(Begin Transcript) Announcer: 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 the 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 your resource for foundation restoration and waterproofing. Call Accurate Basement Repair at 414-744-6900. That’s 414-744-6900. Estimates are always free.
(2:05) Paul: Good morning and welcome to this time for the Redefined Realty Show at News/Talk 1130 WISN. Your host today is Craig Schmitz. We’re going to get right into the show, because we’ve got several guests here. Good morning, Craig. How are you?
Craig: Good morning.
Paul: Are you going to introduce the guests or should I?
Craig: Go ahead.
Paul: OK. I’ll introduce the guests and then we’re going to take phone calls. We’ll tell you about Redefined Realty, and their 3.99% commission, and everything going on. Craig will tell you more about that throughout the show. But for now, we are going to talk with Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair, and Scott LeMarr, but first…
Isn’t the Badgers’ last home game of the season tomorrow, Spencer, right? They’re considering this possibly the best Badgers basketball team ever.
Chris: That’s lofty.
Paul: That’s up there. We’ll see what happens at the end of the… How can we say until the season is over?
Chris: We’ll be taking your sports books today, you guys. [Inaudible 0:03:03] and Spencer’s got the line going.
Paul: Yeah, working the game. That’s Chris Mancuso you just heard from from Accurate Basement Repair. Good morning and welcome back, Chris.
Chris: Good morning, everybody. We’re excited about today’s adventure in basement repair.
Paul: Oh, yeah. Well, you’re going to actually run through some things that homeowners can do in their basement like red flags or things they’ll spot. You want to walk us through some of that today.
Chris: Yes, today we’re going to walk through how you can do your own little, mini basement inspection yourself and maybe catch some things early enough, so…
Paul: They don’t become big things.
Chris: …they won’t become big things.
Paul: And then Scott LeMarr is here from Honest Home Inspections. Welcome back, Scott.
Scott: Thanks, Paul, always happy to be here.
Paul: Good to see you. The good news for our listeners, they can call in with questions for Scott. When it comes time to the home and any mechanicals, Scott, you pretty much take all those questions.
Scott: Furnace, we take all the questions.
Paul: Look at your house. Look at home much there is. When a home inspection is done, everything that Scott looks at, he literally spends hours going through the house.
Scott: Chris said to me one time, he says, “You have to know everything. I just have to know basements.”
Chris: That’s right.
Chris: I want to stick to the low levels.
Paul: Well, we’ll start with the foundation and work our way up. And if our listeners have any questions about the foundation, that’s why Chris is here and his is company Accurate Basement Repair. You are located down near the airport.
Chris: Near the airport. We are located near the airport, and we serve mostly the five -county area, and we’ll travel just about anywhere for you.
Paul: Foundation repair.
Chris: Foundation repair, no remodeling, no roofing, none of that stuff.
Paul: All about the foundation.
Chris: Absolutely, drain tile work, house lifting, wall rebuilds, steel reinforcements. If you own a house at some point, you’ll probably going to need something done.
Paul: And some homes are…
Chris: More susceptible than others.
Paul: A hundred-year-old home compared to a brand new one, think of the foundation.
Chris: Yes, and some of the brand new house where they are built can be pretty questionable, but it’s good for me, not so good for some other folks. Yes, some of the places that people had decided to build or builders had decided to put houses in probably weren’t the most wise choices, because they’re low lying areas and wetlands, but I can get them dry. There hasn’t been one yet that we couldn’t fix.
Paul: There’s ways to do it, but if you nip it in the bud, you can also save money down the road, too.
Paul: Okay, so we will take any foundation basement question, things to look for, maybe you’re looking at real estate, or looking at a home and you’ve got issues. And then of course, your company, Honest Home Inspections, Scott, we should talk about because you are a master indoor environmental specialist. So we can talk mold and indoor air quality. Radon is a big issue these days.
Scott: It is and we’re all staying inside right now too, so not too many people venturing outside at least not for too long. So we are stuck in our houses and we’re breathing all this stuff that’s in there.
Paul: So make sure that quality of air that you’re breathing in is good.
Chris: Is Radon higher in the winter? Can it be higher?
Scott: It is higher in the winter and that’s a really good question. And one of the things that we look at is radon gas is like water. It seeks the path of least resistance. Radon gas is trying to get up, water is trying to get down, but it’s the same principle. So when the ground is frozen like this, the radon gas can’t get out through the ground. Typically during the summer day where the ground is dry, the radon gas can get out through the ground versus our houses. Right now, it’s got no place to go. It bottles up and the pressure comes in through the basement. Concrete is pretty porous and people don’t realize that, so gas can get through the concrete, certainly any cracks, the areas between the wall and the floor.
Paul: Is it odorless?
Scott: It’s odorless. It’s colorless. The only way to know is to test. There just isn’t any other way.
Paul: You do the testing too, right?
Scott: Yes. We do a lot of radon testing.
Paul: Honest Home Inspections has a website. That’s honesthomeinspections.com and throughout the show there’s a mold and radon testing site. We’ll give you all of those, but if you just link up to the main site, honesthomeinspections.com, you will see a lot of information. And, Craig, briefly give us the elevator speech at Redefined Realty. I did mention that low-commission, and people at first say, “What? 3.99%, how can you make that happen?”
