About ExecutiveHomeInspections

We provide honest, objective, and thorough inspection reports. From the first contact with us through the inspection delivery and explanation of your report, you will experience the ultimate in professionalism.

Circle Us on Google+

Natural Selection: Live-edge Wood In Home Design

live-edge wood design used in the kitchenHelpful information from Executive Home Inspections!

Live-edge hardwood, in which the sides of the slab are left unmilled to retain the natural profile of the tree trunk, is an increasingly popular decorative trend in today’s residential interiors. The technique is not only used for pieces of stand-alone furniture such as tables and benches but also for built-in elements like shelving, mantles, counter tops, bars and kitchen islands.

“Most mills cut off the rough tree edges, turning the raw timber into neat boards,” says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com. “But the current demand for live-edge slabs has led to a small but vigorous subset of producers who specialize in the category.” These are often boutique businesses that source, dry and mill limited batches of timber for use in furniture of their own design and manufacture.

“Some larger sawmills sell live-edge slabs to the public,” Jovanovich continues. “You visit their showroom and pick your own one-of-a-kind piece of ash, cherry, red oak, walnut or whatever other hardwood species they have in stock. A cabinet maker can then custom-make a piece of furniture or a built-in feature to your exact specifications.”

Sustainability-minded entrepreneurs are responsible for another niche in the live-edge hardwood market: small urban suppliers that source culled or fallen trees from the backyards of private homes, public parks, graveyards and other leafy locations in their city and its immediate environs. One such enterprise, RE-CO BKLYN in Brooklyn, New York, recently harvested four 12,000-pound logs from a 150-year-old storm-felled elm in nearby Prospect Park. The logs were taken to an upstate mill to be sawn into live-edge slabs and dried before being shipped back to Brooklyn, where they were either sold or used by RE-CO for tables, desks, bar counters, shelves, headboards and other beautiful custom-made pieces it produces.

“It was George Nakashima, the legendary Japanese-American mid-century furniture maker, who pioneered the use of live-edge slabs in refined residential settings,” says New York–based designer Glenn Gissler. “Previously, untrimmed wood planks, sometimes with the bark still intact, were used for rustic, log-cabin or ranch-house effects — elements that referenced the traditions, myths, and aesthetics of the American Old West. With his gorgeous large-scale pieces, comprising multiple slabs of characterful woods like walnut and cherry connected with butterfly joints, Nakashima showed us how unfinished natural edges and richly figured knotted surfaces fit perfectly into even the most sophisticated urban interiors.”

Today, original Nakashima pieces are highly collectible and command high prices at auction. But his free-edge aesthetic is more influential than ever as homeowners discover the ability of live-edge furniture to work with almost any decorative style. Paired with blackened-steel legs, for example, a live-edge slab of burled walnut creates a dining table with loft-worthy industrial chic. Fixed to the bedroom wall, a free-form expense of warm-toned cherry provides a romantic headboard. Or a hefty live-edge slab of oak, supported on an equally hefty oak-slab base, makes for a monumental console with the presence of a piece of archaic sculpture. New York–based designer Laura Bohn has even used the chainsawed cross-section of an elm trunk — complete with its bark — as a counter top on which to mount a stainless steel powder-room sink. “It introduces a decidedly rustic note into a thoroughly modern space,” she says. “And yet it looks perfectly natural as if it had just grown there of its own accord.”

Visit www.HardwoodInfo.com for more about residential design trends and other applications and products using American hardwoods. – (BPT)

 

Magnificent Wood Slab Coffee Table Ideas

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

A Room-by-room Guide To Decluttering Your Home

bathroom designBrought to you by Executive Home Inspections!

Controlling clutter in your home can be a challenge; 48 percent of Americans say their houses are cluttered with stuff they don’t use anymore, according to a survey by ClearVoice Research. Multiple studies have found a cluttered home can negatively affect your mental and physical health, while a cleaner home can make you feel happier and healthier.

