Many homeowners unwittingly suffer with poor indoor air quality, and the health issues that come with it. You can’t control Mother Nature or air pollution, but you can improve your indoor air quality by not inviting or concentrating allergens and pollutants inside your home.
Without buying a new house, here’s some ideas which can work in almost any home. You may not find every one of these ideas affordable or practical in your home, but any one of them can make a huge improvement.
Lower humidity and reduce moisture.
Use of a dehumidifier is probably a must-do thing in most homes and is especially helpful if you can connect a hose to direct the condensate to a floor drain or sump, as opposed to sporadic emptying of the built-in reservoir.
Molds and other organisms thrive in dark, damp conditions. Eliminating these conditions is paramount to improving your indoor air quality. Try to locate and identify any sources of moisture in your home. Repair leaky faucets and other plumbing and keep all your appliances in good working order. Dripping fridges, washing machines and other everyday appliances can add to your problems.
Even if your basement appears dry, ensure storm water is directed well away from foundations and use bathroom exhaust fans to lower humidity. Cooler conditions prevailing in basements, even when insulated and finished, can lead to often unseen condensation and encourage the growth of mold.
Install a central vacuum system.
While frequent vacuuming might seem like a helpful thing to do, most vacuums filters allow the same dust, pollens and other irritants to be exhausted back into your living space. Central vacuum systems are more powerful, can be exhausted to the outdoors and most have a self-cleaning filter. Be sure to install a sound baffle on the canister exhaust pipe, to limit the noise pollution in your neighborhood!
Freshen air without opening windows.
While Granny threw the windows open and hung the quilts outside, in today’s world open windows are not always the best way to bring in fresh air. In addition to dust, when outdoor levels are high, pollen and spores float into your house and might not float out.
During hot weather especially on high-allergen days, exchanging air with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) and cooling with fans, or running an air conditioner can help. HRVs as well as other central air exchange systems are designed to exchange indoor for outdoor air about four times every 24hrs. As much as we might want to keep pollen and other irritants out of our homes, we still need fresh air to breathe.
Using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter in your central heating and cooling system is another way to capture much of what might be flying around inside your house.
Other things to consider
When it comes to indoor air quality, chemical air fresheners and dryer sheets are not helpful. Neither is the chemical cocktail under your kitchen sink.
Attached garages are notorious for the introduction of not only foul odors and pollutants, but dust from automobiles and unsealed concrete floors – and you only need to look under your lawnmower to find a veritable garden of fungal growth.
In addition to their own fluff, Rover and the cats can also track in a lot of other stuff. Unkept fish tanks, litter boxes and moldy, buggy house plants are other potential sources of indoor irritants.
Virginia offers one of the best scenic drives in the country. The Skyland, Virgina Drive is a 105 mile National Scenic Byway that starts north of the Shenandoah Valley in a small town called Front Royal. It runs along the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Shenandoah National Park to Waynesboro where it merges with the Blue Ridge Parkway. This drive welcomes recreational vehicles but they have to be able to get through Mary’s Rock Tunnel which is only 12 feet 8 inches high in one area near the route 211 entrance. To experience the full beauty of the colorful foliage plan your trip between September through mid-November. A spring drive is also a good time because of the show of wildflowers that can be seen along the drive.
The northernmost entrance to the this drive is located at Front Royal where maps and other information can be obtained at the visitor center. While here visit the Skyline Caverns which is the closest natural wonder to Washington D.C. and will be an opportunity to see a very rare form of crystal called “anthodites.” Since these anthodites are some of the only ones in the world to be discovered they are protected by the Virginia State Law. To see these rare crystals a tour guide must be present. The caverns are open year round.
Another popular tourist attraction near Skyland, Virginia is the Luray Caverns located in Luray, VA. These are America’s largest caverns. While there experience the large cathedral-sized rooms and enjoy the symphony of the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ where music is created by stone formations.
