Keller Williams Selects HomeTeam Inspection Service for 2019 Approved Vendor Program

Milford, OH – HomeTeam Inspection Service, the only national home inspection company to use a team of inspectors onsite, has been accepted into the 2019 Keller Williams Approved Vendor Program.

“HomeTeam is delighted to be an Approved Vendor with Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in the world. As the industry leader in home inspections, HomeTeam works with thousands of Keller Williams agents and their clients each year.  Our team concept and technology-driven methods ensure a smooth home inspection process for all parties involved,” says Adam Long, President of HomeTeam Inspection Service.

HomeTeam’s model is unique in the home inspection industry. They utilize a team of inspection professionals onsite for a faster, more accurate home inspection in about half the time of a traditional inspection.

HomeTeam’s trademarked ‘One Call Does It All®’ approach to scheduling enables them to serve associates and their clients by offering any inspection service needed – pest, radon or environmental inspections, at the same time as the home inspection.

Furthermore, HomeTeam is the technology leader in the home inspection industry, offering associates and their clients online scheduling, electronic reports and a personal inspection dashboard to review reports and create a repair request list directly from the report summary.

“HomeTeam franchise partners are building strong personal relationships with Keller Williams associates nationwide. There is an extensive vetting process by the Keller Williams Vendor relations team, and they only choose the best of the best. HomeTeam franchisees give back thorough 501(c)(3) organizations such as KW Cares and participate in Red Day, states Buddy Stark, Director of Operations, ‘HomeTeam is honored to be a Keller Williams Approved Vendor.”

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For over 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-person inspections and they utilize the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com. Keller Williams Approved Vendor Program members are business entities independent from Keller Williams Realty, Inc.  Neither Keller Williams Realty, Inc. nor its affiliated companies warrant HomeTeam Inspection Service, their products, or their services.

Trend Watch: 2019 Outdoor Living And Design Trends For Every Homeowner

Outdoor living continues to grow in 2019 as homeowners dream of adding spaces that provide tranquility, connection and touches of nature. More than just a home enhancement, these spaces are meant to inspire people to set digital devices aside and find moments of calm while making memories with friends and family.

Now is the perfect time to plan updates to outdoor living areas so as the seasons turn, you’re ready to enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest. Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard, offers his expert insight into top outdoor design trends of the year that you should consider for your home.

Blurring of indoor and outdoor areas

Beyond windows and patio doors, home designs are truly blending indoor and outdoor areas thanks to features like folding walls and collapsible screens. For example, imagine a family room that opens up completely to an outdoor patio for easy entertaining, made possible by retractable walls plus smart lighting and strategic heating and cooling sources for seasonal comfort. These types of integrated spaces make the backyard a one-of-a-kind extension of the home.

Clean lines and contemporary style

Modern lines are a top interior design trend and it is expanding into outdoor living spaces, offering a seamless visual transition. Contemporary style with clean lines, textures and shapes have taken over more traditional styles, particularly among younger homeowners. Modular, large-format pavers embrace this trend and are expected to continue to increase in popularity, with smoother textures gaining traction.

Monochromatic and “greige” tones

The contemporary trend also leans toward monochromatic color schemes. Gray continues to be popular, with the growing trend of “greige” – blends of gray and beige tones – poised to take off in 2019. These muted hues blend seamlessly with the landscape, plus they allow homeowners to use strategic pops of color with furniture and flowers to create customized spaces that reflect their personalities perfectly.

Outdoor kitchens and fire features

In an effort to make outdoor spaces an authentic extension of the home, livability is a priority. That means outdoor kitchens and fire features continue to be a top trend. Kitchen additions like pizza ovens are reflective of the foodie movement, while fire features using gas fuel rather than wood are reflective of the desire for convenience, plus they are a good fit for many municipal regulations.

Sustainability is king

As more homeowners are prioritizing green living, outdoor designs that become a part of the local ecosystem are in high demand. This could include planting to support pollinators and integrating edible landscape into the design. Water features are growing in popularity, used to add a tranquil element to outdoor spaces while masking unwanted sounds, such as traffic or other noise pollution.

Visualization of designs

Partnering with the right designer is key to achieving the outdoor space of your dreams. More homeowners are asking for 3D designs in order to properly conceptualize a space before it is brought to life through construction. Belgard Design Studio can take a simple sketch with dimensions and a few photos and turn it into a 3D rendering or virtual reality experience so homeowners can see the true potential of their outdoor space.