Craig: Right, and they’ve been comparing it to a traditional 6%, and thinking something potentially is missing and there really isn’t. It’s complete full service from start to finish – sign out front, lockbox in the door. We take all the calls. We show the property to buyers. We take care of the feedback, the contract negotiations, the closing. We pay the same co-broke commission to the agents and the MLS. We’ll do a market analysis for you and show you what that co-broke commission is. So that’s part of that 3.99%. You’re really not missing anything out there as far as getting in the MLS, getting that exposure and getting in front of those buyers and agents. And right now is a really good time as bad as the weather is out there, as cold and snowy as it is.
Paul: Now my next question, how are we doing? You guy are so busy.
Craig: We are super busy. For January, February, it’s unbelievable right now how busy we are.
Paul: Just think of what April, May, June, July are going to bring.
Craig: Exactly. People really target – we’re right there, March 1st – that beginning to…
Scott: It doesn’t feel like it, but, yes, we’re there.
Paul: Exactly. And that’s part of it.
Chris: Everybody wants to take off.
Craig: The snow and the cold. You’re not thinking spring, but kind of in people’s minds that March 1st, middle of March timeframe is when people are focusing on and maybe that pushes to April 1st, but in this time frame is when you’re going to see a lot more. So from a seller’s perspective, get it out there not because the buyers are looking. They are waiting for new listings out there.
Chris: How is the inventory level?
Craig: It’s still very low. In certain areas, it’s going to be a little higher than others, but generally speaking there is not a lot out there. So the buyers, as they’ve seen everything that’s already there, they are waiting for something new to come on the market. And so as a seller, you come out there, that’s something new. And in fact, I’m showing some properties this afternoon. I’m showing properties tomorrow. The next two days, all day, and that’s usually weekends for agents. That’s when we go out there.
Paul: That’s when you work, right?
Craig: It’s a busy time.
Paul: And evenings too, right?
Craig: Exactly, evenings and weekends is typically when we are out there, but actually today is one new buyer, but then the other one is a buyer that just got an accepted offer on their house. And now they’re a new buyer on the market. They’ve kind of been keeping their eye out there, but now they are actively looking because they’ve got an accepted offer on their house. So even if you’ve been out there a while, you’re a new listing to them because they haven’t been searching. But really the market is the buyers are looking for new listings out there, and as we get into spring in March and into April and May, as a seller, you get more competition because more listings come on the market. So trying to get out there sooner and beating that even though the weather doesn’t feel like it is a good idea for sellers to get out there sooner than later.
Paul: And your website, Craig, redefinedrealty.com is just fantastic because you’ll find the State of Wisconsin and you can search for homes by community, but it also has a link to the free drone videos, and I know Bob’s really into the drones.
Craig: He’s excited about the drone.
Paul: Oh, man, is he into it like a little kid at Christmas. And it is cool. I’m into it too. Seeing the drone and seeing the video, if you’ve never seen it, you may think, “It’s going to be kind of grainy or whatever. It can’t be that good,” you will be shocked with the quality.
Craig: It’s high-definition GoPro cameras and just even in the past few weeks again, in the past few months, you’ve been hearing more and more about drones and…
Paul: Paris, did you hear that story?
Craig: …regulations and writings. The plane.
Paul: The plane with the drones flying…
Craig: And the ones that we use are smaller and just the cameras and things that are…
Paul: You fly over a house and you take pictures. That’s different than flying over at downtown and scaring the crap out of residents thinking there is a terror attack. But I know those drones are not going away.
Craig: They are not going away.
Scott: We’re going to have to figure out with the FAA what the rules are, get those parameters, and then just go from there because they are not going away. You’re just going to see more and more of them. And they are very useful for photography.
Craig: Exactly, and real estate is just a perfect example of being able to get up and see. You’re up 200 to 400 feet, getting a full view if there’s water, or rivers, or lakes around you, or woods. And we’ve seen all that as we get up there and can see that view from up top like never before.
Paul: You’ve got them right on your home page, redefinedrealty.com. Just click on the video and you will see an example of the drone stuff. So Bob will be back next week and I’m sure he’ll talk more about drone technology.
Craig: He won’t stop talking about it.
Paul: And he’s really, really obsessed thinking that’s kind of a neat thing. So let’s get those lines fired up. Right now, we’ve got open lines. We’ve got a home inspector in the studio, Scott LeMarr. What a great chance to talk to Scott about maybe it’s indoor air quality, maybe it’s your furnace, or furnace filter, water heater. Craig, you drained your water heater as Scott has suggested that we do, but how many of us do that, Scott, or does a plumber come over and do it for us? It should be done.
Scott: Either way, it should be done. And Paul and I were talking too particularly if you’re on a well, because the amount of impurity, you are picking up stones, and a higher line content, and what have you. That’s going to down to the tank of your water heater. And if you flush that out on a well, actually I recommend about every six months.
Paul: No kidding. I better get going then.
Scott: But it’s according to what kind of water you have. You talked about your soft water, which is going to help a little bit. Iron filters are going to help a little bit. All of those will help.
Paul: We can do this ourselves, right?