Take in the beauty of the colorful foliage, singing birds and the sounds of streams trickling through the forest while driving through the Shenandoah National Park. If looking to take a serious hike the Appalachian Trail runs parallel to the drive with 101 miles of its trail winding through the park along with 500 miles of other hiking trails. Camping sites are available and modern facilities are located within the park itself.
The drive ends in Waynesboro, Virginia where abundant restaurants and lodging is available. Enjoy the Artisans Center of Virginia as works of the local artisans are displayed or enjoy the views of the South River as it runs through the downtown area. Waynesboro also offers Heritage Museum or tour the streets where the battle of Waynesboro took place. The Plumb House Museum offers maps and story of the battle.
Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. are growing in population rapidly and as more people move into the area, a question that is asked more and more frequently is – what is the quality of my drinking water?
Individuals and families are naturally concerned with their health and drinking water is an important element of maintaining good health.
Unfortunately, the quality of the water in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. is very poor and is getting worse. Contaminants, bacteria, minerals and chemicals in tap water are masked with heavy doses of chlorine and tap water, in addition to being unhealthy, tastes and smells terrible.
Regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not eliminate contamination but merely sets maximum levels of contaminants that can enter the human body and cause long term damage.
Well water is also contaminated but there is no Federal or state agency that regulates well water.
What is the Story With Tap Water?
Tap water is municipal water that is usually pumped from nearby rivers and then processed to meet EPA guidelines. The processing is usually done through a waste water treatment plant with heavy amounts of chlorine added to kill remaining bacteria that processing does not catch. It is important to note that EPA guidelines are just that – they establish minimum amounts of allowed contamination that may eventually be harmful to both adults and children.
In Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. the drinking water is pumped mainly out of the Potomac River and at least one waste treatment plant.
Contaminants that may be present in this source water include:
Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic waste water discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
Contaminants also include pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
In addition contaminants may include organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff and septic systems.
Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities also affect local tap water.
What is the source of water in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.?
The water in the Potomac River, Anacostia River, and Rock Creek flows into the District from outside jurisdictions. For example, the Potomac River begins in West Virginia, while the Anacostia River begins in Maryland. The quality of water in Northern Virginia and the District is thus affected by activities throughout the watershed.
Storm water runoff from commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural sites, point source pollutants from wastewater treatment plants and industrial discharges, and combined sewer overflows from as far away as West Virginia and Pennsylvania all contribute to the quality of water in the District and Northern Virginia.
What About Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO’s)
CSO’s frequently occur when natural events like flooding overcome the capacity
of waste treatment plants and raw sewage is pumped back into the water source like the Potomac River.
During periods of significant rainfall, the capacity of a combined sewer may be exceeded. When this occurs, regulators are designed to let the excess flow, which is a mixture of storm water and sanitary wastes, to be discharged directly to the Anacostia River, Rock Creek, the Potomac River, or tributary waters. This excess flow is called Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO).
Release of this excess flow is necessary to prevent flooding in homes, basements, businesses, and streets but it adds bacteria and contaminants as potential threats to tap water.
Since a portion of the tap water comes from sewerage treatment plants CSO’s can adversely affect the quality of our receiving waters in a number of ways:
CSO’s contain material which contributes to high bacteria levels in the receiving waters. Organic material in CSO’s can contribute to low dissolved oxygen levels, which can contribute to a potential for fish stress or fish kills, especially in summer months; and, debris in CSO’s such as plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups (otherwise known as “floatables”) contribute to poor aesthetics.
How Safe For Drinking is Well Water?
Well water, a popular alternative to tap water particularly in Northern Virginia is subject to the same ground water contaminants, chemical discharge waste and organic waste as tap water but is not regulated by any Federal or state agency in any way.
In addition to emitting foul sulphur odors and sediment from the water Northern Virginia well water contains significant amounts of iron in the rock in some areas, particularly the Piedmont and Blue Ridge, resulting in iron “staining.” Sulfide in ground water is also found in parts of the Valley and Ridge where coal or natural gas is present produces an obnoxious odor.
