Winter Time Tips: Keeping the Furnace Area Safe

Winter Time Tips: Keeping the Furnace Area Safe

By Guest Blogger Kala Bell

 As the fall winds down and the winter gets closer, many people throughout the country and even in Texas will rely on heat to warm up water and air around the house during the rare instances of cold weather. For many, water heaters and furnaces are located inside the actual house, especially in the case of older models that were designed during prior building practices.

 Of course, a water heater or furnace can be dangerous, when you think about the fact that combustion and natural gas can be inside a home, this could be a major home inspection issue. Luckily, there are some techniques to help make your furnace safe which don’t require it to be moved to an outside location. The closet where the furnace is located can be updated and improved to fit all the proper codes of today. Because San Antonio apartments and homes could house an indoor furnace, it’s important to seek some advice about any risk that may be caused. With a lot of do it yourself people out there, some steps can be taken to build a new closet for a furnace, with full correlation of proper codes and safety.

 In the area that the furnace is located, regular access to air and oxygen is vital. This can be assured by the use of combustion vents inside the closet. These vents are usually pipes that stem down from the attic, with one near the top of the closet and the other dropping to the bottom portion. These combustion vents usually need to extend well into the attic (14 inches) for safety.

 Finishing out the ceiling and top parts of the closet are also vital parts to the process. . Whether it was a new location for the closet with no ceiling or already enclosed, you can improve it to make the home safer. With a no ceiling closet, drywall may have to be installed to enclose the area. If the ceiling is already enclosed or has been enclosed, insulation is the next key addition. With insulation, it’s important to remember to keep the areas where the vents are clear of insulate, that way air can move freely.

 One of the steps that can be taken to ensure a totally safe spot for an indoor furnace is to work on the door itself. Wood can be used to close off any vent locations within the door. A piece of plywood can be connected to the backside of the door and sealed for the proper ventilation.

Finally, weather stripping the door itself can make sure that the water heater extends beyond the building envelope. This will give the door to the closet a good, tight seal that helps to cap suggestions to making your furnace area safer.

 With most combustion or furnace issues, the smartest thing to do is to contact a licensed home inspector or contractor to help decide the best technique for improving your home experience. Consultation with a licensed and experienced home inspector will allow you to seek knowledge from someone who has the knowledge and wherewithal to suggest a proper technique for making your home safer.

Foundation Watering in the San Antonio Area

Foundation Watering in the San Antonio Area

By Kala Bell

Home owners certainly have a bunch to take care of on a daily basis, so much so that certain responsibilities can often get lost in the fold, especially with first time home owners. This could be any number of things from a simple indoor task, to home inspection or maintenance issues that simply need to be tended to on a regular basis.

With the heat and dry weather being a problem in the area, foundation watering is often a crucial part of the home maintenance process. Whether you are running a San Antonio apartments complex or are a first time home owner, you will want to follow a watering schedule to help prevent any long run foundation issues with your home.

Having a solid foundation at home is something that is often lost on homeowners in the area. Unfortunately, sometimes a foundation can experience movement that can damage a house. Soil that is expansive often acts like a sponge, absorbing water, and then swelling to lose water as it shrinks down. A controlled watering program can help to put an end to damage from season to season.

A great way to ensure good results is to install a soaker hose a proper distance away from the foundation. It’s important not to have the hose right against the foundation, as this can cause trouble. Water can end up moving through the cracks and accumulate at the bottom. This could end up affecting the tightness of the soil, as well as the sturdiness of the foundation itself.

One necessity during the process of watering the foundation is to invest in a water timer. This is mainly because many people simply forget to consistently water the area. Most times of the year, the timer should be set to water for once a week for about an hour. Obviously the timer itself would also have to be altered based on the current weather conditions.

Certainly, the summertime can boast greater necessity for watering during the dry and hot months of the year. The amount could go up considerably in comparison to the cooler months. Finding the right amount will require comparing an increase in the water bill and the control of the foundation itself. Long term, there will need to be enough water to keep the moisture stable in the soil under the foundation itself.

While foundation watering is just one of the many lawn maintenance issues that could arise as a home owner, it could end up being very crucial, especially in an area that has dry weather throughout the years such as Texas does.

So now you have found that dream home, what next? (part 2)

Ok, you are now into your option period!


You have paid your option fee and the seller has set an option period. What is the option period and what do you do now? The option period is the length of time you have to back out of your contract for any reason what so ever, this is the time in which you need to have the home inspected and peruse any bids for repairs that was noted on the inspection report. It is wise to have the home inspected for WDI (wood destroying insects) as well. After the option period has expired, you have further executed your contract and it becomes much more difficult to back out of the agreement without being held liable for additional damages to the seller under BREACH OF CONTRACT.

Most option periods are from 5-10 days but can be as little as one day or as long as 30 days, some sellers base the option fee off of the length of the option period. We recommend that you obtain 10-14 days for an option period 1-5 days is just not long enough to do everything that needs to be done during this time period. Keep in mind the option period does include weekends and the day of execution of the contract. If your contract is executed at 2 pm although most of that day is wasted it still counts as one of your option days.

