Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair was on The Redefined Realty Show on AM1130 WISN on Saturday January 24, 2015.

3d home inspection checklist

Get your home inspected before you sell

(Begin Transcript) Announcer: Good morning, this is the Redefined Realty Show. Join us every Saturday at 9 AM. Get critical market updates, find out where interest rates are heading and talk to our industry experts about things happening right here in your neighborhood. This show is live and your phone calls are not just welcomed, but appreciated. At 414-799-1130. Before we get started, just a quick message from our sponsors.

Chris: Hi, Chris Mancuso here of Accurate Basement Repair. At Accurate Basement Repair, we fix your basement issues. Take a good look at your basement, check the walls for cracking, look down low for any signs of seepage. Don’t risk your biggest investment. Accurate Basement Repair is you resource for foundation restoration and waterproofing. Call Accurate Basement Repair at 414-744-6900, that’s 414-744-6900. Estimates are always free.

[Music] Paul: And good morning, welcome, this is the Redefined Realty Show on NewsTalk 1130, WISN, hosted by Bob Tarantino from Redefined, good morning Bob.

Bob: Hey Paul.

Paul: And a room full of other people I should mention that you’ll introduce in a second.

Scott: We’ve got inspector gadget here, Mr. Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections.

Paul: Welcome back Scott.

Scott: Always happy to be here thanks.

Paul: And Chris Mancuso, from Accurate Basement Repair.

Chris: Hello, hello, hello everybody.

Paul: Good morning Chris how are you?

Chris: I’m doing fantastic, it was a great week this week and the weather is a little warmer.

Paul: Well it’s warming up.

Chris: Warming up.

Paul: I’m not going to say anything about a football game. We’re avoiding that, Bob, today, right?

Bob: I’m sorry I didn’t hear what you said.

Paul: No talk, we’re just done. We’re not going to talk about it.

Bob: Doesn’t it kind of smell like spring outside a little bit?

Paul: It is, it’s warming up.

Bob: Warm with a little rain, and I thought this was a good week for a January.

Chris: Good time to go buy a home.

Paul: Chris, that’s something we want to talk about too. This warmer weather in the last week or two where we have seen snow on the roofs melting in the gutters are important and that affects the foundation.

Chris: Absolutely, I looked at a house a couple days ago and they had a home inspection done, everything went well and the people came by to do their final walk through and they had some wetness in the basement and go figure, I pulled up and both the downspouts on the driveway side were off. So that’s something everyone should be paying attention to as that snow’s melting.

Bob: What do you do in winter? You should not take those off.

Chris: Do not take those off ever. But if they freeze, take them off and that’s something that you should definitely do.

Scott: Only when you’re mowing the yard, take them off to mow, put them back on. People ask me how far away from the house they should be. I tell them if it’s in the way when you mow, then they’re out far enough.

Male: Yep, far enough, eight feet-

Scott: We do, absolutely. Five to six feet really is your downspout extension goes five to six feet away from the foundation.

Bob: I would think too being winter with the ground frozen if you’ve got that water coming down on a warm day, straight down the side of your foundation, it’s got nowhere to go except down the side of that foundation.

Chris: Yeah and that’s true, it does sometimes, and Scott probably sees this, it will create a gap sometimes between the actual home itself, Paul, and then the ground and that water will want to chase right down that open cavity.

Bob: So what happens then?

Paul: Following the path of least resistance, right?

Scott: You get all this water down the side of your house, down along the foundation, and then we get a night where it’s 20 degrees again and now everything freezes. It turns into a big block of ice pushing on the cement block or the concrete wall or whatever you have for your basement.

Chris: Absolutely, and that’s most of the problems that materialize from deferred maintenance and that’s definitely one of the biggest ones. It’s just not checking your grating, your gutters and your downspouts. And Scott and I discuss it all the time when he is looking at home inspections too. How many times do you call that out? Almost every time, and we do the same thing when we’re looking at the foundations in the basements usually it is a deferred maintenance issue.

Paul: I might be getting ahead of us here, but, Scott, wouldn’t that potentially lead to mold problems?

Scott: Oh, absolutely, anytime you have moisture, you’re going to have mold as well.

Paul: So that water, we’ll talk about all of the… Even in the warm weather, Chris, off the air before the show we were talking about garage floors. They have that wet feel that’s coming up from underneath isn’t it? That condensation?

Chris: Yeah we were just talking about, well we’re all in our garages, especially if you have an attached garage, you might have a little less of that because the temperature differentiation won’t be as much. But a detached, you’ll find more moisture coming up because as that’s warming up and you put your car in there and then you get the differentiation and temperature change, the floor looks wet, your tools get wet, you wonder why your motorcycle’s starting to rust underneath that tarp.

Paul: It’s really damp in other words.

Bob: I’ve got a detached garage. I actually leave the garage door open and the service door so the wind can blow through just to try to keep it dry in there.

Paul: That’s a good idea.

Scott: That will help a little bit but also keep the temperature about the same as it is outside.

Paul: Before we go any further, I want some background info on your companies, guys, so we can check you out online. We’ll start there. Chris, your company, Accurate Basement Repair, that’s your website.

Chris: That’s us, absolutely,, and we’re a full-service basement repair company. We don’t do windows, we don’t do doors, we don’t do roofs, we fix basements. We do drain tile work, wall reinforcement and even house lifting. And most of what we do are real-estate deals and I know a lot of people don’t realize it, but most of the problems come up after the home inspection like by Scott. Again, if you do have a problem, even if your house isn’t for sale is the best place to go.

Paul: And Bob, the foundation, that’s one of the biggies when you’re buying a house.

