How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost (and How Much Can It Save You)?


Buying a home is a huge investment—and you can’t exactly read Amazon reviews to get a sense of any problems that might crop up after you’ve plunked down your money. That’s why it’s smart to get a home inspection before you close the deal. But since home inspections aren’t free and that cash comes out of your pocket, you might be wondering: How much does a home inspection cost?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a typical home inspection costs $300 to $500. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the agony these inspections can save you down the road. But the exact price will depend on the size of your home, where you live, and what you want inspected, says Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).

What home inspectors look for

A professional home inspector, certified by the NAHI, is trained to look at over 1,600 features of your home that can fall into disrepair (who knew there were so many?).

Inspectors mainly look at the following:

  • Grounds for possible water problems
  • Structure for foundation, window, or door problems
  • Exterior for rot, decay, and excavation problems
  • Roof for shingle, flashing, and fascia problems
  • Interior for framing, insulation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical issues
  • Kitchen for electrical code compliance, operating cabinets, and plumbing problems


An inspection of a typical house takes two or three hours; larger homes with two or three HVAC systems will take longer, and cost more as a result.

“There’s a lot more to look at in bigger homes,” McGavic says. “The house may have two or more heating systems, several water heaters, and more bathrooms.”

What should not make a price difference is the “thoroughness” of the inspection, the final written report, and the photos the inspector delivers to his client. These should be standard features of any home inspection—not extras.

“If someone says you’re going to get a more thorough inspection, that’s just hype,” McGavic says. “And if you don’t have a written report, you don’t have a home inspection.”

Do you need special home inspections?

“Specialty” inspections go beyond the typical scope of a home inspection and evaluate anything from radon to well water. These extra inspections can inflate the price anywhere from $25 to $200, depending on whether the inspection requires special equipment or lab testing.

Although everyone should spring for a termite inspection (if it’s not included in the standard inspection), other specialty inspections depend on where you live and any specific concerns you have about your home. Californians, for instance, often ask inspectors to look at a home’s earthquake strappings, while people buying in the Midwest’s Tornado Alley might spring for safe-room inspections to protect themselves against the next twister.

How do you know which specialty inspections you need? Ask your real estate agent, of course.

“Real estate agents know what are the most common inspections performed in your particular county,” McGavic says.

How to make the most of a home inspection

A home inspection is your authoritative proof of property problems. Armed with that knowledge, you can insist that the seller fix certain issues before closing, renegotiate the price to reflect future repairs, or walk away without losing your earnest money. In other words, although a home inspection costs money, it can potentially save you far more, perhaps even tens of thousands, in return.


5 Tips To Sell Your Home During The Holidays

Most people struggle to find balance in their daily lives – then throw in having your home on the market during the holidays, and you may feel like you’ve entered the Danger Zone. But while you might be ready to throw in the towel, I am here to encourage you to keep your home on the market (or list it) during the holiday season.

According to the recent National Association of Realtors annual conference in New Orleans, Google searches and the resulting leads over the holidays are more efficient than any other time of the year. And more real estate searches happen on Google in the month of January than any other month of the year! Demand for house hunting searches increases on average 39% from December to January. Thank you to my friend, Valerie Garcia, for summarizing some of her key takeaways from the conference!

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The bottom line for these stats is home buyers that are searching now are more serious than other time of the year. And with the lower inventory levels over the late Fall and Winter months, your home can really stand out.

I don’t know about you, but my home doesn’t look any better than it does at the holidays. At least once a week I will stand on the street and look at my own house because I love the way it glows. Something about the twinkling lights and extra decorations leads to a more emotional response when people walk into your home. People buy emotionally, and the holidays are a great time of year to have potential buyers feel that bond to your home.