Find your Home Inspector and WDI inspector before you sign your Option Period Contract a good inspector can inspect which ever home you choose (we will go into more detail on other posts on this subject). Don’t waste valuable time during the option period trying to locate the Inspectors you want to use. Don’t forget every day counts.
Although time is of the essence don’t be lead into the option period thinking you have to get your inspection the first day (hopefully you have 10-14 days). Many people will feel so pressured by the time line and thinking it must be inspected the first day that they will hire the first inspector that can get out to the home. This is a huge mistake you don’t want to make, but at the same time don’t put it off till the last day or two either. Hopefully by the 2nd or 3rd day you are having your inspection, review the report and decide if this home is for you. Don’t forget you have not bought it just yet, you can still back out.

Take a day and review your report line by line, if you believe this is the right home for you highlight the items of importance to you and obtain bids, as well further investigate your concerns with the contractors, try to hurry you are on a time crunch don’t take too long getting contractors on site to further evaluate the problems. Have the contracts give you bids on the items of concern so you know what the cost will be. At this point you will have to make a decision, by the house as is with no repairs, negotiate repairs with the seller or ask for a price concession. Once you figure out how you want to peruse your negotiations, an Addendum to the Option Fee Contract will have to be made based on your decision. This is where your agent comes in to help you.

Never feel pressured into buying a home by anyone, only you know what’s right for you and your family, don’t get a bunch of advice from friends and family, often bad advice is given and it hurts those relationships. You make your own decisions; surround yourself with competent people for Inspections, Contractors for bids & a course of action for repairs and obtain you a Realtor for Real Estate advice only.
Once you have done all of these things you will find you are down to your last day of a 10 day option in most cases. Don’t be rushed by others, think things through, if you don’t buy the house don’t forget there are other homes out there. Don’t feel compelled to buy the home because you’re running out of time or maybe someone else is looking at it. Sleep on things and get competent contractors involved to go more in depth. A 100 dollar option fee lost is a small price to pay in the scheme of things.

I know this is very confusing on one hand you need to take your time and think things through, on the other hand you must hurry to get all the experts involved and on site before your Option Period is Up. After all the experts have been on site, you need a good day to crunch the numbers and insure this is a wise decision.

Jeff Adams

So now you have found that dream home, what next? (part 1)

So now you have found that dream home

what next?


  Most contracts to purchase a preowned home start with an option period contract, what is an option period contract? You will hear lots of different ideas of what the option contract means all of which seem to be somewhat flawed in idealism. Basically what happens is you agree to purchase a home, you put up your earnest money to show your intent on purchasing the home,  but wait that’s not the end.


  An option contract is executed when the option fee is agreed upon (usually 25.00-100.00) and the option period time line is set (usually 3-10 days) by the buyer and seller, the option fee is basically a fee paid by the buyer to secure a period to inspect the home and still back out. There is a lot of problems with this idea, in no other instance can i find where you have to pay a non refundable fee to inspect the goods.


  When was the last time you were at Best Buy to look for a T.V and before you could turn on the T.V. the sales person says wait I need 25.00 dollars that you don’t get back just to turn on the T.V., or when you were car shopping the Sales Person won’t let you test drive the car until you pay a 50.00 dollar fee? It is widely reported by the Real Estate sales Community the fee is because while you’re looking at buying the home and having your inspections the seller is taking the home off the market, this is just not the case, all the time during your option period the home is being marketed for back up contracts and in many cases the home is still being shown.


  The option contract is a way to further tie you to the home, over the years the option fee has steadily increased and will probably do so in the future. The higher the fee the more compelled a buyer will become to not want to walk away from the fees but rather feel obligated to hang in there and negotiate the purchase of the home (at least that’s the plan devised). The one good thing about the fee is it does allow you to back out for any reason during this option period with the only damages due the seller are the option fee’s, although this sounds great in theory it is still a farce. Almost all of the time there are enough substantial repairs on an existing home, the inspection report alone is enough to be able to kill the deal on your end no matter how late in the game it becomes. Most lenders will not lend on a home with a substantial repairs if they are made aware of the defects. Not securing your loan is grounds to terminate the contract.


  Now that we understand a little about the OPTION PERIOD CONTRACT it seems a little ludicrous that without paying the seller a fee you do not have the right to inspect the goods, this Option Period Contract may be a way to circumvent numerous Laws. We talked about the Car Dealer above, if the idea the seller is being paid for taking the home off the market and losing perspective buyers couldn’t the same thing be said about the car dealer, while you are out test driving a car they could lose sales, yet you do not have to pay them a fee or while trying out that new TV another prospective buyer can’t look at that TV. It is the cost of doing business. We will go a step further, while your realtor is out showing you a house, they are losing perspective clients, yet you are not paying a fee to them while they are out with you.


  Don’t forget you already put up Ernest money to show your good faith on the purchase of the home, the Option Period is just another Poor Tactic Used in the purchase of your home. Be smart Limit your amount of damages by negotiating long option periods with a low option fee being paid.

Part 2 of Option Period Contract