Bob: Yeah, I tell you when we’re running around with buyers, a big part of our job is to make sure that they get a good home inspector to check that house out. I mean you can spend a couple of hundred-thousand dollars on a house. You better make sure it’s a good house. That’s where Scott comes in. And Scott, you always tell me, I think we start at the bottom and work our way up in the house and eventually we end up in the attic. But that foundation, how many times do you walk in and it’s not necessarily deal-killer type of stuff, but there’s a lot of people that have that maintenance issue, you know, the downspouts and they just don’t have the grading quite right. And you can start to see the problems developing on the basement walls and in my opinion that’s the time to fix it before you get something big.

Scott: Oh, absolutely. Because it’s not going to heal itself. It only gets worse.

Paul: You, upon inspection, Scott, we should give out your website quickly too because on your site are links to some of your other websites, the radon one for example, which will play into some of our discussion today, because after all it is Radon Awareness Month I believe.

Scott: January is Radon Awareness Month by the EPA, yes.

Male: Paul is so smart.

Paul: Scott told me.

Scott: Everybody should know that.

Bob: He and his wife are celebrating radon awareness month.

Male: A whole month.

Bob: It’s a big month for us.

Paul: Yeah I took her out for dinner celebrating it. All joking aside, radon is a very serious issue, but because we’re learning more about it, I think.

Scott: We are. It is becoming more of an issue. Well the other thing too is as we tighten up our houses, everybody wants their houses tight, we want to try to keep that cold air out, we’re trapping that radon gas in the house. So the old farmhouses that were leaky and drafty, we had fresh air coming in all the time so we didn’t have to worry about things like this.

Paul: It wasn’t by design, but it did help.

Scott: But it did work, absolutely.

Paul: Hey, Honest Home Inspections, what’s your website, Scott?


Paul: That’s pretty easy.

Scott: It is.

Paul: And you do have a lot of environmental aspects to your business like the radon and folks can check that out because there are links at And Bob your website of course, Right at the top, I will notice 3.99% commission.

Bob: Oh, that’s what everybody loves, 3.99%. You know we’re getting into this market I think now, where 2013 we started to come around a little bit, 2014 we talked often about how the market was switching from being a buyer’s market to being a little bit more in control by the sellers. I think 2015 we take that step now and it becomes a seller’s market again and houses are going to sell fast if they’re well maintained, they’re in good shape. Here we are in January…

Paul: End of January already.

Bob: …We’ve got offers coming in on properties like crazy right now. Already, I think we’ve done twenty-some listings already in January which is pretty unusual because most people kind of just hang back and they wait until the weather turns, but the markets going to be crazy this year. And when the markets good, you don’t have to pay 6% to sell your house, you can get away with the Redefined Realty plan, which for all practical purposes is the same as the 6% plans you’re going to see out there but it’s only 3.99% plus the flat fee.

Paul: Did you guys see Bob’s drone link or his new company?

Bob: Oh, absolutely, I’m very interested.

Paul: You’re Inspector Gadget so you’re really into this.

Bob: Think about the drone from the home inspection standpoint.

Scott: It’s in the budget but I got to play with his first to make sure it’s going to work the way I want it to.

Paul: If you want to see video, is Bob’s website because you are now using this for homes.

Bob: Yeah, in fact one of the things that we’re going to do at Redefined Realty, and you’re going to love this, if your house is going to be listed at say $375,000 or more, and you’re kind of in the seven county metro Milwaukee area, and you paid the flat fee upfront, which is the $499, part of our commission plan, we’re going to do the drone shoot for you for free. So not only are you going to get pictures of your house from a perspective that you’ve never seen, you’re also going to get a video that we put into the MLS. It’s going to set your property apart from all the other high-end listings out there.

Paul: Buyers must love this.

Bob: They’re going to absolutely love it. The buyers love it, the sellers love it. I have a booth we had at the Metropolitan Builders Show just a couple weekends ago and we had a big 55″ TV set up that we were playing the videos on and everybody that walked by that booth stopped and their jaw dropped when they saw the videos on the TV.

Paul: Now I’ve got some advice because here on the radio show I’ve got a computer and you will click on one of the four videos I think are on the home page, Bob.

Bob: Yeah, you can click on four videos there.

Paul: The settings. Go to the settings and make sure it’s set at 1080.

Bob: Right, so what we do, the way we’ve got this set up, now is we download the videos onto YouTube and then from YouTube you’re linking to that either through MLS or on the website, but when you get to the video there is a setting on there because YouTube will automatically set everything to play at 480p, or 480 whatever that setting is. Everybody knows what we’re talking about, it’s the same thing with your TV. Crank that up to 1080 and so you get in high-def. You’ve just got to click on the little settings button and change it and it will blow your mind.

Paul: The quality is phenomenal. It’s done through a GoPro camera mounted on your drone. So this just gives a whole new, its very cutting edge in your industry to use, Bob, but also I think it changes the whole way we’ll be looking at and approaching selling homes.

Bob: And there is no doubt, the big question that we get all the time from people is what do you guys do different? Everybody wants to know between all the real-estate companies what does anybody do different. And for all practical purposes, how many times have we said it Paul? We’re all kind of the same. We get you in the multiple listings service.

Paul: MLS, a sign on the front lawn.

Bob: And then you get on the thousands of websites that are out there and it comes down to hiring a good agent that knows how to handle your deal properly. Especially when it comes to negotiations and that kind of stuff. But the actual marketing part of it is all kind of the same so having this drone now available to do these photos and videos, this is going to take your property and put it at a level that’s far above everybody else.

Paul: So the sample videos, and these are some homes that are listed at Redefined,, if you go to, you will see all the MLS homes on a map on that home page and there is a lot of stuff on that, that we can talk about later. The CMA, it’s all at the top of the website so check it out. But for now we are going to talk to our guest, Scott LeMarr joining us from Honest Home Inspections, Chris Mancuso, joining us from Accurate Basement Repair, and one of the things was this warmer weather that was just a welcome to me by the way.