A UCLA study found mothers in cluttered homes had higher stress levels while dealing with their stuff, while an Indiana University study found people with clean houses are healthier than those living in cluttered homes. You may realize clutter isn’t good for you, but it’s not always easy to get organized. To help you get started, here is a room-by-room guide to cutting the clutter:

Entryway

Basic tactics:

  • Decide what belongs in your entryway and what doesn’t. The size of the space will influence this decision. If your entryway is a spacious mudroom, you might choose to store shoes, boots, umbrellas and backpacks there. If you have a modest foyer, you may decide you only have room for car keys. Remove anything from the space that doesn’t help it serve its purpose in your home.
  • Add storage/organization that helps the space meet its purpose. Wall-hung key racks can keep important keys at your fingertips. Shoe racks are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit your space and décor while keeping footwear organized and off the floor.

A step up:

  • If space allows, adding built-in storage such as cabinets and shelves can help keep an entry space organized and visually appealing.

Family room

Basic tactics:

  • Assess the kind of clutter that builds up in your family room. Perhaps your clutter consists of children’s toys, magazines and newspapers, or multiple remote controls for entertainment components. Once you know what kind of clutter you’re collecting, decide if it belongs and must be accommodated, or doesn’t and should go.
  • Add storage solutions specific to your needs. For example, storage ottomans can double as extra seating and a place to store frequently used toys. A caddy can keep remote controls organized and at hand.

A step up:

  • Sometimes furniture that’s too large for a space can add to the feeling of a cluttered and congested room. Assess your family room furniture. Is it the right size for the space, or is it overwhelming the area? Replace overly large furnishings with ones that better fit the room.
  • If you have the room for it, a large shelving or cabinet unit can help contain clutter. Add decorative containers to help keep everyday items like toys, magazines and other frequently used items organized on shelves.

Bathroom

Basic tactics:

  • Tackle the linen closet and trash any partial bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste and towels that have seen better days. Be brutal. If you haven’t used that half bottle of body wash so far, chances are you never will.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet. Discarding expired prescription medicines can help reduce the risk of someone accidentally taking the wrong medication.

A step up:

  • Showers can be among the most cluttered spots in a bathroom. If you’re ready to take your bathroom organization to the next level, ditch the rack hanging from your showerhead and the precarious corner shelving and upgrade your shower to one with built-in organization, like Sterling Store+ shower. The showers feature built-in recesses and tracks where you can snap in a variety of storage accessories and shelves, such as a soap dish, storage bin, towel bar or shower hook. The storage is fully customizable, and all accessories are removable and dishwasher safe. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

Kitchen

Basic tactics:

  • Countertops frequently host a wealth of kitchen-related clutter, from the mail you brought in yesterday and forgot to go through to small appliances you use once or twice a year. Clearing off countertops can make a kitchen feel visually more appealing, look bigger and function better. Remove and store rarely used small appliances, ditch the ceramic container of utensils and store those items in drawers instead.
  • Pantries and cabinets can be nearly as cluttered as countertops. Adding shelving and storage units within cabinets can help keep pots, pans, lids and dishware better organized and more easily accessible.

A step up:

  • Some people need a bit of extra incentive to stay organized. If that’s you, consider replacing solid cabinet doors with glass ones that reveal what’s inside. Knowing the contents of your cabinets are always on display can help inspire you to keep them tidy and organized. Plus, glass-front cabinets are an opportunity to create an appealing visual display. – (BPT)

 

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home!

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Repair Or Replace? What To Do With A Worn-out Cooling System

father and kid bondingFrom your friends at Executive Home Inspections!

Sooner or later, every homeowner will face the same tough decision: Can you repair that malfunctioning system or appliance one more time, or is it finally time to replace it? Summer temperatures can heat up the repair-or-replace debate for homeowners living with an older cooling system.

To arrive at an answer, you must weigh numerous factors, including which option is more cost-effective over both the long- and short-term, how the existing or new system will affect the air quality of your home, and just how much reliability you require. Your decision can affect your wallet and the comfort of your home for years to come.

The heating and cooling systems experts at Champion(R) offer some guidelines for knowing whether you should repair or replace your cooling system:

When You Can Still Repair:

Sometimes, it may be preferable to repair a minor problem than to replace a system. Your cooling system might still be a candidate for repair if:

  • It’s less than 10 years old and/or is a high-quality, energy-efficient model.
  • The repair is still covered under warranty, or you will be able to pay for the repair without financing the cost.
  • The cost of the repair will be far less than the cost of replacement.
  • You can reasonably expect the repair to solve your problem.
  • Repairing the problem means that specific issue isn’t likely to reoccur throughout the system’s remaining lifespan.

