Advice on Ice Damming

The snowstorms in February dumped a total of 30.1 inches of snow in Ohio, which broke the previous 100 year record set in 1910 for total snowfall, in the month of February.

The February record snowstorms, in Ohio, caused a variety of problems for Central Ohio home owners, especially ice damming. I can’t remember ever seeing so many long icicles hanging from gutters of homes and businesses all around.

Ice Damming Advice for Ohio Home Owners from a Home Inspector

Ken Harrington, an ASHI Certified Home Inspector and owner of Kustom Home Inspection, shared the following information on how to properly deal with ice damming, in response to the many calls and emails he received from maintenance employees, real estate agents, real estate brokers, and homeowners wanting to know what to do about the icicles and snow on their roofs. Some home owners are experiencing leaks as a result of the ice damming.

Ken put together a list of Do’s & Don’ts that I hope will give you some guidance on these issues.

Don’t shovel snow off of the roof

First of all, never, ever, ever shovel snow off of your roof. Not only is it dangerous, but it could remove the outer layer, or granules, of the shingles and cause MORE damage than the snow. Don’t worry about the snow-load on your home. Most homes are built to withstand greater loads than what we have now, and that occasional creaking sound is most generally normal expansion and contraction of rafter joists or substrate materials.

Remove icicles from above frequently used doorways

DO remove the icicles from above doorways and areas that are used frequently by family members, but it is best to leave the rest alone. Their removal is not only dangerous, but you could damage the gutters and/or fascia board they are attached to. When water freezes it expands. Knocking the icicles loose could loosen the gutters and allow water to get behind them. During a freeze/thaw cycle it can exert hydrostatic pressure against the gutter system, forcing them away from the wall. When it thaws the water can leak between the gutters and the wall and can seep into the interior of your home through soffits and fascia.

Keep a constant eye out for gutter damage

With all of the weight from the snow and ice atop the gutters, you might experience some damage to the gutters, or they may loosen from the fascia. Be vigilant and keep a close eye on them, and have them repaired at the first sight of damage. When you do experience seepage onto an interior ceiling or wall, check your gutters in the area adjacent to the seepage first, but remember that water can and does travel along substrates before it finally drips.

Check around chimney flashings

The most frequent seepage from ice-damming is from around chimney flashings and other penetration points of the roof. So be sure to keep an eye on the area around that fireplace.

Keep downspouts clear

Of greater consequence is where the snow and ice goes once it begins to melt. If you have exposed downspout drains, or surface drains, DO keep them clear of snow and obstructions so the water can flow out away from the home.

Keep snow away from heat pump

If you have a heat pump, DO keep the snow banks cleared away from the base of the unit. These need airflow to work properly, and an accumulation of deep snow on and around the appliance can result in needless waste of energy and expensive repair bills.

Remove snow from foundation

If you are physically able, consider removing the snow away from around your foundation. 5 feet is the magic number that should allow enough space between the melting snow & your foundation to allow most of the water to seep into the ground & not against your foundation wall. Snow blowers are worth every penny for this use alone.

Remember safety precautions

Don’t put a ladder on a snowy surface. The ladder could slip and cause serious injuries. Leaks, gutters, and roofs can be repaired, the loss of limbs or life cannot.

Check your sump pump

DO check your sump pump. This little guy gets rid of all the water that seeps below the basement floor from this melting snow. If it is not working your basement could flood. If the sump discharges into the storm drain and the discharge line is tightly connected on the outside, leave it be. If it discharges on top of the grade, DO clear the snow from the area where it drains. This exercise helps prevent the water from freezing at the exhaust point, backing up in the discharge line and freezing and cracking the discharge line.

3 causes of water seeping into basements

The 3 main causes of water seeping into basements most generally are: gutters, grading, and groundwater. We call them the 3G’s. We can see and assess two of the three, and if you do what you can to keep them in proper working order, you will be less likely to experience trouble and will minimize damage caused by them. Attached I have a cut-away view of the typical basement and drainage system of a home, as well as an illustration of one of the causes of damp basements. Hope this helps.

If you need to sell in Miami, We buy houses in Miami.

Remax Asks For Lenders to Release Properties

I’m sharing the RE/MAX article below, because it applies to the Ohio real estate market. While there are many distressed properties for sale in the Ohio area, banks slow response to offers on short sale homes is making it difficult to close these properties within the normal 30-60 day time frame. I have seen many Central Ohio short sale properties take more than 6 months to close.

