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April 30, 2016

How to Recognize Signs of Dry Rot in Your Home, & How to Fix It

home-repair

Most homeowners have seen “dry rot” – a condition where wooden siding, beams, and other wooden parts of a house become weak and brittle – but many don’t understand the causes of dry rot, or how to protect against it.

Dry rot is caused by a wood-destroying fungus that can move through other materials, enabling it to reach protected wood as well as wood exposed to the elements. Despite its name, dry rot actually requires a significant amount of moisture (in the wood) to establish itself, and is most common in wet or humid environments, both inside and outside the home. The fungus can cause significant structural damage if allowed to spread unchecked, and recognizing dry rot early can avoid thousands of dollars in costly repairs.

Here are some common signs of dry rot infestation in wooden surfaces:

  • Damp, Musty Odors. Dry rot occurs most commonly in wet or humid areas, because the dry rot fungus requires a damp environment to thrive. Damp or musty odors emanating from wooden surfaces can indicate fungal growth.
  • Brown, red, or grey “skin” on wooden surfaces (with or without thread-like strand or fiber growth). If you notice anything growing on the wooden portions of your home, especially growths that look like mold, mushroomsor “skin,” contact a dry rot expert immediately.
  • Shrunken, cracked, or darkened wood. If wooden surfaces inside or outside your home begin to look unusual, especially if the wood appears shrunken or darkened, dry rot may be present.

If you notice any of these symptoms, or suspect dry rot has invaded your home, consult an expert immediately. Delay will only make the condition worse. Experts may use some or all of these methods to help eliminate the fungus and fix your home:

  • Treating impacted boards with fungicides. Only certain fungicides work on dry rot, but the effective ones kill the fungus and stop further damage. Fungicidal treatments are most effective in the early phases of dry rot infestations.
  • Removal of affected wood and replacement with pre-treated boards.Once dry rot impacts the integrity of siding or other wooden structures, stopping the fungus requires removal of the impacted wood, which will normally be replaced with boards pre-treated with anti-dry rot fungicides.
  • Masonry sterilization. Where evidence suggests the dry rot fungus passed through other building materials to reach the impacted wooden area, experts may recommend sterilization of masonry and other non-wooden materials to help prevent the fungus from returning.

Dry rot can also reduce the selling price of a home—sometimes significantly—because buyers normally expect the seller to pay to repair any dry rot discovered during the escrow and inspection process. Sellers who want to avoid this expense should consider selling the house directly to an investor, like 4 Brothers Buy Houses, instead. 4 Brothers Buy Houses will purchase your home in any condition, and won’t reduce the price after the offer is accepted if the house has dry rot issues.Click here for more information, or to request a free quote today.

April 23, 2016

March 2016 Housing Sales and Market Update For Washington, D.C. & Surrounding Area

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*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.com

4 Brothers Buy Houses is proud to share this update on current Washington D.C. area housing sales and market conditions.*

Overall, Area Housing Prices Increased Over February 2016 Prices:

In March, the median home sale price in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area was $399,000, an average of $19,000 more than February 2015 (though slightly lower than home sale prices in March of 2015). Most counties showed increased housing prices, as did the D.C. Metro area, though the greater Washington D.C. area had a slight decline.

Regionally, home sale prices show overall increases since the start of the year, a fairly normal trend as the weather improves and we enter the spring sales season.

Regional Housing Sales, Inventory,&New Listings AlsoIncreased in March 2016:

According to figures published by RBIntel.com:

3,755 home sales closed successfully in Washington D.C. and surrounding counties in March 2016, and half of those houses were on the market 27 days or less – a significant improvement over the 44-day average DOM for the previous month.

6,165 homes were listed as “sale pending” at the end of March, an increase of 11% over March 2015.These figures reflect increases in all residential housing types – good news, regardless of the type of home you want to sell.

March brought 8,352 reported new listings in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area, 22% above the 5-year average. Although increases in listings and inventory often mean lower prices on the horizon, as buyer choice increases, a booming sales market may counteract this trend—we’ll know in the weeks and months to come.

Lower “Days on Market” Means Faster Sales, But Also Encourages More Listings.

In March, the median days-on-market for listed homes was 27, a significant decrease from February 2016 (median days-on-market: 44). Condos sold fastest in March, with an average of only 24 dayson the market.

Sales numbers and days on market vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods, and the speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.

The fastest “days on market” sales usually happen when homeowners sell a property directly to investors for cash, with no inspections, repair requests, or extended escrow procedures. 4 Brothers Buy Houses can close a sale in less than two weeks, putting cash in your pocket without any hassle. To find out more, or find out what your home is worth, request a free, no-obligation quote today.

April 8, 2016

Four Important Tips to Protect Your Guests at Parties and Open Houses

dinnerparty

Spring is the start of outdoor party season, and also a time when many homeowners put their properties up for sale. The welcome return of good weather makes people long to spend more time outdoors, and open house visitors often like to tour the yard as well as the indoor parts of a listed property.

Property owners—and sellers—often have a legal duty to prevent foreseeable injuries to guests and other people who enter the property. Sometimes, the property owner is legally liable even if the dangerous condition was unknown before the injury occurred. Here are three important homeowner safety tips to keep your family, guests, and prospective buyers safe at parties and during open houses:

Inspect Your Property Before the Event

Whether you’re planning an indoor party, a poolside bash, or an open house for a property that’s on the market, take the time to look for hazards before the event begins. Remember to check both indoor and outdoor spaces, even if you don’t expect the guests to use the yard (or house).

Repair or Screen off Damaged or Dangerous Areas

If your visual inspection reveals damage—for example, broken or rotting deck boards just revealed by melting winter snow—try to repair the damage before your party or open house begins. If time is short, screen off the dangerous area and post a warning sign where guests and visitors can see. Closing off entire rooms might work for a party, but if you’re planning an open house, repair the hazards if you can. Blocking off parts of the property is a major turn-off for prospective buyers.

Install Pool Gates and Fences, and Inspect Pool Covers Carefully

Swimming pools make for great summer fun, but pools are also hazardous, especially for children. Before your party or open house, make sure your pool has legally-compliant fencing and inspect the fence and gates. Gates should close automatically, fasten securely, and latch high enough from the ground to prevent a child from reaching them.

Make Sure all Staircases Have Stable, Functional Railings

Check the stability and security of stairs, and especially staircase railings, before a party or open house. Railings should be secure, and capable of holding the weight of a leaning adult or child. Remember: children, elderly, and disabled people may need to use the railings, and broken or wobbly handrails create a serious threat of falls.

A simple walk-through of your home before a party or open house can help keep guests and potential buyers safe and happy, leading to happy events and hopefully a successful sale.