So how can you list your home and maintain your sanity during the holiday season? Here are some quick tips:

  1. Remember to set boundaries. Make sure to communicate with your agentconsistently and let her know of dates and times that will be challenging for showings.
  2. Give yourself grace. You can’t do it all, but you can do your best. Keep in mind that your agent is here to help you.
  3. Communication is key. You still get to have a life while your home is being marketed. Make sure to talk with your agent and let him know of any concerns.
  4. Add a dash of spice. My home not only looks good covered in glittery decorations, but it smells great at the holidays too. Even when the candles aren’t lit, they still fill your home with warmth.
  5. Santa isn’t the only one that likes cookies. If your holiday calendar looks like mine, there is at least one cookie exchange in your near future. Take advantage and leave some out for the potential buyers. It’ll give them a reason to stay a little longer, and you won’t have to worry about what to do with all of the extra goodies.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for selling your home. With the advantages of more motivated buyers, lower inventory, and the added emotional appeal, you might just find yourself having some very happy holidays!

21 Insanely Easy Fall Crafts


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Shimmer Votives

Let your lighting set the mood for any fall get-together with this easy craft idea. Start by spraying a light mist of water into a glass holder. Working inside the glass only, spray a light layer of metallic gold paintover the water beads, leaving theglass slightly translucent. Let dry, then add a layer of gold glitter spray to finish.

Top Christmas Table Setting: Snowman Table Setting

Welcome your guests to the dinner table with an adorable snowman made from plates and silverware. Use a dinner plate as the snowman’s body and a dessert plate as his head. A fork and spoon easily transform into arms; a knifeand square napkin combine to form his top hat. Let a differently patterned napkin peek out from under the plates to serve as a scarf. A carrot and two gumdrops bring his face to life.

Best EVER Christmas Decorations

Top Christmas Outdoor Decoration: Merry and Bright Sign

Spread cheer in your neck of the woods with a festive holiday message. To make the Christmas sign, paint a piece of plywood with a mixture of plaster of Paris, water, and red paint. We went with “Get Merry and Bright,” but you can add your favorite holiday sentiment using white chalk. Coat the sign in clear sealer to make it last year after year.

These are from my table and my decorations that I use and have you can make this display too .

Top Christmas Centerpiece: Lanterns and Greenery

Pull together a top-notch Christmas table display with our easy decoration. Simply place white pillar candles in clear glasslanterns with metal frames. Add an evergreen garland and pinecones to finish. Just 4 items needs.

Quick and Easy Dinner Kit

For the friend who’s got a busy weeknight schedule, give the gift of a worry-free dinner. Fill one jar with pasta and one with pesto or a favorite sauce. Embellish jar lids with festive ribbon. Add white yarn to colander holes for snowflake look. Finish with printable tag and a ribbon bow.

Free Dog Stencils

    Let your friends and neighbors know which dog breed is best by carving a Halloween pumpkin that looks like your favorite canine.

20 Easy Decorating Ideas to Make Over a Room in a Day

A little wallpaper, paint, and or colorful accents could make such a big difference in your home.

5 Affordable Craftsman-Style Details to Warm Up Your Brand New Home

Curb Appeal foundation plantings

From stone fireplace surrounds to built-ins, craftsman-style details bring character to a builder-basic home.

The American craftsman architectural style originated (by and large) in sunny California at the turn of the 20th century. It is a distinctive American style that incorporates natural materials and clean lines.

While the exterior of craftsman homes offer details upon details — like columns, exposed beams, and stone work — the interior maintains a clean and simple vibe with hand-hewn elements and a down-to-earth feel.

Adding craftsman-style interior elements is a great way to add warmth to a home, especially new construction. Here are five budget-friendly ways to do it.

Stone accents

Craftsman style is very no-nonsense, so stone is a natural fit in this aesthetic. Stone accents throughout the house add a warm touch, especially on a fireplace surround or as an accent wall.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Stone’s natural beauty is perfect for the fireplace. Add a large wood mantel and decorate with earthy colors to make the fireplace surround a truly craftsman-style masterpiece.

To use stone in an accent wall or backsplash, make sure you choose a color that lends itself to the surrounding areas of the home. Favorite types of stone include slate, honed granite, and soapstone, especially in the kitchen, where it can truly shine.

Earthy tones

The craftsman palette pulls straight from nature. This aesthetic puts a focus on simplicity, but not a lack of color.

