The Home Search

Buyers Beware: Termite Inspection Is a Vital Step E-mail
The Home Search
Written by Jason Byer,   

Buying a new home can be a stressful experience. You have checked out your neighborhood, schools and commute. You have some new furniture in mind. And you don’t want any hidden surprises in the future. A termite inspection is a necessary step that will allow you to enjoy your new home for many years to come — with no termite surprises.Termites can damage wood in and around a home very quickly. The National Pest Management Association estimates more than $5 billion of termite-caused property damage annually.  Insurance rarely covers this damage.

Termites are usually found in the ground and in wood. They are rarely seen. You might see a mud tube or tunnel for an army of termites. Sometimes, swarmers or winged termites are seen in the spring when termites are looking for mates. These swarmers are a sign of a mature termite colony. Their job is to leave the colony, mate and start new colonies.

A qualified pest control inspector has the experience and knowledge of termite behavior to spot mud tunnels and other signs that termites are tunneling underneath. A thorough termite inspection will provide a report of existing damage and termites, as well as address whether your home is likely to have future termite problems based on the answers to a number of questions, including:

1.    Does your home have a wood frame on a slab?
2.    How close to your home is your wooden fence?
3.    How does water drain around your home?

A thorough termite inspection and assessment of potential future problems is a critical element in any home buying decision. For more information, or to schedule an inspection in the Long Island, NY, area, contact For other locations, you can find a professional through the National Pest Management Association.

Jason Byer is President of Suburban Exterminating, located in Long Island, NY.

This article has been republished for additonal educational purposes. This article is not affiliated with any links or products that appear on the same pages. Read more about our editorial policy.

3 Dream Home Features You Can Afford Without Breaking Your Home Insurance Bank E-mail
The Home Search
Written by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley   

If you're like most buyers, you have a list of "dream home" features that you'd love for your next home to possess. However, keep in mind when you're house-hunting that many of those features you love will affect your home insurance premium. Here are three common dream home features that could drive up the price of your home insurance coverage—and what you need to know to bring that cost back down so that insuring a home doesn't break the bank.

Extended Families Share One Roof E-mail
The Home Search
Written by Alejandro Lazo, Tribune Newspapers   

Home is where not only the heart is these days — but also the elderly parents, the boomerang kids and the aging-in-place boomer homeowners.

To accommodate the new generations-stacked-upon-generations lifestyle spawned by one of the most severe economic downturns in decades, builder Lennar Corp. is focusing on houses with something few others on the block can boast about: another house.

The company has built two San Bernardino County, Calif., models of its so-called NextGen designs for its master-planned Rosena Ranch community. Like a Russian nesting doll with a smaller doll inside, the new residential design incorporates a smaller home with a separate front entrance, kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom.

Lennar designers and researchers and an independent architect developed the floor plans this year to respond to the doubling-up trend that has affected more than 1 in 5 U.S. households. Executives with the Miami-based home building titan hope the atypical designs will appeal to families moving in together and pooling financial resources. The idea is to draw them back into the beleaguered market for newly constructed homes, which is on course for its worst annual performance on record.

"This Great Recession has forced us, as builders, to push the envelope," said Greg McGuff, president of Lennar's Inland Empire operations.

Buy A House that Will Grow With Your Family E-mail
The Home Search
Written by Jeffrey Steele, Special to the Chicago Tribune   

It wasn't too long ago that buyers looked at a new home and pondered whether they would flip it in two, maybe three, years. Today, the questions are different.

If we have kids, can we use that home office as a baby's room? Can the family room be turned into a children's playroom? Will the first-floor den work 10 years from now as an in-law suite? Can we rough in some plumbing in the basement, in case our grade schooler is a "boomerang" child after college?

Check Out the Neighborhood Before Buying A House E-mail
The Home Search
Written by Kari Richardson, Special to the Chicago Tribune   

Imagine that you are an eager home hunter who can't believe your luck. The newly listed property you are touring exceeds all the criteria on your wish list: It's sparkling clean with every amenity you desire. The price is right, too.

But you step outside to take in the surroundings. It's pickup time at the busy grade school across the street, which is next to a cemetery. Beyond the back deck, there's a tangle of overhead power lines, but you still are able to see and hear the roar of planes circling before they land at a nearby airport.


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