Chris: It was a welcome. We were able to, and we do work all winter, some people think, “Can you fix a basement in the middle of winter?” We can. It is weather dependent and a lot of it depends on what part of the house we would be repairing. We do do excavation in the middle of winter too and people say, “Well how do you get through the frost?” We get through it. The machinery nowadays is pretty sophisticated.

Scott: Last year was more of a challenge than most.

Chris: Last year we had frost that was over four-feet deep and it really was… Yeah, that was not good.

Paul: Typically, you don’t get down to four-feet with frost. Correct?

Chris: Typically in Wisconsin, no, not next to the homes because there is always that ambient heat that comes from your basement that penetrates through the block wall. And then it keeps the dirt actually next to your house a little bit less frozen, or the frost gets less deeper into the ground so we’re able to do repairs all winter generally. If it’s the north-side of the house and it’s a slope and you have a lot of snow cover it can be a little bit more challenging, but it’s still a good time to have your basement evaluated, because if you wait until spring when all the snow is melting then not only are you calling, but so are the other hundreds of other people that are in that same boat and then you fall behind the eight-ball a little bit and then you’re trying to play catch-up so it’s always good to be pro-active and do it in winter.

Male: Don’t procrastinate.

Scott: If you’re considering putting your house on the market, and you know you’ve got some basement issues, I can tell you right now that that needs to be addressed. You can declare it, you can put it on your disclosure, but people will back away. It’s just one of those things. Everybody wants a basement, everybody loves basements especially here in Wisconsin, but basements are one of the biggest issues we have. I always tell everybody, I say, “It’s the hole in the ground everybody has the concern about.”

Bob: I can tell you from almost every buyer I’ve ever worked with if we get into a house and we find out that there is a basement problem that hasn’t been addressed, buyers get very, very nervous and a lot of times those deals fall through. But if we walk into a house where we can see, “OK, they’ve done something; they’ve put some beams up on the wall; they’ve done some grading on the outside,” and we can see some of that stuff ahead of time, buyers get very, I wouldn’t say comfortable but they are much more relaxed about the deal, especially if we point to them and say look we’ve got a warranty on the beam work here, here’s a quote or here’s the work order from the landscape company that came in and did the re-grading and by the way they extended the downspouts out and put a new pump in the what do you call it, the sump crock. They do all that stuff ahead of time and as the seller you can control the costs, you can control the way the whole project works and you put the buyers’ mind at ease. Otherwise, those buyers, they get scared to death about basement issues.

Paul: After the break we’ll continue talking, maybe some red flags or some things to look at because Chris, in your industry, and Scott, you too as an inspector, certain things you’ll notice that your average buyer doesn’t. Some don’t even probably want to go into the basement, Bob. Let’s go to the kitchen.

Bob: Oh, yeah we’ve had that happen.

Paul: And it depends if the basement’s finished off which many in this state, we love our rec-room lower level area, but some aren’t finished off, and Chris, from your perspective at Accurate Basement Repair, like you said, act now. Don’t wait until spring. Get that addressed.

Chris: It is like having a pre-inspection of a home inspection too which is a good idea, and Scott and I have discussed that many times along with the associations that we belong to that these home inspections are a good idea to get done even prior to having a buyer because then you’re being pro-active enough to get the things addressed that should be addressed, because they are going to come up anyway. And a big part of it is having the basement looked at prior to having it sold too. So it really does help a lot, and it makes the whole deal streamline itself and things just move much more…

Scott: I did a pre-sale inspection for somebody and after we were done, she says, “We are so backwards that we don’t do this first.” Instead of walking into a home that’s not had an inspection on it before.

Paul: But typically Scott, when we hear home inspection, we think of “the buyer’s looking at a house and before he makes an offer, he has an inspection,” right?

Scott: That’s typical in our area. It’s not in all areas. In other states, they actually do the pre-inspection and when you walk into the house, it’s already done and the report is on the table and they believe everything they say.

Paul: And Bob, what’s your reaction to that?

Bob: I think the pre-inspections are great. I mean when I get to a house with some buyers, if there’s a home inspection report sitting on the counter, first thing I’m doing is I’m going over to it, I’m reading through it, I’m picking out the, usually there is a section in there, major points in the home inspection that will talk about some things that are issues one way or the other. And then if the seller was smart about it, they’ve addressed those items and they’ve left all those reports there too.

Scott: Along with receipts and permits that were pulled and…

Bob: And now what’s great about it is I can walk around the house with the buyer and say, “Oh, yeah sure enough here’s where they replaced this window and here is where they fixed this.” And take a flashlight and look at the chimney and sure enough new a new flue in there or whatever it might be. And all those things that happen, the buyer see’s all that and are like “Wow, these people take care of this house.”

Scott: Momentum, it keeps momentum.

Bob: Proactive.

Scott: It’s a perception.

Bob: And the bottom line is the seller is probably going to end up fixing all that stuff anyways, so why not do it first, control the cost, control who the contractors are, and put the buyer’s mind at ease before the process even really begins.

Paul: So it’s almost the opposite of what we’re traditionally used to in this market. It’s getting that inspection done first instead of the other way around.

Scott: It’s the smart thing to do.

Bob: And I tell everybody, “Don’t fix everything; fix the major points, and the rest of them…” Nobody is going to walk away from, maybe one window has failed glass, they’re not going to stop and not buy that house because of that.

Scott: I would say nobody, but…

Paul: How about the ceiling fan in Bedroom 2 doesn’t work?

Bob: Or it’s wobbly or something like that? I see that a lot.