For this style of home, think mossy green, rusty brown, and clean white. Accent with natural finishes and tones like wood and stone, and make sure to use the colors in different decorative elements, like tiling, flooring, wall covering, and trim.

Built-in shelving

Clean lines and simple silhouettes are key to accomplishing craftsman style, and built-in shelving is a go-to way of creating this particular look.

Stay away from ornate or overly detailed structure, and opt for a clean and classic shelving unit.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Ample storage arranged in a polished way with built-in shelving perfectly reflects the unique and straight-forward craftsman aesthetic. Inside the built-ins, keep decor simple and neat so the sleek shelving can be the focal point of the space.

Interior columns

Perhaps the most distinctive detail of craftsman style is interior columns, particularly those that are squared off or tapered. This recognizable look can be found on the exterior as well, as it helps support the home in a beautifully simple way.

If your home comes equipped with columns, celebrate them! Keep the decor around them simple, and let the columns do the talking. They are best shown in earthy tones, or a simple, bright white.

Simple lighting

Contributing to the uncomplicated aesthetic of craftsman style, statement lighting and task lighting are unfussy and simple. Composed mostly of glass, iron, and bronze, the lighting pays homage to the natural materials used in this classic turn-of-the-century style.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

To honor this simplicity, look for straightforward silhouettes that add just a touch of style to a space.

See craftsman home design inspiration


Get your punch on and dream desserts enjoy trying them.

Halloween Punch

Make this Halloween punch recipe extra spooktacular with the addition of dry ice. It will give the orange punch a cool smoke effect

Halloween Punch

Halloween Punch


  1. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Place scoops of sherbet on baking pan. Freeze until ready to serve.
  2. In a large punch bowl combine pineapple-orange juice concentrate, ginger ale, and club soda. Add scoops of sherbet and orange slices. If desired, add a few small pieces of dry ice to create a smoke effect.

Tailgate Apple Crisp in a Foil Pack

Everything you love about a classic apple crisp, but on the grill! These individual foil packs filled with tender apples and a sweet oat crumble are a cinch to make and perfect for tailgating for the big game.

Perfectly-Made Grilled Apple Crisp

When I think of the perfect tailgating menu, I think of meaty chili, juicy burgers, chicken slathered in barbecue sauce, and cold, cold beer. But if you’re like me, after all that hearty, finger-licking food, I crave a bite of something sweet — like this grilled apple crisp made in an individual foil pack. The apples are warm and tender, the brown sugar oat topping is sweet and crunchy and, when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the flavor is pure heaven.

Wickedly Fun Halloween Cupcakes

Whip up a cupcake creation that is sure to dazzle your Halloween party guests by decorating store-bought or homemade cupcakes. Our Halloween cupcake monsters, black cats, witches, and ghosts are all magic to make and decorate!

Baby Owl Cupcakes

Owls are cute, but baby owls are a hoot! When it comes to the Halloween dessert buffet, these adorable owl desserts take the cake.

To make these Halloween cupcakes, follow these cupcake decorating steps:

1. Spread head and body of owl with chocolate frosting, leaving a wedge-shape area for the stomach. Frost the stomach area with yellow frosting.

2. Insert sliced almonds into yellow frosting for feathers. Place chocolate chips on top of head for ear feathers.

3. Make eyes by adding two white candy coating disks topped with two mini brown candy-coated chocolate pieces stuck on with yellow frosting.

4. Use orange mini candy-coated chocolate pieces to make a beak and claws.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Haunted House at Home

How to create the ultimate haunted house experience at home.


with doorbells a-ringing and children a-carroling “Trick or Treat”, the neighborhood comes alive on Halloween; and home is at the center of it all.

For many, Halloween is the most fun time of the year; the last hurrah before winter comes and sends most of the country indoors until spring.  While some are satisfied to celebrate by just setting a candy bowl outside of their front door with the “Take One Please” note posted to its side, you may be wanting to provide your family and friends with more.  And what oozes the Halloween spirit more than turning your home into a haunted house for the party of the year!