When It’s Time To Replace:

  • It can be much easier to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace a worn-out cooling system. They can include:
  • A system that is 10 or more years old.
  • Frequent and repeated repairs that are adding up to be very costly.
  • Even after repairs and/or maintenance, the system still doesn’t adequately cool your home.
  • Very high energy bills. Modern cooling systems are significantly more energy-efficient than older units.
  • You can afford to finance a replacement, but can no longer afford to pay cash for repairs.
  • The unreliability of the worn-out cooling system is affecting the comfort of your home and causing you to feel stress.

Replacing A Cooling System:

When you decide replacing a cooling system makes the most sense for your needs, you’ll need to start looking for a new system. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Choosing an energy-efficient unit like the Champion(R) Momentum(TM) Variable Capacity Air Conditioner can greatly reduce energy bills while improving the comfort of your home. Refer to the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to get an idea of how much more energy-efficient the new unit is. Modern air-conditioning systems can be over 50 percent more efficient than ones manufactured a decade ago.
  • It’s important to right-size your new cooling system. A system that is too small for your home won’t be able to deliver the desired comfort level and will use more energy working harder at maintaining cool temperatures. A system that is too large will also use more energy and may result in uneven cooling throughout the house. Your Champion dealer can provide a load calculation and energy analysis to help you determine the right-size system for your home.
  • Depending on the age of your home and your cooling system, you may have to repair or replace other elements, too. Have your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat and other cooling system components inspected, too. Ensuring all the parts of the system are in top working order will help your new air-conditioning unit work at its best, too.

To learn more about the advantages of replacing a worn-out cooling system, what you should look for in a new system and where to find a dealer near you, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/repair. – (BPT)

 

Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Unit

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Latest Deck Trend: ‘Monster’ Size, Mega-luxury

couple watching the surroundings from their deckThe Article Courtesy of Executive Home Inspections!

Move over mini — the new trend in decking is anything but small.

When it comes to the size of their decks, the majority of Americans feel bigger is better — as multiple surveys indicate decks are getting larger and more luxurious, RealtorMag reports.

Today’s decks dwarf the outdoor spaces of decades ago, and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces with features like full kitchens, dining and entertainment areas, says Kim Katwijk, owner of Deck Builders Inc. in Olympia, Washington. Katwijk is a 20-year veteran of the deck-building business and co-producer of the upcoming web series Outdoors Outdone.

Sizable Changes:

Katwijk says the intersection of two major home trends is driving the growth of “monster” decks: homes are getting larger and outdoor living has reached mainstream status.

Last year, more than half of all new homes were 2,400 square feet or larger, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Characteristics of New Housing” report. In 1973, the average home size was 1,660 square feet. As homes grew, deck sizes have, too. RealtorMag reports one survey found that since 2014, the average deck size grew by 53 percent in the Northeast, to 406 square feet.

The Making Of A ‘Monster’ Deck:

So what makes a deck project “monster”? Size, design, materials, and amenities all combine in this nationwide trend.

  • Size — “Monster” decks are big — really big. Mark Kalady, a decking sales manager for TAMKO Building Products, Inc., says he’s recently seen residential decks grow to 3,000 square feet. Depending on the amenities included, a deck 1,600-1,800 square feet could also be considered “monster.”
  • Kitchens/dining — Cooking and dining areas are among the most requested luxury features, deck builders say. Luxury grills, built-in pizza ovens and full-cook stoves and sinks are becoming more common.
  • Water/fire — Fire and water features such as hot tubs, lap pools, fireplaces and fire pits are part of the trend of bringing the indoors out. These focal points serve as relaxation, exercise, and entertaining stations.
  • Seating — Katwijk says “conversational pits” designed specifically for extended entertaining allow deck-users to enjoy time together away from the cooking and dining areas.
  • Multi-story — “Monster” decks often include multiple levels, with each level serving a different theme or intended use, such as dining, conversation, swimming, etc.
  • Technology — Many of today’s larger decks include living room areas equipped with big-screen TVs, wireless speakers and gaming systems. But the technology used on monster decks can extend to retractable glass walls and skylights, and even the deck boards themselves. Katwijk says the technology behind man-made decking products like Envision composite lumber offers the luxury appearance of exotic woods, but with minimal annual maintenance.

