basement remains dry. Preventing moisture buildup not only safeguards your home’s foundation but also preserves valuable belongings. In this newsletter, we explore effective strategies and maintenance tips to keep your basement free from unwanted water intrusion this spring season.

  • April 27, 2024

    My workload has shifted in 2024 from less regular home inspections to more HUD inspections. I welcome either type of work with open arms. Always looking for more! Because more of my video posts on FB show me at a HUD inspection I am getting more questions on the 203(k) loan program. I appreciate the questions and here's my answers: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a unique loan program known as the FHA 203k loan, designed to help homeowners and prospective buyers finance both the purchase (or refinance) and rehabilitation of a property within a single loan. This program is particularly attractive for those looking to buy a fixer-upper or renovate their existing home without taking out a separate loan for the renovation. The FHA 203k loan is a government-backed mortgage product designed to fund the purchase and rehabilitation of a home. It is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) effort to encourage homeownership and revitalize communities. The loan allows borrowers to finance both the cost of purchasing a home and the cost of renovations or repairs in a single mortgage, simplifying the process and reducing closing costs. There are two types of FHA 203k loans: the Limited 203k and the Standard 203k. The Limited 203k is designed for smaller projects with a cap of $35,000 in renovation costs. The Standard 203k allows for larger-scale projects but requires more oversight and documentation. Choosing the right type of loan depends on the scope of the renovation. The FHA 203k loan can be used for a variety of renovation projects, including structural repairs, room additions, roof replacements, plumbing and electrical upgrades, and more. However, it cannot be used for luxury improvements like swimming pools or outdoor kitchens. One of the significant advantages of the FHA 203k loan is its flexibility. It can be used for various purposes, including purchasing a home in need of repairs, refinancing an existing mortgage, or even converting a property into a different use, such as a single-family home into a multi-unit dwelling. This flexibility makes it appealing to a broad range of homeowners and investors. Another advantage is the relatively low down payment requirement, typically around 3.5% of the total loan amount (including the cost of renovations). This makes it easier for buyers with limited funds to enter the market and invest in properties with renovation potential. Additionally, the FHA 203k loan is available to a broader range of borrowers, as it has more relaxed credit requirements compared to conventional loans. This accessibility makes it an attractive option for those with lower credit scores or limited credit history. Despite its benefits, the FHA 203k loan has some drawbacks. The loan process can be more complex and time-consuming compared to traditional mortgages, as it involves additional paperwork, inspections, and contractor estimates. Borrowers must work with HUD-approved contractors and adhere to specific guidelines, which can be restrictive. Despite its complexity, the 203(k) loan offers a cost-effective way to finance both purchase and rehabilitation in a single loan.

  • April 22, 2024

    Earth Day, celebrated on April 22 each year, is a global event that reminds us of our collective responsibility to care for our planet. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has grown into a worldwide movement with millions of participants advocating for environmental protection, conservation, and sustainability. As we reflect on the origins of Earth Day and the impact it has had over the years, it’s essential to consider what each of us can do to make a difference. The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, a pivotal moment in the environmental movement. It was spearheaded by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, who was inspired by the devastating 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson, along with activist Denis Hayes, organized a national “teach-in” on environmental issues. This event aimed to raise awareness about environmental degradation and to encourage political leaders to take action. The initial Earth Day saw 20 million Americans—college students, environmentalists, and concerned citizens—participate in rallies, protests, and educational events. This mass mobilization helped bring environmental issues into the national spotlight, leading to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of key environmental legislation, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Today, Earth Day has evolved into a global event, with over 190 countries participating. The movement has expanded to address a wide range of environmental challenges, from climate change and deforestation to plastic pollution and biodiversity loss. Earth Day serves as a reminder that protecting our planet is a shared responsibility, and it calls on individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to take action. While the issues facing our planet can seem overwhelming, each of us has the power to make a positive impact. Here are some practical steps you can take to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable Earth: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Adopt the “three R’s” approach to minimize waste. Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics, reuse items whenever possible, and recycle materials like paper, glass, and metal. Conserve Energy: Use energy-efficient appliances, switch to LED light bulbs, and turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Consider renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. Limit Water Usage: Conserve water by fixing leaks, using low-flow fixtures, and reducing water-intensive activities. Water conservation helps protect aquatic ecosystems and reduces energy consumption. Support Sustainable Practices: Choose eco-friendly products and support businesses with sustainable practices. Look for certifications like Fair Trade and organic when shopping. Plant Trees and Gardens: Trees absorb carbon dioxide, provide habitat for wildlife, and improve air quality. Planting a garden can also contribute to local biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions from food transportation. Educate and Advocate: Share information about environmental issues with your friends and family. Advocate for policies that promote sustainability and environmental protection at local, national, and global levels. By embracing sustainable practices and encouraging others to do the same, we can create a brighter, greener future for generations to come.