Paul: Wobbly?

Male: Oh, yeah it’s in the checklist in the report. We see them often.

Paul: Is that right? Isn’t that something? There are so many parts to a home that you’re a part of Scott, with Honest Home Inspections as a home inspector and then from your perspective the same thing Chris, the foundation, there are so many things that could potentially go wrong, and hopefully not, but it could stop the deal.

Chris: Absolutely and the basement repair can be a major item, and I know some of listeners are going “I don’t even want to know.” Well know now or know later, but you’re going to want to know. So to be pro-active and have it done where you have a little bit more control is vital because the basements, and we’ve said this before, the basement won’t necessarily make the deal, but it will most certainly break a deal at times, so why even go down that road? Try to avoid that and be a little bit more pro-active.

Scott: There is no doubt too, I mean one of the things that happens with closings, I just heard a story just a couple of weeks ago, a buyer bought the house and then there was a flooding issue of some sort, some kind of water in the basement, and naturally right away their thought is “the seller didn’t disclose everything.” And that’s one of the nice things about it is if you know there’s an issue, get somebody in there and fix it. Now you’ve disclosed that not only did you have a problem but you’ve fixed it. And it just goes a long way down the road to keep you out of court and nobody wants that.

Paul: Scott, you do these pre-inspections, Scott?

Scott: Oh, absolutely.

Paul: Okay, are they becoming more and more common?

Scott: I’m seeing more of those. I think we’re pushing them a little harder too. I think the realtors are now starting to push them a little harder, because the realtor knows that once there is a pre-inspection done on the house, it’s going to be a smooth deal. Nothing’s going to stop that from going through unless it’s financed to the appraiser or something.

Paul: Bob mentioned it’s laying maybe on the kitchen counter maybe when you walk in by the other things. That makes a huge difference doesn’t it?

Bob: Sure does.

Scott: We provide a three ring-binder with everything that we’ve found and one of the things that we do differently from some of the others is I’ll do the inspection first and then 30 days later or so we come back and whatever they’ve repaired then I put in the report that it’s been repaired. So that people look at that report and go “Oh look, they’ve fixed this and they fixed this.” So there is a perception, there is a mind-set for these buyers that are going “Wow, look at all this money they’ve put in here.” Okay well this outlet doesn’t have a cover plate on it, but we can handle that. Now that’s why I say don’t fix everything because if there is nothing wrong in the report, nobody believes it.

Paul: Oh, yeah that’s right. This home is perfect.

Scott: There is no perfect home.

Paul: I’ve been told that so many times. No perfect home. By the way, seriously about that drone, Scott, do you think would work in inspections eventually down the road with roofing?

Scott: I don’t know. I need to do a little more research on it. And there are some, where there’s just, some of these houses downtown I can’t get on the roof. There’s not enough room in between the houses to get a ladder up there and there’s some chimneys that I like to see. I want to see a chimney as best as I can and I used to use binoculars, but the camera I had with the zoom on it, I can get right up there and I can get pictures of the chimney but I can’t look down.

Paul: Yeah well Bob and I looked at the one drone video and it looked like almost some white was on the shingles and it turned out it was just a frosty morning.

Bob: It took me about three days to figure that out. Nice cedar shake shingles and we got the drone on them and I’m just like “what is wrong with these shingles?” Finally, it hit me, yeah it was nice outside but it was still a frost from the early morning. Everything was kind of that whitish color.

Scott: It’s a big thing about the drone, I mean the roof I walked yesterday, I went up on the roof and the roof was four years old, looked pretty good. I saw a spot that I didn’t like, I picked the shingle up, and four other shingles came with it. So it was nailing. It wasn’t nailed properly. They actually overdrove the nails. Now you’ve got this whole section of shingles that’s not being held by anything. They’re either they are going to pick up in the wind or they are going to start sliding off the roof. You are not going to see that with the drone. Walking the roof is still the best way to do that.

Paul: And being up there.

Scott: But there are some roofs that I just plain can’t get on, and that would be the access to that. There is a, I’m not sure what they are calling it, I think they are calling it a tractor. But there is a camera on a device that’s got tracks on it…

Paul: Like those little military things that they send into buildings.

Scott: And they’ve got those that will go across the roof now, but I mean it takes a long time for that to cross that roof and look at every section.

Paul: Bob is liking his new toy by the way. You can see for yourself how cool it really looks. It’s all at, our guest Scott LeMarr has a website with all the information, and links to his other sites are at, right Scott?

Scott: Absolutely.

Paul: And Chris Mancuso is You’re located down in, is it Oak Creek?

Chris: We’re actually near the airport. We are technically in St. Francis but we are right on the border of Milwaukee, but we travel all over southeastern Wisconsin from the state line to Kenosha to Port Washington and then west, as we go west we do a lot less work because soil conditions change.

Paul: A totally different soil, isn’t that something? Chris, we’re going to sneak in a quick commercial break. Then we’re going to talk more about, because some of this weather and potential things what if it gets up into 45 degree range in winter and then everything goes back to single digits?

Chris: There are some significant things that can happen.

Paul: Yeah, and what can happen to your house? That’s a topic that’s coming up. It’s also Radon Awareness Month and Scott LeMarr is going to talk a little bit about radon and what that means, and Bob will tell you more about everything going on at Redefined Realty, which is that website and this show is on every Saturday morning at nine on NewsTalk 1130 WISN. We’ll take a quick break and be right back.

[24:02] Recording: Welcome back to the Redefined Realty Show. Do you want to be the expert in your neighborhood? Visit and click on the red My Neighborhood button, tell us where you live and we’ll send you real-time market updates straight to your e-mail. You’ll be the expert in your neighborhood. Before we get started, just a quick message from our sponsors.