Scott: Absolutely. Pretty basically it’s as simple as… There’s a spigot at the bottom of your water heater. You hook up a hose to it and put it into your floor drain. So be very careful too, because remember this water comes from a water heater.
Paul: It’s hot.
Scott: It’s 120-140 degrees, so be real careful with that but just open that up and let it run for 4 to 5 minutes.
Paul: And it’s going to the floor drain.
Scott: Not 45; 4 or 5. Let’s just call 5 minutes.
Paul: I’m glad you said that, because I thought you said 45.
Scott: No. Let’s call it 5 minutes. Let it run. What happens is that that intake tube where the water is coming from, the pressure tube goes down into the bottom of the water heater and it makes a turn. And when it makes a turn, what it does is it swirls all the stuff up that’s on the bottom of that water heater.
Paul: And that’s what sounds like little ping pong ball or pellets.
Scott: If you’ve got the ping pong balls, you’re a little further along than what you need to be.
Paul: In my old house, I have that.
Scott: Yeah, if you put your ear against your water heater and you hear a popping sound, what happened is there’s enough junk in the bottom of that that’s actually creating kind of a plate and that plate boils. And when the air bubbles come up, then that’s what that’s doing is that the air is coming up between that plate and it’s making all this noise.
Paul: That is something you can do yourself, your water heater. There are so many components mechanically to your house. That’s why we have in the studio Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections. Now also, Chris Mancuso, you’re going to kind of give us some tips and advice on our basement. If we go down and look at the foundation, we’re either going to see a poured concrete wall or block. Very rarely do you see something else. Although older homes might have the fieldstone, right?
Chris: There are some older home that have fieldstone.
Scott: Just did a fieldstone home and a brick one recently, too.
Chris: And if you have brick or stone… There actually are a couple wood-structured foundations. Very few in this neck of the woods but there are a few. If you have, the majority of them are going to be block. That’s majority of what we work on.
Craig: Did you say it was block?
Paul: There’s wood foundations?
Chris: Yes, there’s some wood foundations.
Paul: How long will that last?
Scott: I’ve seen two.
Chris: Well, I haven’t seen many either in all my years of doing this, but there are some. And everyone that I’ve seen has been a complete replacement that I’ve done on them just because the vintage was 30 plus years. But they’re not used up north here.
Paul: Wood gets wet and we know what happens. Wood and water don’t mix well.
Chris: They don’t mix and the sealer products they put on those on the outside from original but that breaks down after a number of years, and then you run into some real problems. But the majority are block foundations and a lot of the newer construction is poured foundation.
Paul: People freak over the smallest of cracks, the hairline cracks. Should we be freaking out over that?
Chris: No. Some cracks are normal. So as your listeners are paying attention, don’t think to yourself, “Oh my, I have this crack downstairs. It’s a big catastrophe.” There are situation where that crack is meaningful, but there are plenty of situations, Paul, where it’s not. Some cracking is normal. It’s just normal. It just happens unless there are some differentiations. And what that means is if the faces don’t line up quite right anymore…
Paul: They’re uneven in other words.
Chris: …then it means that you probably have some movement.
Paul: And then we need to call you.
Chris: Then you need to have somebody professionally evaluate it. Usually what we tell people is, “Try to do a quick little inspection for yourself especially if you’re selling.” Like we talked about earlier, you’re getting ready to sell your house. All of a sudden, you have an offer and you’re looking at buying another house. If your house happens to get red-flagged during a home inspection with Scott, because Scott is going to take a really good look at the basement and if he sees something, then he’s going to refer us over to take a better look at it.
Paul: And could this impact the sale of the house, Craig?
Craig: Definitely and we’re hearing more and more people asking and doing those pre-listing inspections. So as a seller, having Scott or having someone come in and do that inspection before you even list the property so you can head off some of that stuff or at least just have knowledge that those things exist so you’re not blindsided when the buyer does their inspection.
Chris: Yeah, and you lose that momentum and it loses momentum.
Scott: You do. Absolutely. It can make a dead stop right in the middle of the transaction and everybody is going, “What do we do now?”
Paul: It’s the foundation of our home.
Chris: It’s the biggest deal killer.
Scott: That and roofs.
Chris: Yeah, that and roofs. Those are your deals that will…
Paul: Because of the cost, you mean?
Chris: Yeah, cost and people just get afraid. The foundation’s buyers can get intimidated. So that’s why to be proactive…
Scott: They do feel a little more comfortable if they understand if the roof is easily replaced. Whereas all the basement’s going to be repaired but it does boil down to how much.
Chris: Scott’s actually correct. It’s the unknowingness of the buyers or sellers.
Paul: The fear of the unknown.
Chris: The fear of the unknown. And people have a better understanding. Hey, a roof, I get some shingles or a metal roof. It seems pretty straightforward.
Paul: And it’s visible. You can see it from the outside. You’re right. We are a little bit more leery.
Craig: You mentioned that though. With roof and foundations, there’s times that they look bad, and actually once you have somebody come and take a look at them, actually it’s not as bad as you thought. And other times, it looked fine, and you don’t think there’s any problem at all, and someone comes in and looks and says, “Wait a second. There’s some big issues here,” that once you get up and look closely at it, now we’re seeing it for roofs and for foundations.