Ground water that is a source of well water also can be contaminated by human activities. Bacteria from septic systems, and nitrate from both septic systems and fertilizer applications, are among the most common contaminants. Since well water is not subject to regulation, the potability and suitability for drinking, of a private well is the responsibility of the homeowner and many private wells are contaminated.
Manassas is a historically important city in the northern part of Virginia. It has a population of about 38,000 and is likely best remembered for being the site of the first battle of the American Civil War, the Battle of Bull Run, in July of 1861. With all its history and charm, it is easy to see why people move to the city to set up businesses and raise families. If you are considering moving to the city and becoming one of the Manassas plumbers who build trusted reputations, then there are a few things you can do to make your start.
Get certified – While this may seem like an obvious move for Manassas plumbers, it is still one of the most important things you must do when you are getting ready to open up shop. To do work in Virginia, you need a license or certificate from the Virginia Board for Contractors. This board issues three types of licenses in the general trades and also offers licensing in the specialty trades of water/pumps, swimming pool construction, and other plumbing-related areas. To get certified to become Manassas plumbers, you should contact the Tradesman Licensing Section of the Board for Contractors and prepare for taking the exam to qualify for one of the levels of HVAC licensing: the journeyman and master.
As a start to becoming Manassas plumbers, you should look to become a journeyman, which requires two years of practical experience and a degree (or certificate), or four years practical experience with 240 hours of formal vocational training, among other options. To qualify for a master’s license you must have either a year’s experience as a licensed journeyman, or 10 years of department-approved, documented experience in the trade. Finally, to become either journeymen or master Manassas plumbers, you must pass the exam given by PSI Examination Services.
Setting up shop – Once you have your licensing sorted and are looking to get set up in a shop, there are a variety of pros and cons to finding a location in the center of the city. Manassas plumbers who have shops and offices right in the heart of the city have the benefit of obtaining passing trade – those who drive by and see your sign. But, the cost of renting/owning the building and the availability of space need to be considered. You might find, after all, that it is better to be a bit further away from the center and have more room for supplies and a cheaper rate of rent/taxes.
Advertising – You may think that all successful Manassas plumbers need to do is set up shop and get listed in the Yellow Pages, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. After opening, you should register with every available yellow page-style listing, both online and off, consider signage for the roads and your store/warehouse/office front, and get a website that you can then link to local sites to build an internet presence. While this may not seem like the details you want to cover as a plumber, making yourself visible on the Internet and in the city are the best ways to make your presence as Manassas plumbers known to those who might need your services.
Buying homeowner’s insurance online is almost always cheaper than purchasing it otherwise. However, simply entering information onto a form on a website, without proper knowledge of what information to enter in order to get the best price, may not achieve the result you want.
In other words, before you jump online and start randomly trying to find the best deal on homeowner’s insurance, you would do well to take five minutes and read this article. Then take the tips you learn in this article and enter them into the forms on the online price comparison websites.
Let’s start with concrete actions you can take that should reduce the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Just make sure your agent learns of any improvements or changes to the property that you make.
A simple thing is to pay your premiums yearly rather than monthly. If that is not practical, set up an automatic payment each month out of your checking account.
Pay all of your bills on time and keep your credit record clean. Believe it or not, your homeowner’s insurance premium is affected by your credit rating.
Make your property safer from accidents that could result in lawsuits. Replace any broken or buckled concrete and fill in all potholes. Replace lose or bad floorboards on porches or decks and make sure all railings are tight.
Trim bushes away from all windows and install motion-sensitive lighting to deter burglars. Add deadbolt locks to every single door and make sure all windows, even hard-to-get-to windows, have a working lock.
Install the proper number of smoke and fire detectors for the size and layout of your home and make sure they all have a working battery. Remember, batteries need to be replaced twice yearly.
Buy and install a kitchen-rated fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
If your home is ten years old or older you may be able to save quite a bit each and every month if you spring for an upgrade of your plumbing and/or electrical system. Ask your agent what your monthly on-going savings would be.
