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HouseMaster of Anchorage Stresses Buyer Education as Home Sales Rise

Local Business Highlights Red Flags for First-Time Home Buyers

Anchorage, AK (Grassroots Newswire) September 2, 2009 - HouseMaster of
Anchorage, part of the franchise company that is the first and one of the
largest home inspection franchisors in North America, stresses the need
for buyer education as U.S. home sales rise by the largest amount in ten
years. Low prices coupled with the first-time homebuyers $8,000 credit has
encouraged many aspiring home owners to enter the market, providing a
welcomed surge in the marketplace. With homes sales on the rise for the
fourth month in a row, HouseMaster of Anchorage is pleased to offer
first-time buyers some guidance on identifying "red flag" issues that
might be signs of significant problems with a home.

"We know that purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments that
most people will make in their lifetime. We also know how increasingly
stressful the process is becoming with looming deadlines and uncertainty
with home values," said Karen Crawford of HouseMaster of Anchorage. "For
over 30 years we have been providing buyers with the tools and knowledge
they need to ensure that they make the best decision and investment
possible. We know it's not realistic to take a home inspector with you to
help narrow the search. For that reason we've compiled a list of red flags
that might be a sign of something more serious, allowing buyers to
expedite the home selection process without increasing their risk of
buying a home with costly defects."

HouseMaster of Anchorage offers buyers its list of red flags to help
navigate today's housing market. Below are six things that should serve as
warning signs that a larger problem could be lurking.

1. Numerous extension cords: This could be a sign of an outdated
electrical system. Today's electrical needs have grown significantly and,
as a result, the home could require an entire electrical upgrade to meet
these new demands. A professional home inspector would be able to assess
whether a new panel and wiring was needed or additional receptacles will
be needed to be installed.
2. Low water pressure or gurgling: If you turn on the faucet and the
pressure is low, it could be evidence of a problem with older galvanized
piping or inadequate piping. A professional home inspector will indicate
the type of piping and estimated age, and determine whether or not an
entire new plumbing system is required. In many instances, sections of
piping can be replaced on an as needed basis to correct the problem.
3. Horizontal foundation cracking: Vertical cracks are, for the most part,
within normal settlement tolerances. Horizontal cracks are not. A
horizontal crack generally results from hydrostatic pressure against the
home's foundation. Correction will often involve excavation, drainage
provisions as well as repairs to the wall itself. If horizontal cracking
is evident, several structural engineers should be consulted to ascertain
the extent of movement as well as corrective measures. Opinions do vary
and with a structural element issue, it is best practice to get several
opinions.
4. Musty smell in basement: Storage in the basement that is raised off the
floor (such as books and boxes), stains, or efflorescence on walls could
indicate water in the basement. A professional home inspector can assess
potential causes. Simply improving the property grading or draining
downspouts further away from the foundation could be a solution.
5. Wall or ceiling stains: Any stain seen should be further evaluated to
determine the cause and extent of any possible hidden damage. A
professional home inspector will look for causes of the stain as well as
test the stain using a moisture meter to determine whether or not the
stain is active.
6. Vacancy: Often a home that is in foreclosure is vacant, which
increases the potential for the home to deteriorate due to lack of
maintenance and ventilation. Mold and other moisture problems are very
common in vacant foreclosed home as are plumbing problems due to drying
gaskets and valves or freezing pipes.

When purchasing a home, a buyer should never forego a professional home
inspection. The tips above are provided as guidelines so that potential
buyers can effectively and efficiently narrow down their options. Once a
choice has been made, a professional home inspection by a qualified
inspector will provide the potential buyer with an education regarding the
condition of the major elements in the home, enabling them to make an
educated real estate decision and potentially negotiate repair needs.

More red flags as well as tips for buyers and sellers can be found at
www.housemaster.com. For additional information, please contact your local
HouseMaster franchise: Karen Crawford, HouseMaster of Anchorage, at
907-346-9190 or housemaster@alaska.com.

About HouseMaster
Headquartered in Bound Brook, N.J., HouseMaster is the oldest and one of
the largest home inspection franchisors in North America. With more than
365 franchised areas throughout the U.S. and Canada, HouseMaster is the
most respected name in home inspections. For 30 years, HouseMaster has
built upon a foundation of solid leadership and innovation with a
continued focus on delivering the highest quality service experience to
their customers and providing HouseMaster franchisees the tools and
support necessary to do so. Each HouseMaster franchise is an
independently owned and operated business. HouseMaster is a registered
trademark of DBR Franchising, LLC.

For more information please visit www.housemaster.com or call
800-526-3939.

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