Small footprint designs

Outdoor living isn’t just for homeowners with large properties. Houses with small footprints are adding impressive outdoor spaces in surprising places. This could be maximizing alleyway access, adding a courtyard to a small backyard, or shifting the focus by utilizing the front yard to create a patio and fireplace area. If you long for an outdoor living space, don’t let space constraints limit your dreams.

These 2019 outdoor living trends, in effect, will prove to create a year full of innovative outdoor projects that fit the needs of every homeowner.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

An Easy Spring Guide To A Green, Weed-Free Lawn

The rich green color, the soft feel beneath your feet and the iconic fresh-cut smell – thriving grass enhances your property in countless ways. Spring is the ideal time to focus on your lawn, so by taking steps now, you can enjoy lush, green grass for many months to come.

These four areas will help you focus your efforts where they will make the biggest impact.

Equipment prep

The first step to a successful spring lawn-care routine is to properly prepare equipment. After sitting in storage during the cool months, equipment may need a tuneup or replacement.

The lawn mower is your go-to piece of equipment. If it’s gas-powered, make sure fuel hasn’t gone bad by starting it up and letting it run for a while. Add fresh fuel as needed. Additionally, consider bringing your mower in for a tuneup. For a modest fee, a trained mechanic will go over all the mower components and make sure everything is in tip-top shape, including blade sharpening so your mower can cut efficiently.

Lawn trimmers are another popular tool for maintaining a yard. Again, start this piece of equipment up and see how well it runs. Add fresh line to the trimmer head so you get a clean cut. Finally, gather all other lawn-care tools and designate a convenient spot in the garage or shed to store them for easy access.

Mowing advice

A great-looking, weed-free lawn requires proper mowing. Experts agree you should mow as soon as the grass starts to grow to remove any brown tips and encourage healthy growth.

Keep the grass mowed to 3-4 inches tall. At that height, grass shades out weeds, develops deeper roots and cools the soil. Some grasses – such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues and perennial rye grass – grow faster in cool weather. That means you mow more frequently in spring and early summer to keep it in the 3-4 inch range, and less frequently in mid to late summer and into fall.

Want an insider tip to a great lawn? Leave clippings on the grass. As they break down, they return important trace nutrients to the soil. If the grass is tall when mowed, spread out any large, heavy clumps so the clippings don’t smother the lawn.

Essential treatments

Seek out combination lawn-care products to get better results with less work. A product such as Preen One Lawncare, that can provides three treatments, so you save time while laying the foundation for a thick, green, weed-free lawn.

First, the application prevents crabgrass seeds from sprouting and – unlike traditional weed and feed products – also kills crabgrass seedlings up to 4 weeks after germination. Second, it kills dandelions plus 250 types of tough broadleaf lawn weeds on contact, down to the roots. Finally, it feeds the lawn continuously with a slow-release 20-0-6 formula that promotes even greening and strong roots for maximum heat and drought resistance.

Watering guidelines

Once your lawn starts growing, water becomes an essential component for it to thrive. A healthy lawn needs about an inch of water per week to stay strong. This can be a combination of rainwater and water you apply yourself. To reach the entire root structure, water should soak the soil 6 to 8 inches deep.

The morning is the best time to water grass. Temperatures and winds are typically lower in the morning, which means less evaporation. Strive to water grass before 10 a.m., but if you must do so later, wait until after 4 p.m., when the sun is less intense.

How do you know the amount of water your lawn is getting? Invest in a rain gauge to monitor precipitation. When using a sprinkler, set out a few empty tin cans in different places to measure water application. Unsure if you need to water? Try the footprinting test. Walk across your lawn and if your footprints are still visible after 30 seconds, it’s time to water. Healthy, well-watered grass will stand back up quickly after you walk on it.

Set the stage for great grass this spring with these four easy tasks. A little effort now will ensure a lush lawn through summer and beyond.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

Top 10 Value-Enhancing Home Improvement Projects For Older Homes

Do you own an older home, and are you looking to make upgrades that matter? Strategic enhancements not only increase a property’s resale value, but also its functionality.

Here are some leading home-improvement projects for older homes:

Technology additions: Smart-home features are frequently requested in new construction. Fortunately, your older home can become a smart home too when you implement technology, such as home automation. Thanks to WiFi, there’s no need for clumsy and costly rewiring. Smart thermostats, smart music and programmable lighting are prime examples.

Tankless water heaters: Tankless water heaters are ideal for older homes because they are easy to install, take up much less space and can reduce energy costs by as much as 60 percent. Because they heat water on demand, you never have to worry about running out of hot water. What’s more, longer warranties than what can be found with traditional storage-tank water heaters are now available. Check out the new 25-year warranty from Noritz on select tankless water heaters.

