Purchasing a home can be an exciting, yet overwhelming experience. If you’re considering purchasing a home that has suffered catastrophic damage, there are some important steps to take to ensure you make the best decision for your situation. Today, Centriq shares a list of tips and tricks that will help make this transition easier.

Talk to Your Real Estate Agent

The first step is to call your real estate agent. Discuss the details of the property you are interested in purchasing. They can provide information about available options for financing as well as what type of repairs may be necessary to bring the home up to code.


Calculate Necessary Repairs and Add 20 Percent

It is important to list and accurately price out all necessary repairs before making a decision. When pricing out costs, it’s wise to add 20 percent onto your estimate for unforeseen repairs or any potential upgrades you may need such as electrical work, HVAC systems, foundation problems, or issues with asbestos or mold. This will help make you prepared for any additional expenses that could arise due to the property’s condition when making your purchase.


Review Home Sale Contract

Review the home sale contract thoroughly before signing it. Make sure all necessary repairs are listed in the contract along with any potential price reductions due to damages sustained during catastrophic events such as floods or fires. Additionally, make sure all contingencies are listed such as if financing falls through or if there are any problems with inspections from contractors or home inspectors.


Recruit a Real Estate Attorney

Hire an attorney who specializes in these types of cases when dealing with catastrophic damage on homes being purchased. They can help review contracts and negotiate any necessary repairs or other legal matters needed. This will save time and money down the line by ensuring all paperwork is done correctly from the start.


Do Your Research

Nobody likes doing their homework but sometimes, it’s necessary – and can save you a bundle in the long run. For instance, homes in San Francisco start at $730K, and researching area home prices will give you an idea of what constitutes a fair amount for a price reduction due to catastrophic damage on a property being purchased. This information can also help inform negotiations between yourself and sellers regarding how much money should be spent on repairs before closing on a property with significant damage sustained from natural disasters or other causes.

Doing your research also applies to cleaning and repairs. Make sure you only use cleaning products you can trust, and if you hire professionals to help you, make sure you read their ratings and reviews to ensure that you’re getting the best deals possible.


Hire a Contractor and a Home Inspector

Hiring a contractor and home inspector will ensure that all necessary repairs have been identified before closing on a property with catastrophic damage sustained during its lifetime. This will also allow buyers more leverage in negotiations when asking for price reductions due to damages found during inspections conducted by both parties before the purchase. 


Check State Laws Regarding LLCs When Operating a Business from Home

If you plan on setting up a business in the home you recently purchased, it’s important to take extra precautions and check with state regulations regarding LLCs. Along with purchasing home insurance, forming an LLC can provide additional protection from liability. As each state has its regulations so make sure you know to start an LLC in California before making any decisions or signing any documents. Additionally, make sure that any risk assessments are conducted before setting up shop since some businesses may pose additional hazards due to their nature of operation which could potentially injure visitors or employees at your site.


Negotiate Necessary Repairs

Before closing the purchase, it is important to take a detailed look at the property’s condition, and determine if any necessary repairs will be covered by the seller. Negotiating these repairs can be challenging, as many buyers want to get the best deal possible. However, taking the time to properly evaluate the condition of the home and having an experienced real estate professional help negotiate repairs can make all the difference in getting a great deal on a great home.


Examine the Property Before Closing

Finally, examine the property before closing. Carefully inspecting the areas affected by the damage can help identify any potential problems that could arise if the property is not properly repaired. This can include checking for structural instability, hidden moisture issues, or even environmental hazards. Knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time can save you a great deal of money and stress in the future.

Purchasing a home with catastrophic damage requires patience and research but it also offers many rewards along with new challenges. Take some time now before making any big decisions regarding purchasing homes affected by natural disasters. These best practices should put anyone interested in taking their first steps towards owning their own house at ease.

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Top 4 Ways to Make Your Appliances Last a Lifetime

Most major household appliances only last a decade or less depending on their level of use. While that sounds like a long time between replacements, it may be sooner than you think if you purchased your home a few years ago. Prevent yourself from having to spend thousands of dollars on a new fridge or oven prematurely by making an effort to maintain them properly.

Below are four ways to extend the life of your home’s appliances and keep them running like new in the years to come!

Here are the Top 4 Ways to Make Your Appliances Last a Lifetime

  1. Clean Stove Top Burners
  2. Vacuum Condenser Coils
  3. Replace Water Filters
  4. Replace Broken Parts

Clean Stove Top Burners

Gas-powered burners are notorious for getting dirty with grease and food spills. This layer of grime can accumulate and plug up pilot holes if not cleaned after each use. Dirty burners will make cooking take longer or create an uneven heating surface.