You want to make this year the Halloween people are talking about for years to come.  Here are some tips and tricks to turn your house into a haunted one Michael Myers would be proud to call home.

Go Big or Go Home

The first thing to plan out once you decide to make the ultimate haunted house is establish the boundaries for your fright fest.  Do you want a completely immersive experience taking place in every room from backyard (as long as it’s not too chilly) to attic?  Or is limiting your guests to the basement or garage going to allow for the most fun?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Daveynin

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Daveynin

Even the bathroom isn’t safe from Halloween! Photo courtesy of Flickr user Daveynin

You will also want to take ages of those who will be attending into consideration when planning out the activities.  Are you going for terrifying? silly? or both?  If this is a silly and fun “haunted” house for young children, maybe recreating the prom scene fromCarrie isn’t the best idea.

Set the Mood

Halloween is all about the mood.  It is that feeling crawling up your spine when you hear the door creak while you are curled up on the couch with the blanket up to your eyes watching Scream.

Lighting: It worked for Wes Craven, so making sure the lighting works to perfection will work for you too.  Black lights are a quick and easy way to set the mood for the entire night.  Strobe lights are another great way to get the blood pumping.  Cover your furniture with sheets to make the lighting work even better and give more of an “abandoned” feel to your house.

Music: This is going to be the soundtrack to your night.  There are also plenty of classics and modern day tracks (“The Monster Mash” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” are pretty much required) to choose from, so make sure your playlist satisfies everyone attending.

Fog:  Who knew a fog machine (or dry ice) could make all the difference in the world?  Your guests will be so impressed with your attention to detail they won’t care if they are scared out of their minds!

You can also start your guests off with a frightening thrill by the way you set up the walk to your front door! 


Must Have Decorations


Now that the mood is set and your guests SOMEHOW survived the walk to the entrance of your haunted house, you want the inside to be just as death-defying.

Wall Decorations: A couple of packs of fake spider webs to cover your furniture and fixtures is a great start.  But there are also scene setters and huge Halloween themed wallpaper you can purchase that will transform any door or wall in your home.

Hanging Decorations: Use fishing wire to hang fake bats and spiders along your ceiling.  You can hang them at different levels also to give a feel that the scariness is all around you!



Its All About the Details:  This is where your creative juices will be put to the test.  Every Halloween themed party needs a bowl of eyeballs (peeled grapes) and dish of brains (cooked spaghetti), but besides that, how creative are you willing to get?  Is each room going to be based on a different scene from your favorite horror flicks?  Is there going to be an operating room from the hospital of your nightmares filled with guts and brains? Or a witches lair with smoky cauldron, broomsticks and black cats? Here is where you can put your own spin on the haunted house!

Ask Your Minions For Help

Have a few friends willing to go all out with you or have the budget to hire some actors?  Strategically place them around corners dressed in their most frightening costumes (mummies and witches are the favorites) to scare all of your guests!

While a haunted house is a fun way to get everyone together, Halloween doesn’t have to be all scary. Plan other activities like a costume contest, pumpkin carving competition or send your guests home with one of these delicious dessert ideas!  But most importantly enjoy the holiday with family and friends!


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Moving? Pack Up Your Garage in 5 Easy Steps


While the garage is often the last room packed in a home, there are many reasons to make it your first.

When it comes to packing up your home for a move, the garage is often the last room packed. Let’s face it, we put it off due to the sheer number of things piled up and the items in the garage are the most awkward things to pack. Garages are full of tools, landscaping equipment and things you don’t want to look at. Often, our garages have become the dumping ground of junk we don’t want in the house. But…there are so many advantages to making the garage the first room packed. With a little planning, packing up your garage will ease your mind and possibly fill your wallet! So, how do you tackle packing a garage?

#1 Sort & Have a Garage Sale

Moving is the time when the garage finally gets cleaned out. Hurray! It doesn’t make much sense to move belongings you really have no intention of ever using at the new place. Now is the time to get rid of what you  really don’t need: the stroller for your now 10 year-old; the growing collection of sport teams t-shirts; tools never used; etc. But, don’t just toss them out. Sell them or donate them. If you have the time, a garage sale is a great way to de-clutter and get some extra cash in your pocket.