Recording: For one of the most thorough home inspections and one of the most comprehensive reports in the industry, trust Honest Home Inspections and Milwaukee Mold Inspector, 262-424-5587. That’s 262-424-5587, or visit Milwaukee Mold inspector is a division of Honest Home Inspections.

Recording: Since 1961 Kaerek Homes has been delivering innovative home designs in unique neighborhoods. Visit That is K-A-E-R-E-K homes dot com or call 414-321-5300 to see how you can with Kaerek.

[25:02] Paul: Welcome back as the Redefined Realty Show continues, Bob Tarantino is your host, Saturday mornings at nine o’clock, and joining us Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections, Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. And actually pretty good timing Bob, as we are at the end of January, but we saw some warmer weather so we’ll get into some of the things that could go on if it gets near forty and things thaw like I love seeing my driveway again.

Bob: Oh, I know it.

Paul: Isn’t that cool?

Bob: It is.

Paul: But then you know it’s coming, we are going to get some cold temps, more snow and who knows how cold it could get, and things happen, to not just your foundation but your entire home. We’ll get into all of that, has a lot of information, Bob, as we mentioned before right on that home page.

Bob: Yeah, I mean if you remember last year Paul, it was like 60 degrees colder than it is right now. I mean it was like 20, 30 below zero all of January, all February, I think all of March pretty much and I’m starting to see the listing activity pick up already this year, people are excited because the interest rates are super low. We are still down right around 3.625, all of a sudden gas prices are under two dollars a gallon, I think the people that have been working and that have been worried about their jobs are starting to feel a little bit more comfort in the fact that they’re not going to walk in and get a pink slip in the morning, and all that stuff, pile it all together and that’s going to lead to a housing market in 2015 that’s going to be unbelievable.

Paul: A seller’s market?

Bob: Oh, for sure. I think we’re going to switch gears.

Paul: Are we in it right now do you think?

Bob: I would say we’re right on the brink. Right at the top of the peak, and we’re going to start sliding down the hill into a full seller’s market. It won’t be everywhere, I mean there is still going to be pockets where the sales are a little bit tougher, but 80%, 90% of the marketplace here in southeast Wisconsin, maybe all of Wisconsin, is going to turn back to a seller’s market. So where does that leave you as you’re sitting there thinking about listing your house? Is now the time? Do I wait? There is no harm in waiting, most people you know, March 1st, April 1st, somewhere in there, that people are going to wait, but I can tell you this, the buyers are looking right now. Every day our agents are running around with buyers, we’re seeing offers come in on our listings on a regular basis, it’s not a widely scattered thing like it typically is in winter, it’s like almost every day an offer or two comes in on properties we have listed. So if you’re ready to go, if your house is ready, get it on the market, have one of our agents come out, we can list your property right away. Beat the rush. Because all that competition is going to be coming in March and April and all of a sudden we’re going to go from having 5,000 houses on the market to 15,000 houses.

Paul: Competition.

Bob: Right, and it’s still the same amount of buyers. The number of buyers isn’t going to necessarily increase proportionately. So if you’re ready to go, get your house on the market now. If you’re not ready to go, finish up those little projects, maybe have Scott come in at Honest Home Inspections and do that pre-inspection. Did I say that right? Pre-inspection sale?

Male: Pre-listing inspection.

Scott: Pre-listing, we call it a seller’s inspection, because it’s not always pre-listing. Sometimes it’s already listed and they are starting to panic now and say, “We’ve had a few showings and people have issues.” So we just call it a seller’s inspection.

Bob: So get that seller’s inspection done and get that house on the market. So with that being said, let me just tell you a little bit about our plan because everybody questions, “How does it work?” and they’re not sure what the word flat-fee means. Well flat-fee means basically that you’re going to have a combination of a commission which is your typical, everybody knows the 6%, you’re going to have a combination of a commission and a flat-dollar amount that you pay. So the way we work it at Redefined Realty, it’s 3.99% at closing, that’s the commission part of it, and then the flat fee is either $699 dollars at closing. If you do it that way there is absolutely no risk to you, you haven’t spent a penny.

Paul: You only pay it if you close.

Bob: Only if you close so if we don’t sell your house, you haven’t lost a penny. A lot of people though will take the upfront option which is $499 so you save a couple hundred dollars and if you know you have a good house, and you know it’s going to sell.

Paul: It’s going to sell it’s just a matter of when.

Bob: And you’re committed to the way that we do business and how our plan works, a lot of people will pay the $499 upfront, save that couple hundred bucks and then get your property listed.

Paul: And Bob, if you do the math, you’re like “Well wait a second, you get the commission plus there’s a fee?” Okay, 3.99% and then you look at a $499 for example. The difference in that as opposed to a 6% commission is huge; we’re talking thousands of dollars.

Bob: Think about it this way. Let’s just say you had a $300,000 house. If I save you two percent at closing so 6% versus 3.99% that’s a savings of $6000, right? So if you paid $499 dollars upfront to save $6,000 at the end, why wouldn’t you do that?

Paul: What do you think? What would you guys do?

Scott: That just makes sense to me.

Paul: It’s kind of a no-brainer.

Scott: When you look at the numbers, it does make sense. And a lot of people, they’ll ask me “Do you think this house is worth it or not?” I’m not really allowed to do that, but I was always tell everybody that everything is repairable. You have to look at…

Chris: How much do you like the house.

Scott: …how much it’s going to cost you to repair, and do you still like the location? And then you get into one of the things that Bob said is a good realtor, this is where I see them shine is negotiation. When I’m done with the inspection, that poor buyer is sitting there with the whole list that I just gave him with things that are wrong, which if he had a pre-inspection that wouldn’t have happened.

