Archives for March 2012

Buffini’s Turning Point 2012 Wrap-Up

What an exceptional conference we had at Brian Buffini’s Turning Point 2012 up in Richmond this week! I want to thank everyone who joined me and invested in themselves by absorbing such rich content over the past two days:

  • Delores Alexander
  • Nicole Ashley (Landmark Title)
  • Marcia Babashanian
  • Jen Basnight
  • Dayla Brooks
  • Greg Chaplin
  • Jeanine Cline
  • Laura Daugherty
  • Cathy Duncan
  • Shirley Edinger
  • Deb Gayle (Landmark Title)
  • Mitch Johnson
  • Amy Lang
  • Debbie Marable
  • Mike Nishnick
  • Kristin Perecko
  • Barbara Robinson
  • Marj Worley

I firmly believe that both the skills and agent development at TREG are at a very high level, so it was wonderful to hear Brian Buffini and Joe Niego affirming all the things our TREG associates are doing right now to grow and build their practices for the long term. The most important things we can be doing every day to expand our practice are sales and marketing. They are five times more important than anything else we can be doing on a daily basis. We know that a 10% growth in the business development of our practice equals a 50% increase in our income. Great takeaways from Brian and Joe!

I hope to see you next year in Richmond for this event, and don’t forget that Peak Producers is coming to the Chesapeake office in the fall: 8/27/12 – 11/19/12. This is powerful content! I look forward to seeing you there.

– Steven

Help for Tornado Victims in Indiana and Across the U.S.

Many of you TREG Insiders know Eric Blackwell, our dynamic SEO consultant who works very hard on TREG’s behalf to make sure we are on the leading edge of all things technology, social media, and SEO. Many of you have taken webinars with Eric and know his voice well, and for many of us, he is more than a business partner—he is a friend.

While Eric works with TREG, he actually lives in the Midwest, just north of Louisville, Kentucky. As you probably saw on the news, Eric’s community of southern Indiana was hit very hard by multiple tornadoes that touched down this past Friday. While Eric and his family are safe, a monster EF-4 tornado narrowly missed his parents’ house and devastated many of their neighbors’ homes, schools, and businesses. Eric spent his entire weekend helping kick-start the cleanup, working to clear away debris and give tornado victims much-needed assistance. The Red Cross was also on the scene, showing up mere minutes after the storms passed and immediately reaching out to victims with crucial assistance in the form of food, water, shelter, clothing, counseling, and more.

Courtesy Eric Blackwell

As you can see from the pictures Eric took this weekend and was kind enough to share with us, the destruction is massive. Those piles of siding, wood, and metal were once someone’s home and haven. Those of us in real estate understand to our core how painful the loss of a home can be; the juxtaposition of being grateful for still being alive and yet mourning the loss of something you’ve worked most of your life to achieve is at once both wrenching and confusing. This is where the work of the Red Cross is so crucial: supporting victims after the initial shock and need is over with long-term housing placement, the essentials needed to function, and counseling on how to deal with loss and starting the healing process.

Courtesy Eric Blackwell

We’re asking everyone to give whatever you can to the Red Cross to help. Last week’s tornado outbreak across the country was unprecedented, with an estimated 74 tornadoes spawned and tens of thousands of lives impacted. Consequently, Red Cross resources are stretched to the limit trying to address the needs of so many hard-hit communities all across the central U.S. Please give to Eric’s community and all of those around the country who need our help right now. To help, you can visit the Red Cross online donation page, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You may also donate by mailing a check to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

When talking with Eric about the disaster, he told us that while it was horrible for so many people, it was great to see the communities in southern Indiana come together to support those who had suffered so great a loss. We’re hoping that all TREG agents will reach out and demonstrate that Eric’s community extends far beyond Indiana and that we here in Hampton Roads will come together to be there for those in need.


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Transition Years, Part 2

Guest Post by Floyd Gibbs, Owner/Senior Inspector, Quality Home Inspections

Part One of this blog series explained what transition years are and why we need to pay attention to them. In short, during the time period of 17-23 years of age of the structure, most major elements of the home have been or are ready to be replaced. Right now, homes in their transition years are those that were built between 1989 and 1995. There are quite a few EXTRA issues that can plague this particular set of transition years, which are detailed below.

