News

Golf Tournament Success! Thank you, Ladies.Posted by admin on August 13th, 2014

Golf tournament success! This was a great fundraising event put on by the Portland Chapter of Women’s Council of Realtors! The weather was perfect and I met so many awesome people. I feel so lucky to be surrounded and supported by all these amazing (men and) women in the real estate industry. I can’t wait until next year’s golf event!

An an extra round of applause to the WCR ladies who organized the event- I’ve done fundraising events like this and I know how much time, energy and effort goes into it and you all did a splendid job. Nice work.

And a million thanks to all my gnomies who made this event possible for me: Jenn W., Kristy, Christine, Chris and Heidi. You guys are the BEST.

See all the photos here.IMG_2755IMG_2759 IMG_2757

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Start saving money on energyPosted by admin on August 12th, 2014

Affordable Ways to Make Your House Healthier and Green

“It’s so expensive to do all the “green” things I want to do with my house!” While most of the greening things that get publicity are quite expensive such as solar panels, extra insulation or new windows, there are several things you can do that are affordable and easy. Here are just a few:

1. Paint with Low or Zero VOC paint. Cost: 20-50% more than conventional paint. “VOC” stands for Volatile Organic Compounds…which doesn’t sound like something I want in my house! Low- and No-VOC paint takes longer to dry (be especially careful about painting window sills and touching them with decor or window coverings), but doesn’t off gas. That means you’re not breathing in toxic chemicals when you walk into the room! VOCs are in many other products (several types of flooring/adhesives, upholstery fabrics, air fresheners, etc.), so the more you limit them from you house, the healthier you’ll be.

2. Change the filter(s) in your heating/cooling system. Cost: $4-$45+. Changing your filter regularly will help you in three ways. First, it will help your heating/cooling equipment to run more efficiently which prolongs the life of the system. It also saves energy (which saves you money) by not having to work so hard to push air through the system. Lastly, a clean filter does a better job of filtering out nasty stuff in the air you breathe. You don’t want  to be breathing in allergens and dust from months ago, do you? It’s best to follow manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to the frequency at which you should change your filter, but it also depends on if you have pets, how much you use the system, etc. For an average household, I suggest changing filters once every two months. (More frequently if you have pets, allergies or if you use your system constantly.)

lightbulb color temperatures

Lightbulb color temperatures- cooler to warmer

3. Use Compact Fluorescent or LED lightbulbs. Cost: CFL $7+; LED $25+.  Incandescents are dead! Using more efficient bulbs simply saves energy which saves you money! Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have a longer life (up to 10x), but are more expensive. Do you want to use energy efficient bulbs but hate that it makes your room look blue like WalMart? Your bulbs are too cool! Look for warmer bulbs- 2500K color temperature or lower. The higher the color temperature number, the more blue and stark the light is. A lower “K” number is better here.

4. Get a free Water Conservation Kit from Portland Water Bureau. Did I mention this is free? You can customize your kit to fit your needs or just order the whole shebang if you’re in the Portland area: call 503-823-4527 or email conserve@portlandoregon.gov

5. Install a programmable thermostat. Cost: $35+.  It doesn’t have to be fancy. as long as you can set the temperature to be different at different times of day and for different days of the week, you’ll save money and time by not babysitting the temperature. Don’t worry- you can always override the programmed temperature. A new thermostat may seem complicated, but it’s really quite simple- there are rarely more than 4 buttons to deal with and once you set it, you can forget it. Cheers to a healthier house!

Join me for a Charity Golf Tournament!Posted by admin on August 4th, 2014

Do you golf? Do you like to have fun? Get a foursome together and golf with a bunch of amazing women for charity! Prizes, drinks, dinner and fun are all on the agenda… and it’s all for a couple of great causes: The Oregon Food Bank and NE PDX Backpack Lunch Program. This tournament is for members and non-members of The Greater Portland Chapter of Women’s Council of Realtors on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. Shotgun start at 1 pm.

This is a DRIVING COURSE, so carts will be provided. After 18 holes, dinner will be provided. Prizes will be awarded for some unusual happenings on the course. Non golfers are welcome to join the group for Dinner at $20.00 per person.

Drinks will be offered on the course and I plan on having some awesome promotional items! Please bring cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank. More info and register here.

See you there!Nicole teeing off recently...

Radon Testing in Portland Oregon!Posted by admin on May 19th, 2014

Home Gnome Inspections now offers radon testing!

What is radon? Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that may cause cancer. It can be in the water, soil and air you breathe. It gets trapped inside buildings, increasing your risk for exposure.

Get it tested!