Paul: And this is a three-ring binder we were told, right?

Scott: Yes, well first off, well basically what we do is at the inspection is I’ll do a summary page. But it’s pretty extensive at that point. And then we go back and do the detailed report. But they are going to walk away with something.

Paul: And you have to prioritize. Like some things might be okay, we’ve got to address this.

Scott: We do. Well kind of what we do is we break that up into different sections so we have items that don’t work, major concerns. Now a major concern for me is anything that’s going to fail right away or a significant cost. If the roof has reached the end of its useful life and you’re looking at an eight-thousand dollar roof that’s a significant cost. If you think the water-heater is pretty well toast then that falls into that significant cost. Then we look at issues, concerns and then I break things up into potential safety hazards so if you’ve got a reverse polarity outlet, that’s considered a safety hazard. Radon is high, that’s a safety hazard. There is a trip hazard in the driveway, there is a trip hazard in the walk. A lot of the times what we’re seeing now is that front stoop, you look at that front stoop and the sidewalk has dropped, and it’s supposed to be eight-inches and now you’re looking at nine and ten inches and that becomes a trip hazard.

Paul: That’s what you mean by a trip hazard.

Scott: It is, yeah.

Paul: How about pavers that move up and down?

Scott: We see that a lot. Those are easier to fix.

Paul: Now we’re getting into Chris’ territory when you look at basements and foundations in general.

Chris: Like what had been talked about previously there about that step, people always wonder why did they make that step so big? Grandma can hardly get up it. It wasn’t really designed that way. There is a code that dictates the height of stairs. Usually if the stair’s so high that means the concrete in front of it generally settled or in some cases the actual stoop pole can actually rise up too. And that’s where we get into this freeze thaw cycle…

Paul: Because of where we live, right?

Chris: And if that sidewalk settles towards the house that means all that water that hits that sidewalk is headed for your stoop which is headed for your basement.

Paul: And your grade is just the opposite of the way it should be.

Scott: Absolutely, and that’s called negative grade.

Chris: And that’s a big deal yeah. If the grade is off and coming toward the house that’s a big deal. And people need to keep in mind even your concrete doesn’t have to be that old to have that freeze thaw cycle in it and it’s not an installation, usually it’s not an installation issue, it’s just an environmental issue and I have to say sometimes it’s bad luck. It’s just bad luck because we put up on a mount of stone underneath your driveway, underneath your sidewalk so folks are thinking, “Well why did mine do this?” Well, sometimes maybe they didn’t put enough stone, but sometimes even if it was done absolutely properly, if there gets some moisture or enough water underneath that slab, it’ll rise up and then you have this differentiation in the alignment of the sidewalk.

Paul: With driveways you hear a lot of people talk about the mix of that bay, what kind of concrete pour they got. When it comes time to a basement or a foundation, you have concrete block or you’ve got a poured foundation.

Scott: Correct.

Paul: Does the same hold true, Chris?

Chris: The principals remain pretty close. If you’re deciding which way you want to go if you’re building new, or wondering when you’re buying should you have a poured wall or a block wall, either one. I mean the strength of a poured wall is definitely much greater. But if you’re looking at buying a house, I wouldn’t be shied away because one’s block or one’s poured.

Scott: There is a lot of block around here. They’re still putting block in.

Paul: In new homes, Scott?

Scott: In new homes, yes.

Paul: Okay, so it’s not all poured.

Scott: I’ve seen $700,000, $800,000 houses where they’re putting it up on foundations still.

Chris: And there is nothing wrong with that. I mean there is absolutely nothing wrong, a lot of it has to do with the way it was installed and the maintenance thereof. We can fix any of them. We can fix poured walls, we can fix block walls. Poured walls, there is some different techniques in repairing those, so if you have a poured wall out there and you’re getting some leakage, I can do what’s called urethane injection and that’s where we stick urethane mixture into the crack itself, Paul, and we can stop a lot of times the leaking entirely.

Paul: I like what you said before, Chris. Anything can really be fixed.

Chris: Anything can be fixed. Everything’s repairable, so if you like the house, buy the house, and Accurate Basement Repair can fix the basement.

Paul: Bob, let’s talk about that approach, because you see a lot of buyers and talk to them as they’re going through a house. Maybe there’s a pre-inspection report or a seller’s report we call it, maybe there’s not and it’s the first time you’re seeing it and you’re seeing things from a different perspective than the buyer does. They’re looking at the beautiful granite kitchen counter tops. And you’re going elsewhere in the home.

Bob: And that’s what a good buyer’s agent is going to do for you. When I take people out on a showing, they walk in the front door and they’re either going to the kitchen or they’re going to the master-bedroom. That’s what everybody wants to see first. I walk into a house and the first thing I want to do is go into the basement.

Paul: Into the man cave.

Chris: Yeah, that’s where I want to go to.

Bob: Not so much for the rec room, but I want to go see the basement walls because I can determine right off the bat if I look at the walls and I think they’re goofed up, chances are they probably are. And then the buyer’s going to be scared to death and probably find somewhere else.

Paul: Well would you prefer not even to be finished off with drywall in a rec room, Bob, just because you can see more?

Bob: Certainly, and I know Scott would second that.

Scott: I always tell everybody as a person I love a finished basement. Basements are beautiful. As a home inspector I hate them. When I walk down to the basement and I see four concrete block walls, I’m excited because I can see everything.

Paul: There is really no way to conceal anything there right?

Bob: Well speaking of that, let me ask you, Scott, when you walk down into a basement that’s got fresh paint on the floor, fresh paint on the walls, maybe you can tell they put up some drywall and you can just see that it’s all brand-new, does that put a red-flag up in your mind?