“People want an environment where they can be outdoors, yet have all the creature comforts of their home — essentially creating a space where they can do all the things that they love,” Katwijk says.

 

How to Build a DIY Deck with Bench Seats

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Plumbing The Possibilities: Kitchens, Showers And Baths Highlight Outdoor Living Spaces

a shower outdoorThe trend toward outdoor living spaces that mimic the look, comfort, convenience and functionality of indoor spaces doesn’t have to stop at the backyard grilling station. A growing number of homeowners are exploring new additions to their outdoor spaces, including outdoor showers and powder rooms, and even garage entertaining areas anchored by sinks and wetbars!

While traditional plumbing techniques might once have limited just how homey you could make outdoor versions of kitchens and bathrooms, modern up-flush plumbing cost-effectively solves many problems. Above-floor macerating plumbing systems, like those from SFA Saniflo, U.S.A., allow the easy addition of a sink, shower or toilet outside, regardless of where plumbing lines are located inside. They also eliminate the need to cut through concrete if you’ll be placing your project inside a garage or on a concrete patio. Finally, the compact systems fit perfectly into smaller spaces, such as inside cabinets in an outdoor kitchen or in an outdoor powder room.

Here are four water- and drainage-dependent, outdoor living features that are more possible and popular than ever, thanks to up-flush plumbing.

  • Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are in high demand, and have evolved to be true mirrors of their indoor counterparts. In addition to cooking facilities, such as a grill, cooktop, or pizza oven, today’s outdoor kitchen incorporates running water.

While a sink is an obvious necessity in outdoor kitchens, traditional plumbing can limit the location, configuration, size and capabilities of the space. Up-flush plumbing affords homeowners greater flexibility in designing an outdoor kitchen.

For example, using a Sanivite drain pump to remove wastewater more than 150 feet horizontally allows homeowners to install their outdoor kitchen where they desire, rather than having to rely on gravity and grading to move water. The pump is also capable of draining up to three separate fixtures, meaning you can have a sink and a dishwasher in your outdoor kitchen.

  • Showers

If you have a pool or are lucky enough to live near the beach, an outdoor shower can keep sand and other messes from getting tracked into the house. However, traditional plumbing practices can limit where you can locate your outdoor shower. Up-flush plumbing systems use pumps to move wastewater away from the drain, so you can locate an outdoor shower where it’s most convenient.

Products like the Sanishower fit into a small footprint and its low profile is easily concealed beneath the shower floor. Yet the system can handle drainage of up to 20 gallons per minute.

  • Wetbars

Whether you would like to add a wetbar to a patio or tucked into a corner of the garage, up-flush plumbing can make the process easy and cost-effective. Above-floor plumbing can handle wastewater removal in spots where no drain is present or possible. This means you can easily install a wetbar on a wooden deck, concrete patio or anywhere else where installing a traditional drain would be costly and inconvenient.

  • Powder rooms

When is an extra bathroom ever a bad idea? Imagine hosting a backyard barbecue or pool party without the need to make guests traipse through the house to reach the facilities, or wait in line inside the house while missing all the fun going on outdoors. Exterior bathrooms can solve those dilemmas, and up-flush plumbing can make it easy to add a toilet and sink outside the house.

While tying into existing traditional plumbing lines might require you to snuggle your outdoor powder room against the side of a house, above-floor plumbing allows you to position it virtually anywhere that’s convenient and appealing for your needs. The Sanicompact is a decorative one-piece system that combines a classic china toilet bowl with a built-in macerator/pump that can handle drainage from the toilet and a nearby sink. – (BPT)

 

Modern Outdoor Living Space Ideas

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Home Innovations That Protect Against Moisture

projects to do at home against moistureThere is an insidious enemy that every homeowner dreads: moisture and the damage and degradation it can cause if left unchecked. Luckily, home improvement manufacturers have discovered new ways to prevent moisture from penetrating the home in the first place. With new home product innovations, there is no reason to suffer the costly and damaging effects of rain, snow or ice.