Wall removal: Removing a wall between the kitchen and living room can enhance the functionality of the area and provide a modern open concept design. Cutouts in walls are another option if the wall cannot be completely removed. Remember to ensure any wall is not load-bearing before removal, so you don’t impact the structural integrity of the home.

Popcorn ceilings: Once upon a time, popcorn ceilings were the top trend installed in every house. Today, they distract the eye and make a home look old. Consider hiring someone to redo your ceilings or research how to scrape it yourself. Leave flat or add a knock-down texture, which is a popular modern drywall finishing technique.

New paint/wallpaper: That ’70s pea-green paint in the bathroom and the ’80s floral wallpaper in the bedroom instantly date your home. By updating the walls, your house will feel more modern and you can customize to your personal tastes. Dedicate a weekend to painting the walls in your favorite spaces and you’ll be amazed at the transformation.

Painting old grout: After years and sometimes decades, grout in bathrooms and kitchen spaces really takes a beating and turns a dirty color that’s impossible to clean. It can be time-consuming and tedious to replace grout, so to get a fresh look consider painting it instead. Specialty grout paint makes the process simple with easy application features that simply roll on.

Update hardware: Hardware throughout a home gets dingy and dated. To update a space without an overhaul, simply change out the hardware. Cabinet knobs, drawer handles, towel racks and more in a modern metallic hue can make a space feel fresh again without much investment. Don’t forget about air registers, which can also impact the visual appeal of a space.

Energy-efficient insulation: There are many modern insulation options available today that weren’t around when older homes were built, and many of those homes have little to no insulation at all. In addition to insulation, remember to seal spaces for air loss, such as air ducts, doors, windows, pipe inlets and the attic.

Embrace the history: Be sure to research the history of the home and neighborhood. Would pulling out that original wood built-in be a detriment to the home’s authenticity and value? Perhaps you can hire someone to update the original wood flooring, so it has the modern stain tone you like, but the planks still maintain the home’s original luster.

Light fixtures: Light-fixture styles change through the years and can make your home appear older than necessary. Replacements can make a world of difference. For example, replace an old brass chandelier with a modern pendant design. Not only will it be a style update, but the light output can make the space more usable.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

Connectivity Is King This Home-Buying Season

The spring home-buying season is just around the corner and that means people are busy making improvements to get their homes ready to sell. These days, home upgrades are increasingly focused on one key feature: connectivity. In 2019, buyers want smart homes they can easily control from anywhere. From smart HVAC and sprinkler systems to connected garage door openers, it’s all about creating convenience and comfort.

Security gets connected

Security systems are nothing new, but the technology used to arm those systems is changing rapidly. More and more home security companies now offer fully connected systems that allow users to protect and monitor their homes from any smart device. Whether it’s a live video feed, the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely or just checking that all sensors are working properly, integrated security systems offer peace of mind. Having the infrastructure in place can be a selling point for buyers who want to make sure their new home is as safe as possible, given they’ll only have to set up the monitoring subscription upon move-in.

Updated garages add value

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value survey, a garage door replacement is the number one home improvement project in terms of return on investment. But these days, more homeowners are taking it a step further and installing new technology to make the garage more user friendly. For example, the SilentMax Connect garage door opener from The Genie Company comes with Aladdin Connect technology built-in to improve convenience and functionality. Not only is the opener super quiet – ideal for attached garages – but the connectivity features allow you to check whether your garage door is open or closed, grant individual access with virtual keys, instantly know when someone is operating your garage door (authorized or not), and provide a log of when each opener was used – all from your phone or smart device. Thanks to this technology, you can open the garage door remotely for delivery people, a housekeeper or for your child coming home from school. Considering your garage is one of the most accessed points in your home, this functionality is a great security feature and proves that garages offer more than just storage space. With the right connectivity tools and features, they can provide convenience that will be attractive to future owners.

Save energy, increase comfort

As home improvement trends go, increased connectivity is rivaled only by the desire for more energy-efficient homes. Smart thermostats accomplish both these aims and can increase the value of your home in the process. Smart thermostats let you easily control the temperature in your home from any connected device. You can set a daily schedule for your heater, adjust the temperature in individual rooms or let the system program itself based on your usage history. For energy-conscious buyers, this kind of technology provides a way of living that’s as aspirational as it is attainable.