A home protection system that monitors your home 24/7 is an excellent idea and one which can add a great deal of peace of mind for you and your family. Fortunately many such systems also earn you a 20% or so savings on your homeowner’s insurance every single month. Talk to your agent before deciding on a system, however, as not every system will earn the same discount.
If you have a home-based business don’t forget to ask your tax advisor if a portion of the cost of your home protection system can be tax deductible. A tax deduction on top of a savings on your insurance premium can really make such a system attractive.
If anyone 55 or older and retired is living in the house let your agent know as this could save you money.
You are probably already aware that consolidating all of your insurance policies with the same insurance company can save you money every month, but it still bears reminding.
Don’t smoke. If you don’t smoke you’ll get a better price on your homeowner’s insurance.
What about your deductible? If you can afford to increase your deductible you’ll get an immediate discount on your monthly payments. Don’t go overboard with the deductible, however, because if you ever have a claim you’ll have to pay the deductible before your insurance company will payoff, so don’t agree to pay more than you think you can actually afford.
Finally, buying your homeowner’s insurance online almost always saves you money. However, if you’re serious about saving money then you won’t stop after making price comparisons at just 1 website. In order to make sure you are seeing the most prices possible you really need to take the extra time and run your comparisons on at least 3 different homeowner’s insurance price comparison websites.
Also – and this is important – make sure that you input the exact same answers into the forms on all three websites so that you are comparing the same policy on each site. In this way your comparison actually has some value.
All that’s left now is to determine which companies you feel comfortable will still be around in 30 years and then simply choose the lowest-price policy from among those companies. That’s it. You’ve done your homework, you’ve made the comparisons, and now you’ve gotten cheap homeowner’s insurance online in West Virginia.
Of all the different types of insurance most people are faced with buying, homeowner’s insurance is the one that the vast majority chooses to purchase. The reason should be obvious. For most West Virginians their house is their most valuable asset and they want to protect that asset.
And well they should. However, there is no reason to pay more for your homeowner’s insurance than you have to – and if you can implement one or more of the following suggestions you should be able to save potentially hundreds of dollars each and every year on your homeowner’s insurance.
Start by making your property safer. Remember, the possibility of accident-inspired lawsuits is part of your premium; if you can reduce that possibility you should be able to reduce your premium – so let your agent know about any improvements you make to your home or property.
Start by filling in any potholes on the property. Replace any cracked or buckled concrete. Replace or repair any lose or broken boards on porches or decks. Make sure all rails are secure.
Another portion of your premium covers potential loses from burglaries. Making your home less attractive to burglars should also reduce your premium. Install motion-detecting floodlights. Cut bushes away from windows. Put deadbolts on every exterior door. Make sure all windows, even upper floor windows, have a working lock.
The most common claim made against homeowner’s policies is for water damage caused by a broken waterline or by an old connection to an appliance. Talk to your agent and see what savings you could realize every month if you were to make a one-time investment in upgrading your plumbing and/or electrical system.
A home protection system that monitors your home 24/7 can be an excellent investment. Not only can it provide peace of mind to you and your family, many such systems can also save you 20% or even more on your monthly homeowner’s insurance. Talk to your agent first, though, since not every system qualifies for the full 20% discount.
If you have a home-based business a portion of a home protection system may be tax deductible. A tax savings on top of a reduction in your homeowner’s insurance could make such a system even more attractive.
Install fire and smoke detectors throughout your house and make sure each unit has a fresh battery twice each year. Buy a kitchen-rated fire extinguisher for your kitchen.
Pay your premiums yearly rather than monthly. If you cannot afford to pay yearly then set up an automatic payment out of your checking account on a monthly basis.
Consolidate all of your insurance policies with the same company. This will give you a Multi-Policy Discount on your homeowner’s insurance.
Increase your deductible. The larger your deductible the smaller your monthly premium. But don’t go overboard since you will be asked to come up with your deductible in cash if you should ever file a claim.
By the way, don’t make a lot of small claims against your homeowner’s policy. The longer you go without making a claim the lower your rate will be with some companies. See if you qualify for this discount.