  • April 16, 2024

    Good article in the April 16, 2024 Star Tribune, entitled "Three south metro cities tackle high radium levels". The complete article is attached below but some takeaways: City officials are using different strategies to reduce levels of the naturally occurring carcinogen, from building a new water treatment plant to buying more water from a neighboring city. According to the Department of Health, everyone is exposed to radiation in daily life. But a person has a higher risk of getting cancer if they drink water with radium in it every day for many years. Aging infrastructure has been the primary reason for exceedances Radioactivity is a difficult thing to measure. While testing for other contaminants has an "allowable variability" of 10%, for radium it's much higher, at 30%. In addition, I would add: Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium and radium, found in rocks and soil. Uranium breaks down to radium, and radium eventually decays into the gas radon. Radon gas is in the soil and common throughout Minnesota. Because soil is porous, radon moves up from the soil and into the home. It can then accumulate in the air and become a health concern. Radon is a serious public health concern in Minnesota. The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level. This is due to our geology and how our homes are operated. Minnesota homes are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon. In Minnesota, more than two in five homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk. Individuals conducting radon measurement in Minnesota are required to be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). West Egg is fully compliant with their licensing and calibration of equipment.

  • April 3, 2024

    The MAHI April Newsletter. As the snow melts and temperatures begin to rise, Minnesota homeowners can finally bid farewell to winter and welcome the joys of spring. However, before diving headfirst into the season of blooming flowers and chirping birds, it’s crucial to ensure that your home is prepared for the transition. Included in this Newsletter is a checklist of essential tasks to tackle as spring arrives.

  • March 20, 2024

    When it comes to choosing between electric and gas ranges and stovetops, there's often a heated debate (pun intended) among home cooks and professional chefs alike. Both options come with their own advantages and disadvantages, and recent legislation around gas stoves is also influencing consumer decisions. Let's explore the key factors to consider when deciding which type of stove or range is right for you. Electric ranges and stovetops are known for their ease of installation and maintenance. They offer a smooth cooking surface, making cleanup a breeze. Safety features such as automatic shutoff controls are also common, appealing to families with young children. However, electric stoves can be slower to heat up compared to gas, and their heat distribution may not be as even, leading to potential cooking challenges, especially for more delicate dishes. Gas ranges and stovetops are favored by many chefs for their precise temperature control and instant heat. The ability to quickly adjust temperatures is crucial for tasks like sautéing and searing. Gas burners also provide even heat distribution, resulting in more consistent cooking results. However, installation can be complex, requiring a gas line connection and professional expertise. Maintenance is also key to ensure safety and prevent gas leaks. While both electric and gas options have their merits, personal preferences often dictate the choice. Professional chefs tend to gravitate towards gas stoves for their responsiveness and performance, while home cooks may appreciate the convenience and safety features of electric stoves. Ultimately, it comes down to individual cooking styles and priorities. In recent years, there has been growing concern over the environmental impact of gas stoves, particularly their contribution to indoor air pollution. Some jurisdictions have introduced legislation to phase out gas stoves in new construction or incentivize the use of electric alternatives. T hese measures reflect a broader shift towards greener living and sustainable energy practices. Proper venting is essential when using gas stoves to ensure the safe removal of combustion byproducts, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Range hoods or exhaust fans should be installed to vent fumes outdoors, away from living spaces. Regular maintenance of ventilation systems is also important to ensure optimal performance and safety. Whether you opt for the precision of gas or the simplicity of electric, making an informed decision ensures a satisfying cooking experience for years to come.