Scott: Not necessarily, because I know Rehab 101 is to paint the floor grey and paint the walls white. I even spoke at the Home Stagers Association about “Do we paint the basement or not?” A nice, clean, bright basement will sell a home. But you got to make sure you’re not hiding anything. If there is freshly painted walls, I spend more time going through the walls, but most of the time, we check the corners because if your corners are wet that’s typically a downspout extension. And then usually we’re checking, with a block wall we’re checking three or four courses down because that’s normally where our horizontal cracks show up because that’s our freeze line. Then we want to go down to our bottom blocks and check and see whether or not we’ve got a drain tile issue. So there is some method to it, even when they are freshly painted like that, but I will spend a little more time. I did one where I’m kind of staring at this wall and I notice that the mortar was really thick in one spot and I put my fingernail in it and it turned out it was caulk. Now they did a really good job with it, but they can’t get by Inspector Gadget.

Paul: Nothing beats the duct tape on my wood windows that were painted over.

Bob: So if a seller asks, Scott, they say “We’re going to put the house up for sale, should we go ahead and paint the walls make it all look nice and fresh?” would your answer be probably okay?

Scott: The answer would be as long as you’re not hiding anything. Repair what you need to repair first.

Paul: Because a good inspector is going to find it anyway.

Chris: Well, that’s where it comes down to the evaluation, getting a home inspection or a basement inspection done before you go ahead and paint the walls. Because otherwise if it looks borderline-ish, people are going to err, the inspectors or an engineer who comes out to take a look at it or someone else, you tend to err on the side of caution because you can’t really tell what was underneath the paint.

Paul: Well let me ask you this, are the pictures taken? Do you take pictures?

Scott: When you do paint, you do cover a timeline. I can see some things. Let’s say we’ve got some old paint here and this crack has been here for a long time, you know it’s kind of obvious. The other thing when you paint new and then the moisture starts to seep through the paint, that’s a red-flag, or the fact that we’ve got cracks now in this fresh paint that we didn’t have before so you do create a timeline with that paint.

Paul: But buyers can be cynical, Bob, right?

Bob: I know as a buyer’s agent the first thing that goes through my mind when I see fresh paint is like “All right, they’re trying to cover something up.” And all that really leads us to do is take a closer look. Now we start looking, like you said, do we see any cracks in the paint? Do we see some caulk that they maybe painted over? So a lot of the times you’ll kind of eyeball the wall, you know how you get your head real close to the wall and you can see a little bit of a bow in it.

Chris: You can a lot of times, absolutely.

Bob: So I start looking for things like that and now the buyers are looking at me and going “What are you looking at?” So I go “Well, come on over here. Does this look like it’s kind of out of kilter to you?” and they’re like “Oh, yeah it kind of does.” And part of the reason that I might have done that a little more closely than I normally would is because there was fresh paint on the walls.

Paul: Before we take our next break, Chris, your company Accurate Basement Repair is going to be at the next NARI Show, February, State Fair Park, Wisconsin Expo Building. You’ll have a booth there.

Chris: Absolutely, and NARI contractors are always very, very good and reliable contractors to have. I sit on a couple of committees for NARI so very proud member. I think if you’re out there looking for any work to be done at your house, I would start at NARI.

Paul: It’s on Valentine’s Day weekend. Take your sweetheart.

Chris: It’s coming up in about a week so if you call Accurate within two days before the show we’re going to give away a few free tickets to the event.

Paul: Well give your number out then, Chris.

Chris: It’s 414-744-6900, that’s 744-6900. So we are going to do a little giveaway thing a couple of days before the show so don’t call and tell them, but the show is the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Paul: February 14th is a Saturday this year. Nothing says, “I love you sweetheart” more than a NARI show.

Chris: Well, if you buy her a kitchen, you do love her.

Paul: Well you can’t go wrong there.

Chris: That’s right.

Paul: And of course your site is Scott LeMarr, Inspector Gadget, joins us and Scott, your website is

Scott: We have We have, and we have

Paul: Can we call you?

Scott: You can. 262-424-5587, 262-424-fifty-five eighty-seven.

Paul: And remember is kind of that main site. Of course all the contact information is there.

Scott: And we named it honest for a reason.

Paul: And I like what you said about a seller’s report being more proactive and Bob can talk more about that after the break, but I think that really helps the process when you see that sitting there.

Scott: Absolutely, it does. And the advantage for the seller too is that we do find something wrong, you don’t have thirty days to fix it, you’ve got as much time as you want. You can entertain three or four bids instead of the buyer is going to walk unless you have this done in less than fifteen days, now you’ve got to take the most expensive guy and is it going to be done right? And we don’t necessarily know that either so…

Paul: It just makes sense.

Scott: It does. It makes lots of sense.

Paul: We’ll be back with Inspector Gadget, Scott LeMarr, and Chris Mancuso, our guests. Your host is Bob Tarantino and it’s the Redefined Realty Show on WISN.

[41:04] Dennis (recorded): Hi, I’m Dennis Jannisea. If you want great feet, come to the professionals at National Pedorthic Services in Brookfield. As a locally owned business, NPS has been recognized by and partnered with healthcare professionals for over 40 years to help improve foot health of thousands of people just like you. At NPS, certified practitioners will work with you to find an orthotic solution as well as a shoe to fit not only your feet but also your lifestyle. We’ll give you great feet, comfortable feet. Call 262-754-2440, or visit National Pedorthic Services at 124th at North Avenue.

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Recording: Welcome back to the Redefined Realty Show. We have 15 experienced full-time agents waiting to meet you. Just click the green list now button at or call our office for an appointment at 262-732-5800. It’s a hot market like this at a 3.99% closing commission makes a ton of sense. Stay tuned, the guys are coming back on right now.