Lighting the way

Smart lighting has turned from a novelty to a practical tool as products have gotten more advanced. Programmable lighting allows you to schedule when your lights will come on, turn on and off lights remotely or change the lighting to improve aesthetics. With a smart lighting system, you’ll never have to get out of bed to turn the lights off downstairs, and you can always come home to a fully lit house, boosting your sense of security. With these kinds of applications, your home’s lighting can go from a ‘given’ to a must-have, attracting buyers like a moth to a flame.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

HomeTeam Inspection Service Expanding to NW Metro Atlanta

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States, and is pleased to announce its newest location in Metro Atlanta.

HomeTeam’s newest owner Scott Irmscher has almost two decades of experience as a real estate agent and investor.  He became interested in the home inspection industry because it married his passion for helping people with his experience and understanding of the home.

When asked why he chose HomeTeam Scott said, “I was blown away with the technology.   It takes what used to be a 6-hour event and efficiently produces a quality inspection in a third of the time. It’s a true win-win for everyone involved in the inspection process.”

“Scott’s extensive background in real estate industry combined with his drive for helping others will pave the way for a successful business,” states Buddy Stark, Director of Operations at HomeTeam Inspection Service.

In his free time, he is an avid runner and cyclist which lead to his participation and completion of an Ironman Triathlon.  He is involved in the Chamber of Commerce and local Real Estate Boards.

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For more than 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-man operations and utilizes the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Ranked As Top Franchise in Entrepreneur’s Annual Highly Competitive 40th Annual Franchise 500®

Milford, OH – HomeTeam Inspection Service recently ranked in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500®, the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking. Placement in the Franchise 500® is a highly sought-after honor in the franchise industry, as evidenced by the fact that Entrepreneur received more than 1,000 applications this year, making it one of the company’s most competitive rankings ever. Recognized as an invaluable resource for potential franchisees, the Franchise 500® ranks HomeTeam Inspection Service as 280 for its outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power.

“2018 was a great year for HomeTeam and we are thrilled to again be ranked within the Franchise 500,” says Adam Long, President of HomeTeam. “Franchise support is the focus of our company and we are honored to be included among this list of strong, successful franchise brands.”

The key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order.

“As we celebrate 40 years of producing the Franchise 500, it’s a good opportunity to step back and look at how much has changed since that first ranking in 1980,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur. “While the franchise business model has changed little, the strongest franchise brands are constantly evolving and innovating to keep up with changing trends and technology.”

Over its 40 years in existence, the Franchise 500® has become both a dominant competitive measure for franchisors and a primary research tool for potential franchisees. HomeTeam Inspection Service’s position on the ranking is a testament to its strength as a franchise opportunity.

ABOUT HOMETEAM

For more than 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being the most unique concept in the home inspection industry. HomeTeam brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, providing a faster, more accurate home inspection. Fast, Trusted and Accurate. That’s the HomeTeam Promise. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Expands with New Location in Southern Baltimore, MD

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States and is proud to debut its newest location in Southern Baltimore, MD.

New owner Michael started his career in the US Army where he served for three and a half years as an armored crewman, serving in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). After leaving the Army, he become a civilian contractor where he served and protected employees and individuals at the State Department, eventually moving to the Pentagon and serving as a police officer for 11 years.

After researching many opportunities, Michael and his wife Raqia, chose HomeTeam Inspection service. “My wife and I validated other franchises out there, but HomeTeam stayed at the top the whole time. The team concept just made sense. Following the model will allow my wife and I to have more time with our family, we are all about family.”

Michael and his wife Raqia combined have 6 children- all but 2 are in college. They are all involved in their local church. In his spare time, you can find them cooking, bowling, fishing, going to the beach, and traveling (they go to a new destination each time they travel).

“Michael’s leadership skills acquired while serving in the military and his natural willingness to serve and protect are going to be key differentiators for his business. We are excited to welcome him as an owner.” Buddy Stark, Director of Operations at HomeTeam Inspection Service.

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For over 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-man operations and utilizes the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

Avoid Chilling Accidents With These Tips To Winterize Your Home

Winter will be here before you know it. The season has a way of sneaking up on you and before you realize you’re not ready, the first chilling breezes have already arrived.

Begin with winterizing your home now to ensure you’re prepared for the season. Apply the following tips and your home will be winter ready in no time.

* Prime your plumbing. If you live in an area where freezing pipes are a threat, this is one area you’ll want to correct immediately. A frozen pipe that bursts can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on damage. Shut off any water lines tied to outdoor spigots and your sprinkler system if you have one. Indoor pipes running along the exterior walls of your home are also potential freezing risks, so cover them with a towel or wrap to insulate them through the season.