  • March 9, 2024

    You might have thought you were hearing about radon for the last time in your chemistry class. But, SURPRISE! Radon exists beyond the periodic table, actually. And it might be there in the house you’re about to buy. High radon levels aren’t a good sign and definitely a red flag for your potential house. How do you know whether it exists in the house? You can always get a radon test to ensure that the house is free of radon; if not, you can think about the further steps you would be taking in the future. In this blog, I’ll emphasize the importance of radon testing in your potential house and what makes it a non-negotiable step in your home-buying step. Let’s first start with what really is radon. What Is Radon? The American Cancer Society states that radon within the house is caused by airborne radon gas that decays into minute radioactive elements known as radon progeny. These elements can lodge in the lining of the lungs and emit radiation, which can eventually cause damage to lung cells. And worse, it can result in lung cancer. And to your surprise, it’s the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking. Usually, radon-related lung cancer occurs in smokers. Yet, high radon levels can still pose a threat to non-smokers. So, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your home’s indoor air quality is maintained and you can promise your loved ones a safe living environment. If you’re thinking that we’ll handle the issue once we “see” it, then know that radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. You can’t see it, but you can definitely witness its consequences. This is exactly what makes the radon testing an essential part of your home-buying process. Is Radon Testing Really Necessary When Buying A Home? Getting a radon test is not “really” necessary, but I would recommend that you get one before buying a house. As they say, “Prevention is always better than cure.” If you have concerns about radon in a house that you already own, I would also recommend a test for "peace of mind". There are mitigation solutions to bring the radon level down. I already mentioned that radon is the second most common reason behind lung cancer. But that’s not it. The gas also causes another health issue among the exposed: respiratory issues. Therefore, you want to ensure that the house you’re investing in is aesthetically pleasing, safe, and livable. How To Test For Radon? You always have a choice here as you can choose from two kinds of tests. The first one is done by a professional (and we highly recommend this one). The second one is a DIY that you can perform just by buying a testing kit from a hardware store. When performing a do-it-yourself test, you will place the kit at the lowest point in your home for a minimum of 48 hours. After performing the test, you will submit it to a lab for analysis. For a professional test, contact a radon professional organization that can perform a test for you and give you better insights into the radon levels. West Egg can provide that service. Short-Term Tests You usually get your results within 2-3 days with a short-term test. This gives you ample time to decide whether you need to take further preventive or mitigating steps, depending on the severity of the issues. However, if the issue is severe, you can also choose to back out of the deal. Obviously, you don’t want to buy a red flag, do you? Typically, these tests are cheaper. But it entirely depends on whether you choose to DIY or conduct professional tests. Of course, a DIY will cost less than a professional test. Long-Term Tests Your radon will be monitored for up to a year and longer during a long-term test. This is because radon levels can vary greatly, and since longer-term testing accounts for a longer time frame, they may be more accurate. If significant radon levels are found, a professional typically advises you to take a long-term test after the short-term one. Radon Testing And Home Inspection In the context of home inspections, radon testing is important since it adds a critical level of knowledge for prospective purchasers. Traditional home inspections focus on a house’s outside and structural elements, but the testing explores the interior and finds possible health risks. As part of your due diligence, you should make sure that radon testing is a part of the home inspection procedure. You can do this by contacting companies that perform home inspections and testing. Considering the potentially dire effects of increased radon levels, it’s an extra layer of protection. What Should You Do If You Buy A House With High Radon Levels? There aren’t any accessible medical tests that measure radon exposure. You make an effort to quit smoking if you have been exposed to elevated radon levels. Smoking and radon exposure together significantly increase the risk of lung cancer compared to each exposure factor alone. Discuss with your doctor whether you should undergo screening tests for lung cancer or just routine checkups to ensure there are no symptoms of the disease if you believe you may have been exposed to high amounts of radon for extended periods. Be aware of the following signs of lung cancer: Shortness of breath New or worsening cough Tightness or pain in the chest Hoarseness Difficulty swallowing If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away. Conclusion In conclusion, the importance of radon testing in the home buying process can’t be emphasized enough, considering the severe health risks associated with prolonged exposure to this colorless, odorless gas. The potentially life-threatening consequences, particularly the increased risk of lung cancer, underscore the non-negotiable nature of incorporating radon testing into the home-buying process. With the ease and accessibility of radon testing methods, ensuring homes are free from elevated radon levels is a responsible and essential measure you shouldn’t miss before buying the property. By making radon testing non-negotiable in home purchases, you can take a significant step toward fostering healthier living environments and safeguarding the long-term health of your loved ones.

  • March 1, 2024

    The March MAHI newsletter. Some great information on mold; what are the symptoms, how to prevent, how to clean, etc.

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