Check the cleanliness of your stove by lighting your burners and looking at the open flame. Orange or yellow means that you need to clean your burners as soon as possible. Just make sure you allow your stovetop to cool down before you start scrubbing.

Vacuum Condenser Coils

This task may sound crazy, but it’s actually extremely important to clean your fridge’s condenser coils every few months. To stay cold, your refrigerator uses the coils to cool and condense the refrigerant. If the coils are covered in dirt and debris, your fridge will have to work harder to cool down the liquid.

Cleaning the coils only takes fifteen minutes. Simply pull your fridge away from the wall and remove the back panel if it has one. Gently vacuum the area with a brush attachment to remove all the dust and grit. If you have pets that shed, you may need to clean your coils more frequently; otherwise, you should plan to do it 3-4 times a year.

Click here to learn how to properly clean your refrigerator condenser coils.

Replace Water Filters

If your fridge has a built-in water dispenser or ice cube maker, it will have a filter inside the main compartment, waterline, or in both places. You should replace the filters at least twice a year to ensure everything keeps working effectively.

Click here to learn how to properly replace a refrigerator water filter.

Dishwashers also have filters, but these are used to strain out food particles from the wastewater. Depending on how often you use your dishwasher, you should remove and clean the filter every 3-6 months.

Click here to learn how to properly replace a dishwasher filter.

Replace Broken Parts

Sometimes appliances break, even if you make an effort to maintain them, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw them out. Most manufacturers have replacement parts available for older units. You can typically find a schematic inside your owner’s manual to locate the correct part numbers.

Click here to learn how you can use Centriq to find the right parts.

If you don’t want to complete repairs on your own, you can purchase a home warranty to cover parts and labor costs. This option is excellent for homeowners who are planning to stay in place for the next several years. You can use your contract to replace broken appliances or even more extensive systems like HVAC or plumbing.

Keeping these machines running doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive task. By taking the time to complete simple home maintenance chores, you can help your major appliances run smoothly with minimal problems.

We also have helpful information on the real costs of home ownership as well as important tasks toward properly winterizing your home.

You know the drill! You hear about a defective product being recalled and you silently hold your breath hoping it’s not something you’ve purchased or rely on. And, in most cases, you breathe a sigh of relief because you don’t have any connection to the product and never even purchased from the company that produced it.

But what about when a product recall does affect you or someone you love? Or when a product is recalled and, due to poor communication by the company, you keep using it; completely unaware of the hidden dangers.  The road to product recalls is winding and twisted. By becoming an educated consumer, and being aware of recalled products that can cause harm, you can keep both you and your family safe.


With the holiday season just wrapping up, you’re probably still wondering what to do with all of the unwanted gifts you received. According to Finder.com, ““Some 61% of Americans surveyed admit to getting at least one unwanted gift over the holidays, totaling roughly 154 million American adults.” Unfortunately, Christmas gifts etiquette is not always followed by well-intentioned friends and family members. Truth be told, it’s often etiquette that goes out the window first, especially if your gift was purchased at the last minute. Unwanted gifts are a plague on humanity and, since you can’t vaporize them to oblivion, it can take some clever maneuvering to get rid of them while avoiding detection by the gift-giver.


Here are 5 ways to get rid of all of your unwanted gifts once and for all!

Image Credit: Pixabay



The unforgiving winter months can wreak havoc on your home and, worst of all, cause your home energy bill to go through the roof. The good news is that you can take proactive measures to make sure your home is winterized efficiently and create a warm haven for your family. What does winterized mean to you? Here are 11 winterization tasks that will pay off big when you see your next energy bill!


When Call Center Support is Non-Existant

Finally! You laid down some hard-earned cash for a new gadget you’ve had your eye on for a while and it just landed on your doorstep. Now it’s time to sit back and savor the moment as you gently unwrap it, skim the instruction manual and prepare to use it. But hold on a minute, right out of the box and it doesn’t work? As you scratch your head and simultaneously fumble for that now-very-important instruction manual, reality begins to set in. You’ve got a product that’s not working as expected. One last glance at the directions to find the call agents support number and you dial expecting help, but instead, you discover that it’s non-existent.

We’ve all been there before. Sitting on the other end of a customer support call that goes nowhere and leaves you even more frustrated than before. What can you do when call center best practice is lacking when you need help?