Chris: Absolutely, and that’s why having a starting point as a home owner to just go take a look, at least it gives you some idea. And then if you look at these things, usually what I tell people is, “Don’t just run down it quickly. When we get off the radio here, take some time, move some items. Where you want to start is you want to start outside.” Just some snow cover now, which makes things a little bit more difficult.
Paul: But not much. We’ve been lucky.
Chris: Yeah, we haven’t had too much.
Paul: Cold but not as much snow as other places.
Chris: Yes, even any snow cover, it makes it difficult to tell on pitch and stuff. But as a home owner, start outside. Take a look at your grading, your gutters, and your downspouts. Make sure they are extended. Try to make sure your gutters are clean.
Paul: Sooner you’re going to see in the next month a lot of melt off on some warm days.
Chris: Yeah, and those are the ones that are…
Paul: And you’re going to here that water trickling through those downspouts.
Chris: And even today is a good day. You look up and I know Scott goes on home inspections. You look up and you see all this ice damming. That leads to foundation problems too that ice damming on top.
Scott: Because that’s going over the gutters.
Chris: It’s going over the gutters. So even on days like today where you’re going to get some sunshine… Well, maybe not today.
Paul: Well, 20 and sunny.
Chris: Yes. When roofs can get a little warmer, look out for ice damming ’cause the areas down below and those basement areas are where you’re going to probably see some issues too.
Paul: Well, after the break, let’s go to the phones. I want to sneak some callers in. Spencer, will line up you questions during the break. The number to call is 799-1130 for the Redefined Realty Show or the Kessler’s Diamond Center toll-free line at 800-838-9476 for questions for home inspector, indoor air quality, any mechanical part of your home that we discussed, maybe things that we didn’t discuss and you have questions. And then it comes to your foundation and your basement. And that’s why Chris Mancuso joins us from Accurate Basement Repair, from Honest Home Inspection, Scott LeMarr, and your host today is Craig Schmitz from Redefined Realty here at News/Talk 1130 WISN. I’m Paul Kronforst. Weather details coming up as well. I mentioned today is high around 20. Right now, we’ve got sunny skies and 9 degrees. We’ll be right back.
[19:42] Man: Welcome back to the Redefined Realty Show. Do you want to be the expert in your neighborhood? Visit redefinedrealty.com 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 email. You’ll be the expert in your neighborhood. Before we get started, just a quick message from our sponsors,
Man: 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 honesthomeinspection.com. Milwaukee Mold Inspector is a division of Honest Home Inspections.
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[20:51] Paul: We continue the Redefined Realty Show, WISN. Craig Schmitz is your host and I’m Paul Kronforst. And we’re on every Saturday for an hour, 9 to 10, redefinedrealty.com with their 3.99% commission, and a lot of other information is on their website including the drone video. As I talked about the drones, I looked at Fox News and they just had a story, Craig – it’s gone now – on drones. That’s pretty much all you’re…
Craig: It’s very much in the news these days.
Paul: Yes, very much in the news and drones can be like the internet in general. There’s good, there’s bad. The good part of drones is clearly the photography, so check out those videos at redefinedrealty.com and they’re just awesome. You will love them.
From Accurate Basement Repair, Chris Mancuso, and from Honest Home Inspections, home inspector Scott LeMarr is here on WISN or Inspector Gadget as we call him, all the little gadgets he has. This is a great opportunity to get advice from the experts on your home. So give us a call, we’ve got lines open right now. And New Berlin and Scott, you’re up first. Good morning.
[21:55] Man: Good morning. Two parts, water softener. One, when it recharges, it is ridiculously loud. Actually we had to change it from recharging at night to afternoon, because when it would recharge, we’d hear it upstairs on the second floor in our bedroom coming through our whirlpool tub. So that was one thing. I don’t know if we have to just replace it or if there’s another option. I don’t know what. And the second thing is that when sometimes we’ll end up with a residue like a filmy residue that’s in the bottom of the drain when the water is draining out. And even when we recharge it, there’s a lot of little small pink pellets, red pellets that are around the drain. And I use the iron out and that’s helped a little but I don’t know if we just gave a higher iron content, brown Milwaukee water. So I’m just wondering if any solutions or possibilities.
Paul: New Berlin, you’re in city water then?
Scott: He’s east. They are in city water there. Well, most of New Berlin’s city water, some of them are on a well, but you’ve stumped me a bit here. I would go back to whoever it is that… Usually there are stickers on your water softener on who’s it is. I tend to lean toward Guthrie & Frey for water softeners and water stuff. Certainly there’s lots of good guys out there. It’s just that we tend to work with them.
Paul: Yeah, we’ve had them on the show before actually.
Scott: Yeah, I think it might be worth giving them a call and I’m not going to say there is something really wrong, because part of your discharge is for that system to purge itself and get rid of some of the old stuff but it probably would be worth having them come out and at least taking a look and see what is going on.
Paul: What about that sound?
Scott: The noise in the whirlpool tub does bother me just a little bit only because you probably rarely use that tub, right?