Unique fasteners add longevity to decks:

Innovative fastening methods can extend the life of your deck and provide a beautiful fastener-free surface that also stands up better to weather and moisture. Although there are several kinds of deck fasteners that conceal the fastener, edge fastening is the latest method. “With edge fastening, which delivers real screws into the edge of the deck boards with a series of unique guides and drill bits, fastener-related splitting and cracking can be eliminated,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening. “This can add to deck life because moisture is not seeping into those cracks and splits, causing accelerated degradation.” He adds that the company has also expanded its warranty to cover the deck boards, as well as the screws. “Edge fastening works great for composite, PVC and all types of wood decks and creates a safer, fastener-free surface.”

Exterior cladding that resists moisture:

When searching for alternative exterior products that have beauty and curb appeal, make sure they repel moisture, especially near the foundation or near the gutters at the roof line. It is now possible to have the look of rich wood cedar shake or a variety of stone looks to cover foundations or to upgrade the ugly space under decks. New technology enables polymers to actually be stained or finished to be indistinguishable from the real thing. “There are new levels of realism in shakes that resemble true cedar,” said Ralph Bruno, president, Tando Building Products. “Beach House Shake” by Tando is an example of this superb realism — it installs easily and is impervious to moisture with little to no upkeep.” He adds that homeowners can keep moisture at bay and have luxurious exteriors without sacrificing beauty.

Protect your home in every season:

As if heavy spring rains and winter’s melt-off didn’t threaten homeowners’ properties enough, the hurricane season is expected to be more erratic than in years past — with a predicted early start and activity right into late fall. Thankfully, there are new, affordable technologies to quickly remove standing water from homeowners’ properties, keeping it away from their foundations. “Having both dependable sump pumps and multi-use pumps are the first lines of defense against storm damage,” said Jeremy Cantor, VP of Marketing for WAYNE Pumps. “One example is the innovative WaterBUG Submersible Water Removal Pump, which can remove large volumes of standing water quickly and easily from flat grassy yards, basement floors, and even tight spaces like window wells because it has both top and side water flow.” He emphasizes that having reliable multi-use and sump pumps in your home can save thousands of dollars in property damage and basement repairs.

Seal it or patch it to keep water out:

Water damage doesn’t have to happen, and by having the right caulks, sealants and hand tools, homeowners can easily do the job themselves and save on contractor costs. And, if moisture gets ahead of you, there are ways to repair the damage and prevent it from happening in the future. After winter, check windows, under door frames, gutter lines, concrete and other vulnerable areas that need sealing or patching. Very often, the simple act of sealing these areas with the right type of caulk can make a big difference in keeping out moisture. “One of the most popular sealants on the market is LIFETIME Ultra, which is a perfect solution for outdoor fix-ups after winter’s damage,” said Alan Crupper, VP of Marketing, Red Devil, Inc. He added that premium acrylics like this work very well and are paintable, unlike silicones. “You need a caulk that has a tight seal, won’t sag or crack no matter the temperature and especially for outdoors, one that adheres well to any surface.”

No matter the season, moisture can put your home and valuables at risk, so don’t delay in taking preventative action or repairing damage where it starts. With innovative new technologies on the market, you can easily protect your home from nature’s wrath. – (BPT)

 

Controlling Moisture During Winter

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Smaller Metros Take Action To Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas

bigger urban areasAre millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go?

Some may head to the suburbs, like their parents and grandparents did before them, but many will look for a different lifestyle, one that combines the advantages of suburban living with the best features of city life. Some smaller metro areas, like Wausau, Wisconsin, are banking they have the blend of economic opportunity, urban elements, affordability and lifestyle that will attract migrating millennials.

The draw:

“Economy has always been a factor in generational migrations, and while the nature of work has changed, economic opportunity is still key to where people want to live,” says Christian Schock, director of planning, community and economic development for the City of Wausau. “Everyone wants to find a place with the winning formula of urban activities, affordability and lifestyle. Businesses want to put down roots in that environment, too, knowing it will draw a bigger pool of skilled workers.”

In recent years, the City of Wausau has made concerted efforts to position itself with both big city amenities and small town assets. By many accounts, the efforts are paying off. In a 2016 Pew Research Trust analysis of income equality nationwide, Wausau ranked first in the nation, with the middle class constituting 67 percent of the city’s total population. Wausau also ranked highest in Wisconsin and eighth nationally on Area Development magazine’s list of hot spots for new and expanding businesses.

