November, 2003
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Check With Your Tax Specialist About Expensing New Equipment

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

Small business, defined as spending less than $400,000 on total capital expenditures, can quadruple the amount of new equipment expensed under Section 179 Expensing of the most recent tax-relief package. Section 179 allows for expensing up to $100,00 of computer equipment, off-the-shelf software and capital expenditures. Business can also deduct another 50 percent in new equipment depreciation, up from the previous 30 percent. The expensing provision applies to purchases made on or after January 1, 2003 through 2005. The depreciation provision expires in 2006. Consult with a tax specialist to determine what does and does not qualify as a capital purchase under this provision.

Freddie Mac shares consumer home inspection kit

Seeking to provide homebuyers with the tools to select and maintain a suitable home, The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation created “A Consumer Home Inspection Kit.”

According to Freddie Mac, “The consumer home inspection does not replace the professional home inspection.” The corporation advises homebuyers to do “the consumer home inspection before making an offer to purchase a home.” After the contract is signed, homebuyers are directed to have the home “professionally inspected. The professional home inspector gives you an objective and comprehensive report before closing.”
Home inspectors may find the kit useful for managing the expectations of their customers, as well as educating consumers about purchasing a home.
A glossary includes common housing-related terms, such as aperture, eaves, and weather-stripping, and the following information is provided as exhibits:

  • Schedule of Normal Life
  • Schedule of Estimated Remodeling and Repair Costs
  • Maintenance and Replacement Cost Estimator
  • Maintenance and Replacement Cost Estimator Instructions
  • Consumer Home Inspection Form
  • Instructions for Consumer Home Inspection Form


Due to the high demand for, and limited supply of “A Consumer Home Inspection Kit”, Freddie Mac offers permission to reprint the copyrighted publication. To view the kit, visit http://www.freddiemac. com/sell/consumerkit/english/

APA offers Build a Better Home program

The Engineered Wood Association (APA) offers The Build a Better Home program on its Web site, www.apawood.org. The program is designed to provide builders and homeowners with the construction guidelines needed to protect homes against damaging moisture infiltration. Key elements in the building envelope are the roof, walls and foundation. Detailed illustrations accompany the text covering each element, describing both sources of moisture and methods of preventing its accumulation.

The association can be contacted at PO Box 11700, Tacoma, WA, 98411. For the product help support desk, call 253-620-7400.

Radon Fact Sheet available online

To kickoff a year of activities designed to increase awareness of the serious health effects of exposure to radon, the EPA and National Cooperative Partners designated October 19-25 as National Radon Week, and made available tools for those who wish to join in the effort to encourage Americans to take action on radon in their homes, and ultimately reduce health risks.

State and national winners of a student poster contest conducted during October will be recognized in January, so awareness activities are continuing. Among the awareness tools, downloadable from the Radon Week section of http://www.healthyindoorair.org/, is a reproducible Radon Fact Sheet that home inspectors may want to give to their clients. If ASHI Chapters want to champion the cause, Key Points for Spokespersons and other resources are also available on the site.

Mold resistant panels

Are mold-resistant interior panels the wave of the future for commercial buildings?

With the focus on developing mold-resistant building products, G. P. Gypsum Corp. describes its mold-resistant interior panels as “important technology to help minimize mold concerns.” Describing the panel as having the highest resistance to mold on the market, Chris Beyer, national marketing manager, explains the testing procedures and data used to substantiate this statement. He also covers the importance of addressing all four of the conditions necessary for mold to grow. To read this and related articles, visit www. buildings.com/Articles

New tool touted for mold remediation specialists

Delmhorst announced the introduction of an insulated 19-E/STC. The non-penetrating electrode is designed to be attached to any Delmhorst penetrating restoration meter to detect hidden moisture. Its unique design enables it to slide in-between trim and baseboard molding.
For more information, contact Paul Laurenzi, vice president of sales & marketing. E-mail: info@delmhorst.com, or visit the company’s Web site at www.delmhorst.com.

Disaster planning

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has numerous materials to help homeowners and business owners keep their lives and property safe from disasters. Businesses can make disaster-preparedness and recovery plans easy by following the Institute’s “Open for Business Toolkit.” The toolkit contains helpful tips for the small business owner, such as making an employee contact list, emergency contacts, inventory and vendor lists, and other useful items with copies stored on an off-site location, to help make a fast recovery from an unexpected disaster.

IBHS also has the “Open for Business – Disaster Recovery Plan” file folder for businesses to use prior to disasters. It contains planning advice inside and out of the folder, which can contain important papers such as leases, insurance papers, contact lists and more. Because advance planning is key to whether a business remains open following a disaster, these folders make it easy for a business owner to recover more quickly in the event of a disaster. Putting important resources and documents together before a disaster strikes can save time and money when the materials are needed, and it is recommended on the folder that a business owner make copies of all their recovery plan materials and documents to be stored in a different location in the event that one is lost due to a disaster. An image of this file folder is shown at the top of this article.

For a copy of the new IBHS Open for Business Disaster Recovery Plan folder, contact IBHS toll free at 866-657-4247 or download a PDF file of the plan at their Web site, www.ibhs.org.