Scott: What’s happened is that the water could have evaporated out of the trap and you’re open to sewer gas at that point and you’re hearing that. So one of the things I would do is I would put some water in the tub. If you rarely use that tub, a little trick would be to put some corn oil in there. And what the corn oil does is it’s going to separate from the water, it’s going to sit on top of the water, and it’s going to keep that water from evaporating. It’s not going to hurt anything. If you have a bath and it just flushes through, you’d have to do it again. But my thought is that water has evaporated out of that trap and that’s why you can hear that draining. You shouldn’t be able to hear that.
Paul: If we don’t use our tub that much, which apparently is a lot of people, Craig, from what I hear…
Paul: …most people don’t use these…
Chris: He’s a tub guy.
Paul: …whirlpool tubs that they sit there. What about the jets?
Scott: It really doesn’t hurt anything.
Paul: It doesn’t, okay. So it’s not like we have to work those jets every month or whatever.
Scott: No, it’s a pump, and the pieces in the pump are not…
Paul: Am I the only guy that enjoys taking a tub? The other day, it’s so cold out, and in summer, I don’t as much, but I just love taking a whirlpool.
Scott: My son loves a bath all the time. He’s always at the bath.
Chris: You light a couple candles and smoke a cigar.
Paul: I don’t like candles.
Chris: Smoke a cigar and…
Paul: And I don’t smoke a cigar but I do turn on the TV and I watch a movie and I sit in the tub. I take a soak.
Man: All right, this conversation is taking a little bit.
Paul: Scott says he’s out of here. Thanks for calling Scott.
Man: Thanks, guys.
Paul: Thanks for the call to take a weird ugly turn. All right. I’m just saying I use it. And from a real estate perspective, Craig, you talk all the time about this. Tubs aren’t what they were. It used to be, “We have to have one.”
Craig: Right, and I heard you talking the last hour about that with the cabinetry. There’s no doubt about it especially in the master bathroom. We’re getting away from the jetted whirlpool tubs and getting more into the big showers. And you still want a tub in the house somewhere so that second full bath…
Paul: Is that your opinion? At least one?
Craig: Definitely, your family, kids and things, your dogs. So you want to have one somewhere in the house.
Scott: I agree.
Craig: And we’re getting actually away from the jetted tubs and more into the soaking tubs, or the bubble tubs, and some of that stuff because of the jets, and mechanicals, and taking care of those. Sometimes I think there is some of that.
Scott: There is. We were talking about that and these tubs are not being used as much, and what I do is I will fill them up and I will run the jets and make sure everything operates and take a look at the pump, make sure it’s wired right and all that.
Paul: When you’re doing your inspections?
Scott: When I do the inspections, yes. And one of the things I’m seeing is we’ll fire that tub up and all kinds of black yucky stuff comes pouring out of the jets, because nobody is using it.
Craig: We did see that yesterday, did we? I did an inspection with this guy yesterday and that happened and that’s what happens almost every time.
Paul: Really? It’s that common.
Scott: So one of the things you can do is fill that tub up, throw an anti-bacterial in there and run those jets so you’re cleaning out… The hoses are designed so that the water is supposed to drain out of them, but not all of it drains. So if you’ve got and anti-bacterial, a fresh gallon of bleach would work, or something like that. There’s several different brands that you could buy anti-bacterial for a whirlpool tub. You just pour it in there, run the jets, let everything out, and what that does is that stuff stays in the hoses and prevents that…
Paul: That black stuff from coming out.
Scott: That whole black stuff is mold and fungus.
Paul: That’s mold.
Paul: And you certainly don’t want that in your bath tub. That’s the whole point.
Scott: Not really. It’ll kill a nice bath if you’re planning on…
Paul: Now if I use my tub a lot, let’s say once a week, should I still be doing this?
Scott: You’re probably not going to see that as much because the water is not lying in there long enough to really get stagnant.
Paul: Okay, I got it. That was a good question, Scott, thank you. 799-1130 is our telephone number or call toll-free in the Kessler’s Diamond Center line 800-838-WISN. When we talk about indoor air quality, Scott, we’ve got a couple of websites we’ll give you. His main site is honesthomeinspections.com but also remember milwaukeemoldinspector.com and milwaukeeradontesting.com. Also in studio with us is Chris Mancuso, and your company, Chris, is accuratebasementrepair.com. You do everything from egress windows to wall rebuilds, and basement waterproofing, drain tile testing.
Chris: Absolutely, we do anything that has to do with your foundation. Again we don’t do any remodeling stuff, just foundation repair. But anything from drain tile, wall rebuilding, egress windows. And the egress windows parts have been taking off a lot more lately it seems.
Paul: Because they want that lower bedroom?
Chris: They want the lower bedroom or it converts into usable space. If you put an egress window, it will convert into usable space.
Paul: Is that with a backhoe typically? You bring in a machine, right?
Chris: We do a backhoe on a lot of them, but some of them is hand-digging.
Paul: Well, that’s got to be a fun job.
Chris: Yes, that’s the funnest one that we have is the hand digging. For those of you who would like to join us…
Paul: Starting at the bottom.
Chris: Keep in mind, as home owners, if you’re considering an egress window, you really have to have some space to do it. Let’s say you’re going to put in a 4-foot window. You really need to have outside enough room like 8 feet…
Paul: On each side.