* Be sure your heating system is ready for the season. The importance of your home’s heating system during the winter cannot be understated. If it isn’t up to the test, replace it now before winter arrives. The York(R) Affinity(TM) Series YZT two-stage heat pump offers a two-stage compressor to deliver higher energy efficiency and quieter operation. A smart home integration is easy with the YORK(R) Affinity(TM) Hx3(TM) 4.3-inch Touch-Screen Thermostat. Control your home’s temperature by voice command or by using your smartphone when you’re away from home. Program auto-alerts to stay aware of necessary maintenance and replace the filter each month to ensure your home heating system performs at its best all season long.

* Have your home audited. A home energy audit can help you make sure your home will be energy efficient and comfortable throughout the winter. Your energy audit will show you where energy is being wasted and provide suggestions on how to correct them. You may discover opportunities to add insulation in drafty areas or replace appliances that are no longer operating efficiently.

* Seal the leaks. Even the smallest draft could end up costing you big time over the course of a winter and repairing this problem is easy. Inspect each of your home’s windows – replace the broken ones – and use caulk to seal any cracks you find around the window frames. You can also apply weather stripping where appropriate and when winter begins, don’t be afraid to keep the curtains closed to block cold air from coming into your home through the glass.

* Protect yourself from CO concerns. Colder temperatures cause many of us to seek alternative heating sources, but this can often be dangerous. Never use a generator, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home or garage. These devices, combined with closed windows, can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. If your home does not have a carbon monoxide detector, buy one immediately and if you do have a detector, make sure to test and replace the batteries regularly. A C02 detector is a vital component in keeping those in your home safe throughout the winter and beyond.

Don’t let winter freeze you out

Winter’s frigid temperatures haven’t struck yet, but the season will be here before you know it. Apply the tips above in your home today and you’ll stay nice and warm inside no matter what the outside weather conditions may bring.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

Winter Weatherproofing: Preparing Your Home To Stay Safe And Save Energy

The heat will certainly be on this winter. With winter storms hitting many parts of the country early in the winter season, furnaces are plugging away, causing heating bills across the country to increase. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 per year on energy bills – with nearly half of that going toward heating and cooling.

To help homeowners combat the cost of heating a home during the winter months, Valerie Mastalka, a home heating and energy efficiency expert at Lennox, suggests looking at areas around the house to keep the warm air in and the cool air out.

“There are many simple, inexpensive ways consumers can save money on utility bills this winter, and still stay warm and cozy as temperatures begin to drop,” said Mastalka. “By taking the initiative to weatherproof their homes before the start of the cold weather season, homeowners will be able to enjoy a warmer and more energy-efficient house. The little time it takes to make a few quick checks and adjustments can yield dividends in savings and comfort in the long run.”

Repair the roof. It’s important to inspect the roof to make sure shingles are in place to prevent water from seeping inside the house. Mastalka emphasizes that it can be dangerous to be on the roof once cold weather ensues, so check it out before the onset of winter. If large gaps are found, hire a professional roofing company to repair the problem areas. In addition, avoid covering roof vents or turbines for the winter as this will prevent air from circulating properly through the attic and will reduce the overall energy efficiency of the home.

Dodge the drafts. Air leaks caused by cracks or holes around windows and doors can enable warm indoor air to escape and cold outside air to seep in, preventing you from maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. To identify air leaks in outside-facing walls or doors, try holding a candle near suspect areas to reveal drafts and then seal leaks with caulk or weather stripping.

Mind the (chimney) gaps. To prevent warm indoor air from escaping the home, Mastalka reminds homeowners to keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use; however, always make sure the damper is fully opened before starting a fire. Look for any gaps in the mortar between bricks, as they can allow moisture to build up and compromise the roof’s integrity. Also check for soot accumulation in the chimney, and if needed, hire a professional chimney sweep to perform a thorough cleaning before the start of winter.

Don’t forget the furnace. Mastalka recommends having your furnace thoroughly inspected by a certified technician. In addition, changing furnace air filters at least once a month and vacuuming the heater vents in the living areas of the home will help keep your heating system clean and running efficiently.

Attend to the attic. The attic is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heat loss. If you are experiencing high heating bills and having difficulty keeping your home warm, it could be time to add additional insulation to the attic. Mastalka says that attic insulation should be approximately five inches deep. Homeowners can hire a professional or add insulation themselves with portable blowing units available for rental at home improvement stores.

By making a few minor adjustments around the home, homeowners can help lessen safety concerns and reduce the amount of wasted energy – all while staying comfortable during the chilly season.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content