I have helped several buyers purchase short sale properties, many get frustrated at the lengthy process and tire of waiting on the bank to respond to their offer. I just recently sold a home in Worthington Ohio as a short sale through Suntrust Bank and it took over a year to finally get it closed. I had 4 different buyers make offers on the home and most got tired of waiting on the bank to respond. Finally by the time I got the 4th offer, the bank had ordered the BPO (broker price opinion) and it still took about 30 days for them to approve this offer and another 30 days to get it closed. That is simply too long.

Some home buyers don’t want to look at short sale properties because they are afraid they won’t be able to close in time, to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit. Due to the current market conditions, many home buyers are looking for a bargain and distressed properties can often attract multiple offers. However, that does no good if banks won’t respond in a timely manner. Helping home owners avoid foreclosure by selling their home through the short sale process benefits everyone involved, the seller, the bank and the buyer. So banks should really make processing short sales a smoother and quicker process.

More expensive for banks to foreclose than to work out a short sale

Banks incur a lot more maintenance expenses and legal costs when they foreclose on a home rather than working out a short sale. Typically less damage occurs to a property when a seller voluntarily sells it through a short sale, which means the bank may get more for the home and the buyer will feel more comfortable buying the home. When a home goes through the foreclosure process, they often sit empty for an extended time without utilities working. Homes that sit empty without utilities during the winter months often have plumbing pipes that burst causing extensive water damage to a home. Homes sitting empty during the summer without proper cooling or ventilation can quickly develop mold. Without electric, basement sump pumps don’t work which often causes water backup and mold issues in basements. We buy houses in Mansfield

Banks should be especially motivated to process short sales as quickly as possible because it is in their best interests to get the most money out of a home. So I just don’t understand why they remain so slow at dealing with these distressed sales. I wish banks would start taking short sales more seriously. Hopefully real estate professionals and industry advocates like RE/MAX who help to educate the public, banks and politicians will eventually make a difference.

RE/MAX Urges Lenders to Release Properties Record Foreclosure Numbers Need to Be Tackled Head On

(Denver, CO, February 10, 2010) – Dave Liniger, RE/MAX International Chairman and Co-Founder, urged government and economic leaders to push lenders to release foreclosures to help speed the housing recovery. Liniger made his comments as a featured speaker at the Five Star Government Forum in Washington D.C. The Forum brought government and industry leaders together to share ideas for building stability in the nation’s housing market.

“Most of us feel that there is a tsunami of properties out there. I can assure you in the hardest hit areas of the country, there are bidding wars going on,” said Liniger, the only speaker representing a real estate company. “So, for those lenders who are here listening, now is the time to release properties, because you’ve got the Homebuyer Tax Credit that’s driving buyers into the market, and a limited window of opportunity to get these properties sold before the credit expires this year.”

Liniger explained that in some markets experiencing high foreclosure rates, homes in price ranges that qualify for FHA financing are attracting a lot of attention. In these areas, there are multiple offers from investors and first-time buyers, which indicates there’s a real shortage of available homes.

The Five Star Forum focused on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and the challenges facing mortgage lenders in modifying loans under the program. It brought this group of influential leaders together to begin the hard conversation on how better to keep more Americans from losing their homes.

Over the past year, RE/MAX International has led the way on the housing recovery. Liniger and other RE/MAX representatives met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, as well as officials with FHA, Fannie Mae, the Treasury Department, and the Homeowner Preservation Office. RE/MAX offered recommendations for streamlining the Short Sale process, some of which the Treasury Department adopted when it announced a new process last November.

In 2009, RE/MAX trained more than 10,000 agents to handle Short Sales. More RE/MAX agents have earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation than agents with any other real estate company. Surveys show that after earning a CDPE designation, agents are twice as likely to be able to keep families in their homes. And, if the best route is a Short Sale, CDPE agents are much more successful at completing the transaction.

“In our industry, we talk about distressed properties, but we’re dealing with distressed sellers, distressed human beings,” said Liniger. “They’re humiliated by their situation, and that’s why 70% of them never pick up the phone to help themselves when they’re faced with a foreclosure. That’s where Short Sales come in. They provide a better way for both the homeowner and the lender.”

While some cities and markets are experiencing a recovery, as both home sales and prices rise, others are not faring as well. Overall, the real estate industry is in a correction, according to Liniger, who sees distressed properties making up the majority of sales for the next three to five years. And, after that, another housing boom may be on the horizon.

“Once this correction is over, we have a whole new generation of homebuyers waiting to get into the market. But we have to get through this first, and the best way to do that is to take it head on.”