Chris: So you need about 2 to 3 feet on either side of the window.
Paul: Because of the grade, right?
Chris: The hole is much larger than the actual hole that the window goes in, because I have to stone fill on either side of it. So sometimes you might be that close to the lat line or you might have a huge retaining wall or something next to it or your air-conditioning unit. Usually we can make some adjustments into the actual location.
Paul: But your company will put in the egress window for us, right?
Paul: Could I do, if I’ve got enough room and space, patio doors and a little walkout, or would that take…?
Chris: Actually you can if you have the… You can. We’ve only done a couple like that because we’re taking out truckloads and truckloads of dirt.
Paul: That’s a big mess.
Chris: But there are some areas that we have converted. Usually the people, if you’re listening, you’d think, “Wow, it would be great to have a patio door in my basement,” you want to be on some sort of incline.
Paul: A little bit of a grade.
Chris: You want to be up on a little bit of a hill so I don’t have to dig out quite as much. Just for aesthetic purposes too, because you don’t want to be walking down into a hole. You want to walk out.
Paul: Any thoughts on that, Scott, from…?
Scott: Well, we actually went through that and what we were going to do was we were going to put on an addition, which we did put the addition on and we were going to dig all that out so that we’d end up with our patio door in there. And we’ve discovered that we would be in a flood plain at that point and our home insurance was going to quadruple, so we opted against that.
Chris: And there are some other nuances like Scott had mentioned.
Scott: So you have to watch for things like that as well.
Craig: And your exposure from the footing, because it has to be certain…
Paul: What about water too – water coming in through that window or door?
Scott: I keep that grade so that it drifts away from the house. We had a situation, I don’t remember if that was one of the big rains, 2007 or something like that, where we sandbagging my neighbor’s patio door to his basement inside his house because the water was…
Chris: …a lake?
Scott: Well, it was. It was on the channel but it was pretty scary to watch that water come up. We were sandbagging to try and keep the water out of his nice, freshly finished basement.
Paul: And what does every good remodeler tell you before you remodel your basement? Make sure you don’t have any water.
Scott: Be sure it’s dry, absolutely
Chris: We do do quite a bit of inspection type of work for remodelers for lower levels.
Paul: Just to make sure before you spend all that money down there.
Chris: The really good ones, they’ll tell you as a home owner to have your basement evaluated before the big remodel is done. The really good remodelers will tell you that, because the last thing they want to do is have you spend $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 on a remodel on your basement and then find out that you have a leak into the corners.
Paul: It’s just a shame.
Scott: And then you have the mold inspector.
Chris: And then you have the mold inspector.
Paul: One problem leads to another, right?
Scott: Yes, it does. Yes, it does.
Paul: Up from West Bend, next up on the Redefined Realty Show, Gary. Gary, good morning. You’re on WISN.
[31:48] Gary: Hi there. I kind of hit the trifecta that I’ve worked with. All three,, not individually but with their companies. And I just thought I’d like to offer the listeners my perspective on all three of them. I had Craig do pictures for several of my MLS listings that we do for investor and resell homes. The pictures that he’s taken, unbelievable how a small condo, he can make look like a large house, and I just had to offer that to the listeners. Chris with Accurate, we just happened to have them in last week Wednesday and did our home for foundation repair. Fellas were in at 8. They were out by 10:30. They put in 22 posts, laid down carpets from the time they moved into the house all the way to the project and out, took the carpets out, and dust remediation was hauled down into that basement and everything was spick and span from start to finish. In and out really quick. We really appreciated their company.
Chris: Thank you, Gary.
Paul: That’s great to hear. And, Scott LeMarr. Any words for Scott?
Gary: I just happened to have a question that I called him directly on mold remediation. The guy gave me so much information. My head was spinning.
Scott: That tends to happen.
Paul: Scott’s pretty thorough.
Gary: There was nothing in for him, but he took the time with me and I think that’s outstanding what you’re dealing with the business.
Paul: Wow. How cool for you to call, Gary. Just so people know we didn’t set this up. We had no idea Gary was calling. It just says that you worked with all three guys.
Gary: Well, thanks a lot, guys.
Chris: Thank you.
Scott: Thank you.
Gary: And don’t wait as long as I did to call people. Sometimes you listen to commercials and you just don’t jump on it. You hear it but once I did, I was really glad. So I’ve been happy with the performance.
Paul: Thank you, Gary.
Chris: Excellent, thank you.
Paul: Great call. After the break, we’ll talk about this ’cause what he just said at the end.
Craig: Waiting too long…
Paul: Yes, is what?
Craig: …can be a costly mistake.
Paul: You’ve got horror stories about that, Chris, where people might notice something and, “Eh.” What’s our nature? Procrastinate. Maybe someday we’ll get to it but I’ve got other expenses in my life and I can’t get to it. Well, it could blow up on you one day and you’re spending a lot more money than you would have initially.
Chris: Yes, get the eval. It’s at least worth an eval if anything else. Even if you don’t have the money to spend right away, it’s at least worth the eval so you can plan on something.