Buy your homeowner’s insurance over the internet. Online policies cost less than policies bought from a brick and mortar agent. Don’t think that all you need to do is compare prices on just 1 website, however. If you are truly serious about finding the absolutely most affordable homeowner’s insurance in West Virginia then you’ll have to fill out the form on at least 3 different price comparison websites.
You’ll also need to be careful that you fill in the same information on all 3 sites, otherwise your “comparisons” won’t mean much.
Once you’ve compared prices on a minimum of 3 different sites then your job is almost complete. All that’s left is for you to decide which companies you feel confident will still be around 30 years from now and then choose the lowest-priced policy from among those insurance companies.
It’s hardly surprising that homeowner’s who finance their property have homeowner’s insurance. Lenders require insurance as one of the requirements of any loan. The surprising thing is that well over 90% of all West Virginia homeowner’s who do not have to buy it still choose to do so.
The reason is obvious. A house is both an investment as well as an asset, and it makes good economic sense to protect both investments as well as assets. Of course that doesn’t mean anyone wants to pay any more for their policy than they absolutely have to.
One way to keep the cost down is to pay premiums yearly rather than monthly. If that isn’t possible then paying premiums automatically each month can also save you money.
Keeping a clean credit record saves you money, too. Treat credit cards and other forms of credit wisely since the higher your credit score the lower your payment.
Making your home safer and less susceptible to injury-related lawsuits will also lower your monthly payments. Fill in potholes around your property and remove and replace any broken or buckled concrete. Replace lose floorboards on porches and decks and make sure all railings are tight.
Making your home less appealing to burglars can also save you money every month. Trim bushes away from windows and install motion-sensitive lighting to keep burglars in plain sight. Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and add locks to all windows to keep burglars out of your home.
If your home is over 10 years old it may pay you to upgrade your plumbing and/or electrical systems. Talk to your agent and see how much a one-time investment on your part will pay-off in monthly savings.
Make sure you have the right number of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors for the size and layout of your house. Make sure each detector gets a fresh battery every six months.
Buy a fire extinguisher for your kitchen. Make certain that you purchase a fire extinguisher that’s specifically rated for kitchen fires.
Increase your deductible. Increasing your deductible will decrease your monthly premium faster than just about anything else. However, don’t get carried away and promise to pay a higher deductible than you can really afford.
Buying a home protection service that monitors your home for fire, carbon monoxide and burglaries 24/7 is not only great for your peace of mind, such a system can also save you a lot of money – 20% or more on your homeowner’s insurance every month.
But be sure to ask your agent before you sign your name to any contract because not every home protection system will earn you the full discount.
See if you can find group policies. Some clubs and organizations offer their members low-cost group insurance.
Is anyone living in your home who is 55 or older and retired? If so you may be due a reduction in your monthly premium.
The final thing you’ll want to do is to buy your homeowner’s policy online. You’ll almost always save money if you purchase your insurance online. However, don’t just rely on 1 homeowner’s insurance price comparison website. If you really want to find the best rates on homeowner’s insurance in West Virginia you’ll make your price comparisons on a minimum of 3 different websites.
You’ll also be careful to enter the exact same information into the forms on all 3 websites so that you are comparing the same policy each time.
But once you’ve done that then you’re done! All that’s left is to review your results and grab the cheapest-priced policy. This is the way that you get the best rates on homeowner’s insurance in West Virginia.
Virginia Rental Cabins are perfect for experiencing ALL that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer! So many options await you all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Front Royal through Luray, down to Waynesboro, and even down to Wytheville and beyond!
When choosing a cabin to stay at, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
The word “Cabin” means different things to different people. For instance, many campgrounds offer cabins, but most of those are considered camping cabins, with no indoor plumbing, and no facilities for cooking other than a fire outside. Basically just a bed or two. It is like camping, only you’re not sleeping in a tent.