How Brands and Retailers Can Improve Long-Term Customer Loyalty and Drive Revenue by Helping Homeowners Effectively Manage their Products

Though ultimately rewarding, home ownership is a daunting and stressful endeavor. NerdWallet’s Home Buyer Report found that nearly two-thirds of homeowners (65%) have experienced anxiety related to their home, with 75% of those people attributing their stress to unexpected home repair costs. Census Board statistics found that, on average, every home requires annual maintenance costs around 1-4% of the home’s value – and that number is likely to rise given the widespread adoption of tech-enabled home products.


It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in your home for one year or ten years, it can start to feel stale over time. Worst of all, the home you once loved can actually turn into something you hate. And since you can’t purchase a new home as often as you’d like, work with what you have and learn how to love your home again!



As the cold months of winter begin to fade away, it’s time to set your sights on the arrival of spring and prepare for your annual spring clean up. Dating back more than 3,000 years, the concept of “spring cleaning” is rooted in Middle Eastern culture and is known as the shaking of the house. It is also an annual tradition in countless countries around the world including Greece, Egypt and the United States. As for the latter, a day in the life of an American housewife in 1864 is part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute with a diary page that reads, “Swept and dusted sitting-room & kitchen 350 times. Filled lamps 362 times. Swept and dusted chamber & stairs 40 times.” A layer of soot covered every surface in homes back then due to a reliance on coal for heat and whale oil to illuminate lamps. The spring season was the perfect opportunity for people to engage in some deep house cleaning and welcome in the fresh air and warmer temperatures. Hence, “spring cleaning” was born!

Fast-forward to the year 2020 (where spring cleaning is an equal-opportunity chore!), winter is almost over and it’ll soon be time to prepare your home for the glorious spring season!


Why it’s Important & 7 Often Overlooked Tasks

A home maintenance checklist can be different for every home, but there are core basics that every homeowner and renter alike need to be aware of.  Most of us remember to change the air filters, clean the gutters, and maybe even to change the fridge filters. But, there are also those often overlooked home maintenance items that are just as important. In fact, many of the most commonly overlooked home maintenance items can be the most dangerous if left undone. Every year tens of thousands of fires in the home are caused by dirty dryer ducts, lint filters, and chimneys, and thousands of people fall ill from food-born bacteria found in their dishwashers.  Regular home maintenance can also help you be prepared for the worst. Keeping up with items like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers can play a key role in protecting you, your family, and your home.

Here are 7 Often Overlooked Home Maintenance Tasks

  1. Deep Cleaning the Dryer Lint Filter
  2. Cleaning the Dryer Duct
  3. Cleaning the Chimney of a Wood Fire Burning Fire Place
  4. Changing the Furnace Filter
  5. Cleaning the Dishwasher Filter
  6. Replacing the Smoke Detector Batteries
  7. Testing the Fire Extinguisher

Deep Cleaning the Dryer Lint Filter

Emptying your lint trap after every dry cycle is basic maintenance for your clothes dryer and is absolutely essential in order to prevent your dryer from setting on fire–so if you don’t already do it, start now! Heck, start yesterday!

OK, so assuming you already know that you need to empty your lint trap regularly, let’s talk about how you can (and you should) take cleaning your dryer lint trap to a new level by scrubbing it once every 6 months.

Why do you need to deep clean your lint trap? Well, tiny particles of lint can get stuck in the filter screen, and even more importantly, if you use any fabric softener in your laundry, it will actually start to build up a greasy residue on the mesh of the filter that will prevent air from passing through. When this happens, your dryer becomes way less effective and you increase your risk of fire, too.

Cleaning your dryer lint filter is really easy to do, it just requires finding a product that will dissolve the greasy residue that is caught on the mesh. We’ll discuss some options below.

Click here to read more about Deep Cleaning the Dryer Lint Filter, including printable step-by-step instructions. 


Cleaning the Dryer Duct

Now, some of you might even be asking, “Wait! What is a dryer duct? Where is my dryer duct! What are you talking about!” and that’s fair enough. Everyone kind of knows that they need to empty their lint trap if they want to avoid a house fire. But for some reason, we hear a lot less about dryer ducts and the importance of cleaning those. This is weird because out of the thousands of dryer fires that occur every year in the U.S., a large portion of them are caused by clogged dryer ducts–not dryer filters. Dryer ducts get clogged with lint just like your lint trap does, and cleaning it out is a part of basic dryer maintenance.

Your dryer duct is the vent pipe or metal tube behind your dryer that leads to the exterior of the house. When your dryer is on, it pushes hot air out of the dryer, and sometimes lint gets pushed out right along with it. This leads to clogs and can be a real issue if you don’t keep on top of it.