First, sort items by creating two sections in your garage: one section for the things you are taking with you and one for the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. Then price and tag the unwanted items for your garage sale. The items that don’t sell can be donated. Donate clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy. You can even donate your unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Getting rid of items will cut down on your moving expenses and keep your new garage space nice and a great place to get the rest of your house organized!

#2 Get the Right Supplies

Get the right stuff for your stuff: the right boxes and supplies paired with the right packing methods are crucial in the success of your entire move. In the garage, most items are heavy and oddly shaped. Be sure to have the following on hand:

  • Boxes: Sturdy, recyclable cardboard boxes (various sizes)
  • Eco-bubble wrap: Use Biodegradable wrap to protect items
  • Packing Tape: Every box needs to be taped, top and bottom, with 2 – 2 1/2 inch gummed or masking tape to give it additional strength and prevent opening, so you’ll need approximately one roll of tape for every 15 to 20 boxes. Run multiple strips of tape along the bottom of the box in both directions to make sure the box stays secure.
  • Packing Paper: While ordinary newspaper works fine for some purposes, be aware that the paper’s print will run giving you an extra cleaning task at your new home.
  • Blankets: Your mover can provide you with moving blankets for large items.

TIP: Before you start placing your garage belongings into the moving boxes make sure you have secured the boxes bottoms with several layers of packing tape for added protection. Correctly packed boxes paired with the correct moving supplies keep your items safe during storage and transport.

#3 What Not to Pack

Most garages have hazardous materials that can’t be moved due to safety reasons. Common sense and the law forbids moving companies from moving flammable items such as aerosol cans, paints, gasoline, paint and paint thinners, charcoal, propane tanks, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc. Be sure to properly dispose of these items before your move.

#4 How to Pack Garage Items

Leave smaller hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, etc. in your toolbox and close securely.

Wrap any items with sharp blades with a few layers of eco-bubble.

Bundle large garden tools such shovels and rakes together with tape or rope and wrap them with a large moving blanket.

If possible, pack power tools in their original container. Remove any detachable parts a tool may have, including the batteries, and pack them in the same box.

Gas operated machinery such as lawn mowers and chain saws must be emptied of their fuel before they are moved.

Stack outdoor chairs and disassemble other outdoor furniture when possible. Remove cushions and pack them in boxes.

Wrap fragile flowerpots in eco-bubble. However, keep in mind moving companies cannot move plants across state lines. And your plants won’t survive in  storage.

Clean, defrost and dry: refrigerators and freezers. Wrap them with moving blankets for protection.

Dissemble bikes as much as you can before the movers get there, remove the handlebars and wheels. If you can, it is best to go to a local bike store and look for an original bike box and use it to pack the bike.

If a grill is equipped with a propane tank it cannot be moved even if it is empty. And, you cannot move charcoal either. Best to give them away to neighbors. Remove the entire propane tank and the charcoal before you move just the grill.


Remember that memory card game? It’s hard to find those two matching elephants in rows and rows of cards. Label each box with what contents are on the inside and write the location where this box is going: “Habitat for Humanity Restore” or “GARAGE” and  remember to write “FRAGILE” when needed.

While the garage is often the last room packed in a home, make it your first. It takes a lot of time; from sorting, dealing with odd shaped  tricky items to packing and donating. So start early and ask for help!  You can also use that empty garage space for moving items out of each room and sorting. Repeat the above steps for each room. Wishing you a stress free move!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal Releases 3rd Quarter 2016 Pacific Northwest Market Report

Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal, a leading Pacific Northwest real estate market brokerage, releases its third quarter market report providing a variety of statistics for the sale of homes in neighborhoods and counties throughout the Puget Sound region, and SW Washington and Oregon, as well as for segments including luxury and condos. The third quarter report reflects activity between July 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016. Observations by principal managing brokers working in each major market are also included.

Bain 2016 Q3 Report Seal 2016 Q2 Report