Paul: I also want to talk about that pre-inspection, getting a home inspection for the seller, and we’ll do that after the break. We’ll get Scott’s advice and talk to Craig a little bit from a real estate perspective. The Redefined Realty Show will continue on News/Talk 1130 WISN and a great chance to get advice from the experts. Home inspector here, we’ve got a foundation expert with Chris Mancuso, Accurate Basement Repair, and of course Honest Home Inspections. Join us on WISN. The Redefined Realty Show will be right back.
[35:15] Man: Welcome back to the Redefined Realty Show. We have 15 experienced full-time agents waiting to meet you. Just click the green “listen now” button at redefinedrealty.com or call our office for an appointment at 262-732-5800. It’s a hot market like this that a 3.99% closing commission makes a ton of sense. Stay tuned. The guys are coming back on right now.
[35:51] Paul: All right, there is Inspector Gadget. We’ve got it. We’re back on WISN. Scott LeMarr has all these little gadgets. When you do a home inspection, there’s all kinds of things that are done. We’re taking calls by the way. So if you do have a question, 10 minutes left in the Redefined Realty Show to call in. Chris Mancuso is here from Accurate Basement Repair, and Scott LeMarr. Right before the break, I mentioned getting that pre-inspection done or an inspection done beforehand. It used to be you make an offer on a house, you get an inspector. Are we seeing more sellers do this now?
Scott: We’re seeing a bit of a trend but the percentage is still very low. We’re still probably 90% buyer. And the realtors and all of us… I was listening to Craig talking yesterday. These people, they’re selling their house. They’ve sold it. They’ve had their home inspection. Now everybody’s sitting on pins and needles waiting for this report to come out, because we don’t know what is going to be in it. If you do that ahead of time, you’re all set and done. You know what’s going on. We were talking about it earlier, Honest Home Inspections is one of the most thorough home inspections in the industry. I hear that all the time.
Craig: I’ll vouch for that. I was there five hours yesterday.
Chris: That was a long one no doubt.
Paul: So you go through every square inch of the house?
Scott: Absolutely. But even the guy that you hire, we’re going to say there are some inspectors that are not that great, they are going to catch the big stuff. If there’s a roof issue, although I was probably one of the few people that went on the roof yesterday, climbed out the window to do it because there wasn’t any place to put the ladder. But even the guy that’s not so hot is still going to catch, what we call, show stoppers. The foundation is bad. The roof is bad.
Paul: It could be a deal killer for the real estate…
Paul: …then from that perspective.
Scott: You go up in the attic. There’s mold in the attic. Those are really the big show stoppers.
Paul: What about from your perspective, Craig? What does that pre-inspection do if a seller gets it done?
Craig: That’s it. The big thing is catching those major things and you may choose to address those and get them taken care of so they don’t become an issue or at least you know about them that, “Okay, now we know what that’s going to become. There is going to be an issue,” rather than waiting for the buyer to find it and now you get kind of blindsided by that. But even in finding the small things, I think, is beneficial as well because then you can take care of those things. If there’s a lot of little small things that happen with the buyer’s inspection, then all of a sudden that might lead to them asking for repairs or asking for money off the house. If those things are taken care of and there’s not all these little things, then the inspection might be like, say, “You know what? Now we’re fine. We’ll just keep moving forward the transaction.”
Scott: If there’s one reverse polarity outlet, the buyers are going to say, “We want a licensed electrician in here.” And maybe the guy is very handy and he could take that apart and put it back together and it could all be right, but now that buyer wants a licensed electrician. There’s $100 right there.
Paul: Right, and it’s just one little thing though.
Craig: And that’s exactly it is that you control the cost then as the seller. If you have that pre-inspection done, you can get those items taken care of and it’s on who you choose to use and how you choose to get it fixed versus the buyer dictating and saying, “Okay, this is how we want it done. We want a licensed this and here is what we want to have fixed and how we want it fixed,” and it can became a lot more expensive that way.
Scott: And with Honest Home Inspections, we also have, what we call, our trusted resource list, because everybody has got the question when we’re done, “Who does this?” We’ve got a whole list of people. Everybody has already been pre-screened. I know all of them for the most part personally. They’ve either done work at the house where I’ve seen their work. So I think that’s an important help for us to do the inspection, and then when we are done, then we can give you, “Okay, you’re going to need a plumber. You’re going to need an electrician. You’re going to need this oddball guy that’s got to work on something or Chris from Accurate basement.”
Paul: Well, we’ve talked about the little things. A foundation, Chris, from your perspective, that’s a bigger thing.
Chris: It can be a bigger thing. We’ve talked about this before. They may not necessarily make your deal, but they can most certainly break your deal. So to be proactive, to look at some of this things, and what I tell people whether you are buying, selling, or whether you are keeping your home, take a good look at your whole home at least once a year. Take the time. Take a Sunday afternoon and really take a good look at your home overall. And if you’re looking at your basement, it’s not that difficult to do an overall view of it. And if you do see some things that are of concern, then you call us up, you make an appointment, we come on out and take a look. The best thing to do is get a cup of coffee, turn on all the lights in your basement, get a good flashlight, go on down, and just start moving some stuff around and really start looking at the things from top to bottom.
Paul: Tell me what’s a red flag. Dark spots, water?