[42:22] Paul: Back on NewsTalk 1130 WISN. Bob Tarantino, we never really got to gutter talk.

Bob: Yeah.

Paul: A little bit we did.

Bob: Drain gutters are probably all clogged up with leaves from the fall. And to go outside when it rains, you’ll see all the water coming over the top and hopefully it’s going down the spouts now you have eight-foot extension on, right?

Chris: Not if they’re full of leaves.

Scott: Leaves or ice.

Paul: And when we’ve had this warmer weather, all it takes is to be over 32. Scott LeMarr joins us by the way if you’re just joining in, Honest Home Inspections, and Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. Outside of announcing January was Radon Awareness Month, one of the things we hit on guys, was these warmer temps can kind of screw with homes because we know it’s going to get cold again. Actually, I think, Scott, isn’t that where ice dams could happen to?

Scott: You do. Ice dams can happen pretty much all winter long, and some of that is based on the amount of sun we have. What happens is we freeze, the sun comes out and melts the top-half, bottom-half freezes it underneath. There are fixes for ice dams, a lot of people will have Band-Aids, they’ll throw some heat tape up there, that’s a Band-Aid for it. Really it’s a combination of ventilation and insulation that will cure your ice dam. Ice dams are curable and I’ve looked at quite few of them. We’ve had one recently where we had water in coming in in their drywall.

Paul: That’s a red flag, Scott.

Scott: That’s a red flag, but this was not a home inspection. This was because we do moisture intrusion as well so with the thermal camera and going up in the attic and taking a look at things and figuring things out, we were able to come up with a good scenario or two to put this away.

Chris: And they should call you now. You don’t have to wait until they’re selling the house.

Paul: Well, Chris I was going to say with downspouts, Bob mentioned gutters, downspouts, you don’t think of that in winter. Your mindset as a homeowner is “Well that’s a summer thing.”

Chris: I think a lot of home owners don’t know where to turn, so if you’re listening and you don’t know where to turn, myself at Accurate Basement Repair and Scott at Honest Home Inspections, we’re good resources for the listeners, Paul, to pick up some good tips if you don’t know how to do it, there are people out there you can talk to.

Scott: And we do more than home inspections, we do moisture intrusion, we’ll do consultations like that too and if somebody calls me up and it’s blatant that they need someone else, we’ve got a list of contractors that we say, “Why don’t you call this guy and he’ll come out and do this for you.”

Paul: And of course, mold and radon are a part of those environmental factors that concern us too.

Scott: Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer and this is so preventable. So if I told you that if you spent $1000 you had less of a chance of getting lung cancer, would that be worth it or not?

Paul: Hmm, yeah.

Scott: And most people don’t.

Paul: No they don’t, you’re right Scott.

Bob: Know what else we can do now, Paul? We can come on out with the drone, check the leaves in your rain gutters and then do a nice picture of your property while we’re there.

Paul: Exactly.

Bob: Get some beautiful pictures.

Paul: If you didn’t hear us earlier, Bob bought a new toy. It’s a drone. It’s not a toy, believe me this thing is going to help a lot.

Bob: It’s a tool.

Paul: It’s a tool. Good point and that is Also, Bob Tarantino’s website is When we come back, we’ll kind of wrap things up by giving out Chris’s information at Accurate Basement Repair along with Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections. It’s the Redefined Realty Show as we continue with Bob Tarantino on WISN.

[45:46] Recording: Good morning, this is the Redefined Realty Show. Join us every Saturday at 9 A.M. Get critical market updates, find out where interest rates are heading and talk to our industry experts about things happening right here in your neighborhood. This show is live and your phone calls are not just welcomed but appreciated at 414-799-1130. Before we get stated, just a quick message from our sponsors.

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Chris: Hi, Chris Mancuso here of Accurate Basement Repair. At Accurate Basement Repair, we fix your basement issues. Take a good look at your basement, check the walls for cracking, look down low for any signs of seepage. Don’t risk your biggest investment. Accurate Basement Repair is your resource for foundation restoration and waterproofing. Call Accurate Basement Repair at 414-744-6900, that’s 414-744-6900. Estimates are always free.

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[47:42] Paul: The Redefined Realty show continues. We want to thank Chris Mancuso our guest from Accurate Basement Repair. You’re right down by the airport, Chris, your company.

Chris: Absolutely, at, 414-744-6900 and remember we’re always a good resource for your listeners out there. If you have questions, please give us a call, if you need some repair we’re absolutely the company for you.

Paul: And you’ll be at the NARI show on February 13th, 14th, 15th, Valentine’s Day weekend.

Chris: We will be at the NARI show. Stop by and say hello and we’d like to meet you.

Paul: Thank you, Chris.

Chris: Thank you, Paul.

Paul: Have a great weekend. We thank Scott LeMarr, Inspector Gadget,

Scott: It is, very good,,

Paul: Let’s throw out your phone number too, Scott.

Scott: 262-424-5587, fifty-five eighty-seven.

Paul: Have a great weekend, thank you for your time, Scott.

Scott: Thanks, happy to be here.

Paul: Of course, we appreciate everybody tuning in every week, Bob, they can contact you in Delafield at Redefined Realty.

Bob: Yeah, main office is in Delafield, right by the old Smiley Bar there on 94 at 83. Our phone number, 262-732-5800. And always remember you can start online if you want, that’s what most of our clients do actually they hit the green list now button and that gets the process rolling and that gets your property on the market.

Paul: That is Don’t forget to check out the newest, and look at the videos. They’re great.

Bob: Oh, they’re so awesome.

Paul: Have a great week, Bob.

Bob: Thanks you too.

Paul: And we’ll be back next Saturday at nine o’ clock, Redefined Realty Show every week. I’m Paul Kronforce. News is next on WISN.