A step up are often called deluxe cabins, which are still in a campground setting, but also have a bathroom and kitchenette inside. At least you don’t have to take those nighttime treks to the shared bathhouse, and you can do some food preparation without first building a fire. These cabins are still very small, simply a front room with a bed, table, and kitchenette, and a back room with another bed, and the bathroom off to the side. Think “camping in comfort.”
Another step up are the cabins offered at State Parks. These cabins are nice, but typically are located fairly close together, and are not a particular homey type of atmosphere. However, they are larger, a little more secluded, and not as crowded as the cabins you’ll find in campgrounds.
And the final category of cabins are the cabins that are privately owned by families all over the Virginia Mountains. These will range from being fairly rustic to very deluxe. Amenities will vary, but may include such things as a Full Kitchen, Fireplace, Hot Tub, Children’s Play Area, Dartboards and Other Indoor Games, Satellite TV, Swimming Pools, and more. Some will be devoted to couples, and other will be more oriented towards families. Many would be very adequately described as fully furnished mountain homes.
Below are ten critical tips garnered from a property management company with over 15 years of experience in the Northern Virginia apartment leasing market. Of course, entire books have been written on the subject of property management, so think of the below as the start of your education as a property manager.
1) Research comparable rent prices. It is very important to do your due diligence when it comes to what price you’re going to advertise your property for. Price it too low and you’re going to lose out on extra rental income, too high and you might never schedule a showing of the property. Rent price is dependent on a number of factors including, the economy, whether people are buying versus renting, if local companies are hiring and moving people to the area, what current comparable listings you are competing with, and what prices have been obtained recently. For a list of comparable rent prices and average days on market it’s best to consult a local Realtor. In Northern Virginia be sure to research comps from NVAR’s metropolitan regional information system.
2) Clean and prep your rental property. First impressions can mean everything. If your rental property does not show well this can be devastating. You can be in the best area, across from a metro station, and with tons of companies hiring just around the corner, but if the walls are marked with crayon and you can’t pinpoint that certain smell (the not good one) then you’re likely not going to find a tenant. A reliable cleaning company in Northern Virginia is Maid Perfect.
3) List the property on the local MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in many areas is going to be a solid source of leads for potential tenants. Real estate agents can list your property on the MLS and then the property is exposed to thousands of other agents who can show the property and find tenants for your unit. In Northern Virginia make sure your property is listed on MRIS.
4) Post your property on free listing websites. 70% or more potential tenants start their search for a rental on the internet. That being said, you want your listing to be posted on as many sites as possible. There are too many to list in this article, but a few Google searches will lead you to a ton of websites willing to host your listing and contact information free of charge. Use these sites to actively market your rental property. In Northern Virginia one of the key sites to be listed on is the Washington DC section of Craigslist.
5) Market your rental unit to local companies. One of the main reasons that people move is for a new job. Companies that are actively hiring are typically the largest source of new tenants in a given metropolitan area. Make best efforts to get in touch with the relocation departments of local companies so that they can actively source new hires to you. These new hires NEED to find a place to live and will be the best source for tenants that are ready to make a decision. In Northern VA, you can find a list of the largest businesses in your area by visiting Fairfax County’s government website.
6) Shoot a short video of the rental property. Pictures are nice, but video is better, especially when dealing with potential tenants that are relocating and can not see the property in person. You can use the video to qualify potential tenants for showings. Simply host the video on your favorite free video sharing site (YouTube, alo video, etc… ) and then point the potential tenant to the video to make sure they are interested in your unit. If they have further interest after the video showing, it might be worth setting up a showing in person. The average tenant looks at over 6 properties before they make a decision, so shooting this video can save you quite a bit of time when dealing with potential tenants that just want to take a look, but are not ready to make a decision. In Northern Virginia you will want to post your video to Fairfax TV.