The formula:

Small to mid-size metro areas that want to attract millennials, as well as businesses and investors, need to address key areas, including:

  • Urbanity

In addition to the recreational and entertainment amenities often highlighted when discussing millennials, many mid-sized metros lack the diversity of housing types that can be found in a larger city which millennials might be accustomed to.

One strategy Wausau has focused on specifically is diversifying housing product. The City funded local architects to design an urban rowhouse — a housing style which did not previously exist. For over a decade, leaders proactively assembled parcels for new riverfront apartments, and continually worked with developers to seek tax credits which could be applied to renovating historic properties into unique multifamily offerings.

  • Affordability

Rising real estate costs are among the factors that kept many millennials living in cities longer than they might have liked, experts say. Mid-sized metros have an edge in making home buying more affordable for millennials — and homebuyers of all generations.

Recognized as a leader in economic development homesteading, Wausau’s Live It Up program is a partnership between local employers and the city to provide employees with a no-interest down payment assistance loan for the purchase of a home. In the last two years, the program has allocated more than $200,000 in no-interest loans to local employees.

  • Place

Millennials who came of age in urban environments have a strong affinity for multifunctional spaces, and are drawn to communities that are a walkable mix of business, retail, industry and residential. While the specific physical space needs may change, their own strong sense of identity makes them inclined to seek a region that has its own established sense of self.

Wausau has leveraged more than $100 million in new downtown development over the past decade and currently has another $100 million under construction, emphasizing the city’s identity as a vibrant, growing core. Wausau’s Riverlife Village project is reclaiming more than 16 acres of urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River to house a new park, river wharf, mixed-use office space, biking paths, apartments and a family entertainment center.

Perhaps the greatest testament to a mid-sized metro’s success is the recommitment of historic businesses to local growth. Wausau Insurance was an early innovator in workers’ compensation insurance, which evolved out of the necessity for local lumber mills to share the risk of worker rehabilitation. Now part of Liberty Mutual, the company recently announced a $50 million regional facility expansion. Wausau Window and Wall Systems and Linetec, both in the building materials industry, also trace their roots to the lumber industry, and have completed over $60 million worth of expansion and doubled the size of their workforce within the past five years, providing a strong foundation for continued economic development.

“Any resident, millennial or not, is looking for ways to connect with their community. Both businesses and residents are discovering that smaller cities can even be more responsive and creative than larger metros,” says Robert Mielke, mayor of Wausau.

To learn more about how the City of Wausau is attracting residents from big cities, visit www.wausome.org. – (BPT)

 

Top Cities To Live In After Graduating College

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

4 Easy Ways To Pest-Proof Your Home With The Help From Home Inspectors Edmonton

Home Inspectors Edmonton a big rat eating its foodIt’s late and you’re in your favorite, cozy pajamas. You get in bed and pull up the warm comforter. You turn out the light and are just about to drift off to sleep when you hear a noise coming from the attic. You sit up to listen, but it quickly goes quiet again. You lay back down and close your eyes, and just as you fall asleep, the noise is back, this time it’s coming from inside the wall.

You have a visitor — an unwanted visitor.

As much as we all enjoy our cozy homes, they are also the perfect setting for pests like rats, mice and raccoons to snuggle up and escape the cold air, too.

“There’s nothing more unsettling than knowing you and your family may not be the only ones enjoying this season indoors,” said Buck Hempel, manager of wildlife services at the pest control company Terminix. “Luckily, there’s still time to prepare your home to prevent critters from finding their way in.”

Whether you’ve already noticed signs of pest activity or just want more peace of mind at home, use these four preventative tips to eliminate and prevent potential pest infestations.

1. Seal off entry points to stop rodents from squeezing in.

Rodents can enter through holes as small as a dime, and will use any vulnerable opening to get in—from your foundation to your roofline. To keep these unwelcome intruders out, start by checking the perimeter of your home and repairing any small cracks or holes. In order to prevent rodents from chewing through these sealed areas, layer your sealing work by stuffing it first with a metal mesh, such as steel wool, and then sealing it down with caulk. This can also help keep summer pests such as spiders and ants at bay.

Don’t forget to check for gaps around conduit pipes, worn-out door sweeps and garage seals, as well as torn screens behind gables and roof vents. And, avoid leaving your doors open unnecessarily—even between trips to the car for groceries.

