drdiy

Do You Have to Disclose That You Have a Large Dead Tree on Your Property When You Are Selling Your Home?/ Waterproofing With a Mastic Seal / Cleaning Wood Doors Without Damaging Them / Removing a Broken Key From a Lock

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Q: 

I read your column awhile back when you talked about disclosing an underground storage tank. I was wondering if I needed to disclose the fact that an oak tree on my property, some forty or fifty feet tall, has been slowly dying of an illness? I plan to sell my home in the fall, where it would be less noticeable. I understand from a legal source that the buyer is responsible for inspecting anything that might be visible. Is this accurate advice?

A: 

I spoke to attorney Ann Howard. She is a specialist in real estate law. Ms. Howard tells me this is not a black and white situation, and believe me she sees all types of lawsuits for many different reasons. 

While I normally don’t like to side with attorneys, she and I agree you should never do anything that looks like or could look like a cover-up.

It boils down to time and money. Ms. Howard’s advice is to remove the tree. Honesty is the best policy. I’d add to her advice and get three estimates to remove the tree. Show them to a potential purchaser and give them credit toward the purchase. Let them deal with the removal and cleanup of the tree, this way they won’t be barking up the wrong one.

Q:

I have been thinking about sloping some soil away from the foundation of my house. I have no leaking problems currently, but have had in the past. I had B-Dry fix the problem a few years ago and have not had a leak since. Is it important to do wire brushing and waterproofing with a mastic seal if I am only going up about four-inches onto the block foundation with soil and if so, what is the reason for this?

A: 

Yes, it is important that you use a waterproofing mastic seal. If you don’t, the brick, block and mortar will absorb the moisture and will wick the water into the walls causing deterioration.

In addition, bricks that are constantly wet, could spall and disintegrate when it freezes.

Q:

How can I clean stained wood doors on a weekly basis without damaging the wood? Currently I have been using Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove dust, is there a better way to clean these doors?

A:

For cleaning wood doors, using Murphy’s Oil Soap is an excellent choice. Oil soaps by their nature are perfect for cleaning wood surfaces since they leave a thin film of oil residue. That residue helps keep wood from drying out.

But every week? Get a life!  No one’s kids can be that dirty. If you’re doing it because they indeed are dirty, okay. But if it’s just dust, wiping them down with a dust mop, installing a better air filter and changing the air filter when needed should reduce some of that dust. If your doors are just stained and feel rough, they could collect dust. Why not sand them until they’re smooth?

Next, wipe them down with a dry rag and then clean them thoroughly using mineral spirits. When dry, wipe the doors down using a tack-cloth and re-stain if desired. I would wipe on a varnish finish coat. 

You may not have liked their music, but you will like your “Doors”.  

Q:

My son broke a key off in the lock of our car door. We have tried to use a magnet but it did not work. Do you have any suggestions that can help us get the other half of the key out?

A:

This same thing happened to me, just this past summer. What matters worse was that the door was locked, so I couldn’t get in, and it started to rain. I was really upset since it was a convertible, and the top was down.

If you have a gentle touch, you can try digging the broken key out with a dental tool pick. Most dentists have lots of extra broken picks that are no longer useful on patients. If that doesn’t work, you can of course call a locksmith.

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