Polybutylene or Quest Plumbing

From 1984 till 1988 we had the ability to install Polybutylene, or what they call Quest 1, for the supply piping. This plumbing would get brittle and break easily, which would cause flooding in the home. Quest 1 can be recognized by the grey plastic fittings seen under the kitchen sink.

From 1989 till 1995 we were able to use Polybutylene or Quest 2. This plumbing did not have the catastrophic issues that the previous Quest 1 did, as this series had copper fittings and copper shut-off valves. The only exception to look out for is the plastic shut-off valves used until 1993. They are grey in color and could have some issues with leaking.

Both of these types of piping had lawsuits against them, resulting in it being illegal to use either type after 1995. While those affected were able to file claims for any damage done to their homes because of Quest piping, the claim period has now expired and is out of range for filing for damages.

The cause of the plumbing breaks was found to be the additive of chlorine in our drinking water. The closer to the chlorine plant, the quicker the Quest piping broke down. In turn, homes in the country using well water often got by without many issues.

Wood and Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows were being used quite a bit at the start of the 90’s. Before then, we mostly saw wood sashes and frames. The aluminum had its own set of issues that most of you are probably very aware of: the double-glass pane and aluminum was found to be too heavy for the balances that are supposed to hold the windows up, so they would slam shut. That was a pretty major safety issue! These aluminum windows also would fog up; while this was more cosmetic than dangerous, it was still unsightly.

During the same time period, those wood windows that were being installed were now all double-pane, instead of single-pane with storm windows. These were better than the aluminum ones but had to be painted. Unfortunately, from 1991 until 1993, wood windows were made out of extremely soft wood. This soft wood saved the milling companies a lot of money in making them but caused huge issues for the rest of us. No matter how much paint you put on the wood windows and sills, they would still rot out. The only thing you could do to save them was wrap them with metal trim.

Exterior Trim

The standard trim around houses built during this period is wood. The soft wood issues you read about above for windows also wreaked havoc on trim maintenance and cost. Moisture and boring bees enjoyed this wood trim!

Now the standard for trim is metal wrap with vinyl soffits. This change has made all of our lives better, but homes in their transition years might not have had this upgrade yet.

Interior Oddities

The mid to late 80’s saw builders using a lot of stained wood inside the house, which of course is no longer in line with today’s preferences. The floors often squeak, and some of the interior doors can move by themselves. Collectively, this is what I call “80’s character.”

The early- to mid-90’s trend was a much more open layout and a brighter home in general, but there were still some dated standards, such as the gold-plated fixtures we see all around houses from this period. Now we look for oiled bronze and brushed nickel finishes.

The roofing material standard during this time was 15-year, 3-tab shingle. You see many shingle tab breaks on these roofs. By now the shingles are deteriorated and must be replaced (or hopefully already have been).

The new preferred standard is the 25-year architectural shingle, which is good for 100 mph winds.

Until 1990, garage doors were generally composed of heavy wood and pressboard-type material. The bottom panels always deteriorated. The standard now is lightweight aluminum.

Finally, safety designs in homes before 1990 was not exactly stellar. The two most noticeable issues? GFCI electrical outlets were not in the kitchens, whereas now they are in the kitchen, bathrooms, and exterior/garage outlets. Also, smoke detectors were only in the hallway; now they are also in bedrooms and connected together, greatly increasing the safety level of the house overall.


Transition year homes are hard enough to deal with without adding in the extra issues pointed out above. But these are the hard truths about this particular era of homebuilding, and we cannot ignore that they exist. Most of you already know a fair amount of what I explained here but may not have tied all the problems back to this particular time period. Fortunately, this 1989-1995 era is truly the most difficult set of transition years you will have to deal with. While these facts can discourage you, and some REALTORS® do not want to know that so many issues exist, remember that Knowledge is Power!

Next week I will explain how we can turn the tables around and make these particular transition years profitable for you, as well as how to help your buyers and sellers in positive, financially lucrative ways.

~Floyd  (QualityInspections@Verizon.Net)

Thank you for reading our blog.  If you like what you’ve read, then please :
Follow, Connect, Watch, Subscribe
If you plan to purchase or sell a home in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area,
you can visit our Hampton Roads Real Estate website at