2. Secure food sources to eliminate the attraction.

Pests are not picky eaters. Once they find a food source, they are notorious for overstaying their welcome (and inviting friends). While critters can thrive in even the cleanest of houses, homeowners should remove any temptations by sweeping up spills and crumbs immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends storing food in airtight containers made of thick plastic or metal. This is especially important when storing pet food or bird seed in the garage.

3. Clear up clutter in your yard.

Stacks of firewood, old tires or other debris leaning against your exterior walls are a perfect, protected pathway around your house. Leave at least a foot of space between these items and your home, and move mulch away, too. Then, clean out your gutters and remove any dead leaves. Not only do piles of colorful fall foliage make for the perfect autumn Instagram photo, but raking these away from your home can help prevent pests like earwigs and snakes from finding warmth and building nests.

Homeowners with green thumbs should also thoroughly clean out planters before bringing them in for winter, as spiders will often lay eggs at the bottom of pots to hatch next spring.

4. Know when to call in the pros.

As with most home improvement projects, there are great do-it-yourself methods available to prevent pest control issues in your home. However, waiting until it’s too late to call in a certified professional can be dangerous and lead to major damage, costing you money and time. Pest control companies like Terminix offer free pest inspections to assess your home, and if needed, can remove any critters that may have settled in. To keep your family worry-free, they will seal any entry points to ensure winter pests can’t return.  – (BPT)

 

Pest Proofing Your Home

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

4 Tips To Keep Your Home Warm And Energy Efficient With Home Inspectors Edmonton

Home Inspectors Edmonton a kid's feet standing in her mother's feetWith winter comes the holiday season, a time that’s supposed to be associated with “comfort and joy.” But how joyful will it be if pests invade your house, or if your home is cold and drafty? Help stay warm all winter long by addressing factors like air leaks from gaps and cracks that can make your home feel uncomfortable.

“Drafts and heat loss are common problems in the winter, and they affect homes of every age, size and construction,” says Gary Parsons, fellow at The Dow Chemical Company. “Those factors can seriously affect your home’s energy efficiency and how comfortable it feels. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to deal with issues like air leaks and insulation, and doing so can significantly improve your home’s function and livability.”

Parsons suggests these steps to help ensure a draft-free, pest-free and comfy home this winter season:

Seal cracks and gaps

Gaps and cracks throughout the home allow hot air to escape and cold air and pests to enter. Energy Star estimates that homes can have a half mile or more of cracks around doors, windows and sill plates alone, and those aren’t the only places in a home where gaps can exist. Air duct joints, points where piping enters a home, and anywhere wood meets concrete (such as around the foundation) are locations where cracks and gaps can occur.

Sealing cracks can help prevent air leakage, improve a home’s overall energy efficiency and block out pests and insects. In fact, homeowners can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling by air sealing their homes and adding insulation, according to Energy Star.

Even do-it-yourself novices can easily and quickly seal cracks and gaps in their homes. Products like GREAT STUFF(R) Gaps & Cracks and GREAT STUFF(R) Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealants are specially formulated to seal gaps and cracks, blocking out air, moisture and even pests. The ready-to-use insulating foam sealants can fill gaps up to 1 inch. When using the product, be sure to follow safety guidelines, including covering all skin, using gloves and safety goggles, and keeping the work area well ventilated.

Check insulation

Insulation is like a blanket that your home wears to help keep everyone inside warm and cozy. If your home doesn’t have the right amount or type of insulation for your climate, it can lose heat, energy efficiency and comfort. About 90 percent of existing homes don’t have enough insulation, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Follow Energy Star’s guidelines for more information on how to check your insulation to see if your home could benefit from adding more.

Take care of the HVAC system

If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system isn’t working as well as it could, you’re sacrificing comfort and increasing your energy bills. Make sure to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall to ensure they are operating efficiently.

Have the ducts inspected and seal any leaks. Be sure to change air filters regularly, per the system manufacturer’s recommendation for filter type and frequency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty air filters restrict airflow, making HVAC systems work harder and consume more energy to heat your home.

Don’t overlook little things

Things as simple as a forgotten window left cracked in summer months or neglecting to close the flue in your wood-burning fireplace can all affect the amount of heat and comfort that escape your home in the winter.