If you are concerned about radon in your home:

  • Make a appointment by email or call 503-913-1281! Radon testing is easy, affordable, and it can save your life.
  • Testing is most accurate when the doors/windows/exhaust fans & vents are closed for a minimum of 12 hours prior to the start of the test and when the home remains closed (except for regular entry and exit) for the duration of the test (at least 48 hours).
  • Radon in your home can be reduced up to 99%! Find qualified mitigators here.
  • Radon is estimated to cause 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. Is the air you breathe safe?
  • Click here to see if  your area is at high-risk.

Home Inspection DiscountPosted by admin on May 8th, 2014

Have you received a postcard or heard about our May home inspection discount? Get $20 off your next Portland home inspection with coupon code: SPRING 14. Just mention it at any time before payment.

Please pass this code along to anyone who’s looking for a thorough, reliable and trustworthy inspector!

A/C Springtime MaintenancePosted by admin on May 7th, 2014

It’s starting to stay warm lately and soon enough you’ll want to use your air conditioning system. Make sure you’ll be ready to go when it’s time!

This is a great article from USInspect about this topic… basically:

  • Clear the immediate area around the unit- much vegetation growth has happened since you last used the unit!
  • Do NOT use when the temperature is below 65 degrees- this can damage the system!
  • When you first start the air conditioner, set your thermostat 5 degrees above room temperature to lubricate the system.
  • Change the filter at the interior unit- this should be done regularly, especially if you have allergies!
  • Learn what to have a qualified professional do for you.
  • Learn about Freon and how low levels can damage the system.

Are You Social?Posted by admin on April 23rd, 2014

We are! Follow us on social media to get maintenance, home improvement and green building tips as well as links to relevant housing articles and neighborhood events for the Portland area.

Don’t be shy! We’re happy to help. If you have a question, ask us in any of these ways:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HomeGnomePDX

Twitter: @HomeGnomePDX

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/homegnome

Email: hello@dev.home-gnome.com

Call: 503-913-1281

Toot toot!Posted by admin on April 21st, 2014

I’m not really the type of person to toot my own horn, but this article on Faces from the Neighborhood is so well-written and deserves a read! Learn a little about my history, my fascination with crawlspaces and why I gave up architecture.

Thanks to Lisa Ratzlaff for her wonderful interview and superb writing. She hit the nail on the head. Read the article here: Faces from the Neighborhood

Nicole in a crawlspace

If you’re looking for a realtor here in the Portland area, contact Lisa- she’ll take care of you!

Lisa Ratzlaff
Re/Max Equity Group
Cell: 971-200-5259
lratzlaff@equitygroup.com
www.realhomesinpdx.com

My Moisture Meter Is Ready For Its Next Home Inspection!Posted by admin on April 10th, 2014

moisture meter skin testI changed the battery and calibrated my moisture meter this morning. I also successfully tested my skin and it contains moisture, so that’s good… but how do I use my moisture meter in a home inspection?

I use my moisture meter anytime I see moisture stains or have pinpointed a suspicious area that needs checking. Common areas that I check with my meter are:

  • Ceilings and walls (particularly at chimneys and at potential plumbing and roof leaks)
  • walls/ceilings/floors near plumbing
  • in basements and crawlspaces under plumbing and where foundations show previous or current leaks

My moisture meter is an invaluable tool to have in a home inspection and I use it a lot (mostly just to be sure) but surprisingly, I don’t usually find an alarming amount moisture. (Testing wood is tricky because it naturally contains moisture.) It’s even more difficult to detect moisture during the summer months when it hasn’t rained for a while so little moisture is present from a lack of rain.

If the house you’re getting inspected has had leaks or moisture issues in the past that the realtor and client know about, let me know so I can check it with my meter!

First time home buyer? Join me!Posted by admin on February 15th, 2014

Choose one that best describes you:

A. I’ve never purchased a home before.

B. It’s been a while since my last purchase and I think I’m about ready to purchase my next home…  think things have changed, haven’t they?

C. Buying a home is something I plan on doing in the future. What can I start to think about and plan for now?

D. I’m bored. I like free food and drinks. I want to meet that one home inspector lady….

If you chose one or more of the answers above, you are in luck.

I’ve been graciously invited to participate in a first time home buyer’s event on Thursday, February 20th at John L. Scott Woodstock. Join us to find out the role of the realtor, what you (as a buyer) can do; hear from a lender, a title company and a home inspector (that’s me!); get your home-buying questions answered. These presenters know the process and business inside and out and they are on your side.

We will have plenty of information and handouts (and I’ll be passing out coupons for your next home inspection). Snacks and beverages will be provided. Best of all: this is a free event!

Deets:

RSVP if you’re so inclined (not necessary): nicole@dev.home-gnome.com