Chris: Water obviously is a red flag.
Paul: Any water would be a red flag.
Chris: Any water is a red flag coming in unless it’s really a fieldstone house or something. But if you have water coming in, you really shouldn’t. There’s ways to fix that.
Paul: What about that damp look, that dark, damp corner?
Chris: The dark, damp corner may not be a problem. That might just be an issue where you don’t have enough air circulation in the house.
Paul: So pull the stuff. We see a lot of things on pallets are raised or away from. Is that a good idea if you’re storing things?
Chris: It is a good idea.
Scott: Until you’re trying to sell your house. It’s a red flag for me. If everything is up on pallets, I’m going to say…
Chris: “Why is everything on pallets and plastic?”
Craig: Corners tend to be downspouts to.
Scott: Downspout, downspout extension, negative grade, when we see a wet corner, that’s almost always what that is.
Paul: But Chris is right. If you go down there, even if it’s once a year, turn on all the lights and just kind of look for those things, maybe you can catch some things before they become big.
Chris: Take a flashlight and really take a look at the wall from top to bottom as you’re looking at it. Take a look from top to bottom. Take a look at every joint. If you see a crack and it looks pretty minor, come back maybe in two months, take another look at it. If it looks like it’s moving, then you probably need to give me a call.
Paul: It’s changed in other words.
Chris: Yeah, you see some changes in it. And again as a home owner, this is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make and the basement foundation is a big, big part of that.
Paul: We’ll be right back and we’ll give our websites and phone numbers after this break on WISN.
[42:12] Man: 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 started, just a quick message from our sponsors.
Woman: Landmark Credit Union is one of Wisconsin’s leading mortgage lenders with low rates and no closing costs for first-time home buyers. Visit landmarkcu.com or call 262-796-4500. Landmark Credit Union, you’re worth more here.
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.
John: Tired of shoveling, blowing snow, and salting? Why not consider a low maintenance lifestyle in one of our ranch-style condominium neighborhood. Hi, John Wahlen of Cornerstone Development here. We have new condominium homes available in Mukwonago, Sussex and Oconomowoc, and we’re open every day of the week, Monday through Friday, 10 to 5 and Saturday and Sunday 12 to 5. Stop in our clubhouse and our cordial sales team will happily give you a tour of our model homes. For directions, please go to cornerstonedevelopement.com and put away that shovel. We look forward to seeing you at The Glen of Mukwonago, The Glen at Seven Stones, or The Glen of Oconomowoc soon.
[44:00] Paul: We are back on WISN. All right, well, we are out of time. So what we’re going to do is thank Chris Mancuso. I should mention you and your wife are expecting a baby any minute now, so you’ve been kind sitting…
Chris: It could be any minute. It’s definitely any minute or any day now.
Paul: Congratulations in advance on that. And Accurate Basement Repair is at 414-744-6900, accuratebasementrepair.com as well. Thank you for your time today, Chris.
Chris: Thank you, Paul. Thank you, everybody.
Paul: We had a great show and Scott is here, Scott LeMarr. You’ve got an offer that you want to make at the end of the show.
Scott: We do. Honest Home Inspections is offering now a 90-day warranty with recall check. Recall check is an appliance recall check that you can add to your inspection. We are going to offer a 90-day warranty with that. There’s also a potential for sewer guard, which is going to protect your sewer line going from the house to the street. So we’ve got some extra stuff going on. It’s just things that you have to ask for ’cause it’s right on the show right now. It’s not on the website yet, but certainly coming. And we also offer a full mold inspection with every full home inspection.
Paul: Let’s give out you out your phone number quick, Scott
Scott: 262-424-5587, honesthomenspections.com
Paul: And Craig Schmitz is here, redefinedrealty.com
Craig: All right, give us a call anytime 262-732-5800.
Paul: We’ll see you next week, Craig. Have a great week, everybody. Stay tuned for The Retirement Clinic and Jeff Kowal up next on WISN.
In Southeast Wisconsin, we have the only Nationally Certified Structural Repair Specialist on staff and two Nationally Certified Waterproofing Specialists on staff.
Accurate Basement Repair is a member of the NAWSRC (National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors), NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), the Basement Health Association, the BBB (Better Business Bureau), WAHI (Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors), BIASEW (Building Inspectors Association of South Eastern Wisconsin) and Angie’s List.
We are proud to say that we have an A+ rating with the BBB and we won two Super Service Awards from Angie’s List in 2010 – one for foundation repair and the other for basement waterproofing. Our professional and knowledgeable staff will educate you on various self-help procedures to save money on your foundation and waterproofing needs. We are NOT a franchise. Our dedicated team works year round! We use high quality and well maintained equipment which will provide the lowest impact to your landscaping. Our team of trustworthy and competent staff attends regular training, seminars and/or trade shows, so they are able stay up-to-date on everything that is happening in the foundation restoration and waterproofing industry. We provide outstanding customer service throughout the entire repair process – from estimate to completion. And last, but not least… Accurate Basement Repair is the #1 referred foundation repair company by professional engineers, basement consultants, realtors, municipal building inspectors, home inspectors, lenders, property management companies and most importantly, our past customers.