Before the weather turns very cold, make a sweep through your home and check for these minor but important points:

* Windows – Are all your windows closed? If you’ve recently sealed around windows, you probably opened them for ventilation. Double check to be sure you remembered to close them.

* Thermostat – Is yours properly programmed to optimize energy use by adjusting the temperature when you’re out of the house? Proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut energy bills by nearly $200 per year, according to Energy Star.

* Ceiling fans – you can use ceiling fans to supplement your furnace during the winter, but you have to remember to reverse the air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down from the ceiling during winter.   – (BPT)

 

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

Buying Your First Home? Follow This New Year’s Plan From Home Inspector Edmonton

Home Inspector Edmonton christmas ball decoration with a mini toy house insideSo buying a new home tops your list of New Year’s resolutions. As you picture the big moment – the one where you pull up to your dream home in your moving truck, sprint up and unlock your front door – you probably understand there’s something you need to do first. You need to get your finances in shape.

Just like those who make resolutions to run a marathon, making this big investment starts with a plan. Runners know that if they run a certain distance each day, it gets them closer to accomplishing their goal.

“The same is true, in many ways, when it comes to buying a home,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “Before taking on a loan, many home buyers find they need to build their ‘financial muscles’ and establish ‘healthy’ money habits.”

By following a few tips to reach financial fitness goals, you, too can achieve the goal of home ownership.

Do those daily sprints

People who reach their fitness goals begin with a look at their current habits and then make a plan to replace them with better ones. The same is true for homebuyers. First, look at the spending choices you’ve been making, and review three to six months’ worth of bank statements. Consider what is necessary and what needs to cut back. The goal is to trim the fat in your budget so you can use the extra money to reduce your debt and increase your savings.

Crunch your debt

Take a look at your debts and consider the monthly payments you make. Are there any debts standing in the way of making a house payment affordable? Those are the ones you want to knock out with an accelerated payment plan, using the money you freed up by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Try focusing on one debt at a time, paying close attention to the ones with the highest interest rates to pay off first.

Beef up your credit score

The good habits you exercise today will make all the difference on your interest rate later. Put in the extra work to raise your credit score. Your credit score pulls together many details from your past and current debts as well as other financial factors, and helps lenders determine your creditworthiness. Making the effort to raise your score is worthwhile because shaving off even one-quarter of a percentage point from a mortgage loan can potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage. A credit score factors your history of on-time payments, the amount you owe on your debts, the type of credit you have, the age of that debt and any recently opened new credit lines as well as other factors. You may be able to improve your score and get the lowest possible interest rate on a home loan if you follow these “reps” every month: pay all your bills on time, don’t close old credit card accounts and don’t open new lines of credit.

Increase your intake of savings

Even when paying down debt, it’s still a good idea to start a small savings plan so you have some cash to fall back on if, say, you need to go to the doctor or get new tires for your car. Start by opening a savings account and set up automatic transfers each month. Even with $50 a month, you’ll have $600 in one year, which could bail you out of a number of small emergencies. Eventually, once your debts are paid off, you can divert those payments right into savings, which also can build your down payment for that new dream home

Prepare for the big event

All these steps lead to one main event: buying a home. Once you meet those smaller goals – following a budget, eliminating debt, raising your credit score, and saving for your down payment – you’re ready for the final push toward home ownership.

First, figure out how much home you can afford: look at home prices in your area, use an online loan calculator to estimate your payments, and go through your budget. Then gather up the financial documents you’ll need, including proof of employment, bank statements and tax statements. Finally, choose a lender that is right for you. Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. has many programs that can fit many kinds of buyers. Perhaps you’re getting your first mortgage, have perfect credit, and in some cases, less-than-perfect credit. All loan programs are subject to credit approval and restrictions apply. Contact Vanderbilt for details. If you are interested in learning more about Vanderbilt, visit, http://www.vmfhomeloan.com. Vanderbilt is a Berkshire Hathaway national housing lender that has been in business for more than 40 years and has helped families just like yours find the right financing program.

“Following these habits can be challenging from a motivation standpoint,” Hamilton says. “It takes patience, but once you’ve followed the steps to get financially healthy, it is a very rewarding experience.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.  – (BPT)

 

How To Buy Your First Home

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.