So how often do you have to clean it? This is one of those tasks that really only has to be done when needed, and there are three easy ways to check if it’s needed:

  1. Open the duct and take a look to see if there is lint buildup
  2. Next time your dryer is running, go outside and look for the dryer vent. It looks like a plastic hose sticking out of the wall of your house, and it should have a plastic cover on it. If the dryer is running, the cover should be pushed open by the steady stream of air coming out of the vent. If the air stream is too weak to push the cover open, you need to clean your duct.
  3. Put in a load of wet clothes and see if they take longer than one cycle to dry.

To be safe, you should give your duct thorough cleanings every 6 months.

Read more about cleaning dryer ducts, including printable step-by-step instructions.  

Cleaning the Chimney of A Wood-Burning Fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces are incredible and when properly maintained they can provide warmth and coziness during cold winter nights. However, when left neglected they can build up soot and create a potential disaster. It only takes a small amount of creosote buildup to create a deadly house fire. But what, you may ask, is creosote? Good question! Creosote is an extremely flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney due to burning wood. Depending on how often you use your fireplace and how often you clean it, the rate of creosote accumulation will vary. Different types of firewood also create different amounts of creosote when burned. For example, pine is a terrible choice for firewood because it can quickly cause creosote buildup in your chimney.

Keeping the chimney of your wood-burning fireplace regularly cleaned will help prevent any excess creosote from building up and causing a possible fire hazard. If you regularly use your fireplace but can’t seem to remember the last time you cleaned your chimney, then it’s probably overdue for a cleaning. In most instances, removing chimney soot is pretty simple and you should be able to clean it yourself. However, if there appears to be a heavy buildup of creosote, then you’ll have to call a professional to clean it.

Read more about cleaning a chimney of a wood burning fireplace, including printable step-by-step instructions.


Changing a Furnace Filter

Simply, changing your furnace filter is the most important thing you can do to keep your heat working at top efficiency, and it’s so easy that a 10 year old could do it.

(Not that we’re recommending this. Don’t make your 10 year-old change your furnace filter.)

Your furnace functions by sucking up the cold air from your house, heating it, and then pushing it back out. In other words, the entire functioning of your indoor heat is based on your furnace’s ability to move air around. If the furnace has to suck air through a blocked filter, you can imagine how much harder this process will be and how much less effective your furnace will run as a result.

Looking for info on changing your AC filter? Don’t sweat! In most cases, this is the same filter as your furnace filter, so the information is the same, but we created a separate guide here for all the info you need.

Read more about changing furnace filters, including printable step-by-step instructions.

Cleaning the Dishwasher Filter

There’s nothing worse than running a load of dishes to discover that they are still dirty at the end of the cycle. If your dishwasher is less efficient than normal–if it’s leaving food residue on dishes, or if the water looks dirty– it’s probably well past time to clean your dishwasher filter. Cleaning your filter will keep the food mess going down the drain properly so that it doesn’t wind up back on your dishes.

In terms of replacing your filter, most dishwasher filters will last a solid 5 years with regular maintenance. You don’t need to start thinking about replacing a filter until you can see noticeable wear and tear, or until cleaning the filter alone doesn’t get the dishwasher efficiency back to normal.

Read more about changing dishwasher filters, including printable step-by-step instructions.

Changing the Smoke Detector Batteries

Don’t bother changing your smoke detector batteries until you’ve tested your smoke detector. We’ve got a step-by-step of how to do that here.

Once you’ve read through that, it should be pretty obvious whether or not you should change your battery and why it’s important. But here’s a list of reasons just in case you need more motivation:

Read more about changing the smoke detector batteries including printable step-by-step instructions.

Testing the Fire Extinguisher

Well actually…you shouldn’t! Testing your fire extinguisher by shooting the product out can lower the internal pressure and render it totally useless in the case of a real fire–so don’t do it. When it comes to “testing” your fire extinguisher, all you can really do is inspect it and give it a couple  of turns to shake up the product, and this should be done once a month.

Inspecting your fire extinguisher can alert you to issues like if the content pressure of the canister is too low or too high, if the extinguisher has gotten damaged in any way, or if there is any build-up or clogging in the hose. If your extinguisher is located in a public place where lots of people (like high school students or angry customers) are able to mess with it, these inspections are absolutely crucial. Even if it’s located in an isolated place–checking the extinguisher’s pressure regularly and giving it a quick shake is still a very good idea.


Read more about testing the fire extinguishers including printable step-by-step instructions.

We also have helpful information on the real costs of home ownership as well as important tasks toward properly winterizing your home.


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