7) Run a thorough credit check on the tenant. If we lived in a perfect world, everyone would pay their rent on time and there would be no evictions. The problem is we don’t live in a utopia. Have you tenant fill out a rental application which gives you permission to run a credit check on them. Make sure that you follow the latest FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) rules and regulations and get a FICO score for the potential tenant. This score will give you a good idea of whether the tenant is going to pay the rent on time, late, or not at all. A bad score usually means a tenant that will give you problems. It’s better to leave the place vacant than take the risk. In Northern Virginia the you should provide the tenant with the FCRA rules and regulations after running their credit. Legalities are often state specific. Please consult your state’s landlord tenant act before running credit or other background checks on potential tenants.
8) Obtain a rock solid lease agreement. The lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and tenant. You want to obtain a fair lease agreement that protects you as the landlord. If things go well with the tenant, then you will probably never look at the lease again, however, at the first sign of trouble, this piece of paper is all you have to get you out of a bad situation. It may be worth having a leasing specialist or Realtor draft the lease for you, a lawyer might be too expensive, unless you have multiple properties and can reuse the same agreement. In Northern Virginia you’ll want to contact NVAR to obtain a rock solid lease.
9) Find a good contractor. When the plumbing goes out, or the HVAC does not work, who are you going to call? If you’re an expert in these areas then you have nothing to worry about… most of us aren’t. It’s a good idea to get to know an honest, reliable and timely plumber, electrician and general contractor. Timeliness is of supreme importance. Make sure to develop a good enough relationship with your contractor such that they take care of your tenants in a timely and professional manner. If the contractor isn’t contentious, it will hurt the relationship with your tenant. In Northern VA you can obtain a good list of contractors by going to the Washington DC section of ServiceMagic.
10) Consider using a Realtor, property manager or leasing specialist. Hiring the right help can make your life a lot easier. These folks will do all of the above and more for you. However, be sure to do your research. Not all property managers are created equal. Use someone local who has expertise in your community.
Unlike other states, Virginia’s main disclosure statute requires sellers to disclose very little about their houses. Virginia law requires sellers to disclose the following information:
Whether the property is in an area where military air installation is located
If the house has a defective drywall
If the property has previously been used as a meth lab and hasn’t been cleaned according to the state guidelines
Whether the property has a septic system that needs to be repaired, but the owner has obtained a waiver from the Virginia board of health. The seller should let the buyer know whether the waiver will apply to the buyer
Sellers may choose to disclose whether the property is in a designated tourism activity zone.
In Virginia, newly constructed homes are usually exempted from statute disclosure rules.
In addition to the state disclosures, sellers must also meet the federal disclosure requirements. Sellers with houses constructed before 1978 are required with federal Title X disclosures. These are disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards.
As the seller you should give EPA-approved information pamphlet to buyers. These pamphlets should give information relating to lead in your home. It’s also required that you give buyers the option of conducting lead-based paint assessment.
A seller disclosure is of great importance to you as a buyer as it gives you more details about the home that you are looking to buy.
If you are looking to buy a house in Virginia, you need to do the donkey work by yourself. You should inspect the house or hire a professional to help you out. When doing your own inspection you need to focus on the following areas:
Grounds: inspect septic tank, drainage systems, driveway, sidewalk and fence.
Electrical system: it’s impossible to do this by yourself thus you have to hire a professional to do it for you. The professional should ensure that the electrical system is up to code and the system is working perfectly.
Structural elements: you should go through the house and ensure that the construction is well done and there is no evidence of bowing or sagging.
Exterior surfaces: ensure that there is correct clearance between siding material and ground.
Roof: you should inspect the condition of the shingles, chimney, vents and gutters. As rule of thumb ensure that everything is perfect.
Interior plumbing: hire a professional plumber to help you identify any damaged or leaking pipes. Ensure that the toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs are fully functioning.
Prohibitions put in place
While the seller’s disclosure obligations are minimal, Virginia law has standards that the seller must follow. The law requires that the seller shouldn’t do or say anything that distracts the buyer from finding a problem. The seller also shouldn’t cover up a known defect.
Virginia law requires that sellers disclose very little about a house. If you are interested in knowing more about the house, you should undertake private assessment. To buy the right house, work with a certified and experienced professional.