Flood in Old Ellicott City

I normally try to keep this blog related to home inspections, but this post is a business owner’s perspective on helping those businesses that were devastated in the Ellicott City flood this past summer. Thanks to monumental efforts by the owners, volunteers and the government, the businesses are moving forward with the cleanup and restoration of their buildings; hopefully they will soon be open for business. I am reminded that for the owners, the building is not their business. The building is just a tool; the real business is the commerce that takes place in the building. Thankfully, for some of the businesses that commerce is able to continue even though they have been dislodged from their buildings. We can’t all help them rebuild, but we can all support the businesses by purchasing their services and products.

I want to tell you about one such business that is owned and operated by friends of mine: Shoemaker Country. Their retail took place on the first floor of their building which was wiped out in the flood. The building is being repaired and they hope to be back in for the holidays, but Mike Shoemaker let me know this week that they are still open for business – taking orders for furnishings of all kinds and custom wood working. I have two special tables in my house that Shoemaker Country made for me. One is a 42-inch diameter table made from an oak tree that died on my property, and the other is made from the 100-year-old floor joists that were removed from my farm house during a major remodel. If you have an idea, they can make it a reality. They do beautiful work. I also have several other furnishings including lamps, homemade decorative signs and even coffee mugs. Check out their website or give them a call for your project: shoemakercountry.net. Your purchases at this critical time can help the businesses of Ellicott City recover more quickly.

It is important that we keep these businesses in mind even when the media fades and we start to hear other news. A good way to do this is to follow along on social media to get updates directly from business owners! Even if you do not need their services right now, you may have friends or family who would love to work with the businesses in Old Ellicott City. Spread the word!

Thanks for reading, and blessings to all the shops and owners in Old Ellicott City.

Highland Home Inspections

Table made by Shoemaker Country

This table was made from floor joists from my 100-year-old farm house

Table designed by Shoemaker Country

This table was made from the cross-section of a felled oak tree on my property

How to Prepare First-Time Home Buyers for the Home Inspection!

Hey realtors, we hope you’re having a great Spring and making lots of sales here in Maryland! Are you working with first-time home buyers? If so, this super-exciting video is for you.  We explain what to expect, how to prepare, and what you’ll gain from a home inspection.  We’ve found that having realistic expectations goes a long way toward smooth sale-ing (ha!).  We hope this video helps you help your clients 🙂

Happy Spring!

~ The Helpful Home Inspector


Home Maintenance Checklist

Hi there! Have you ever wondered about the things you’re missing when you think about your house’s maintenance? There are so many little details to think about that it can quickly become overwhelming!  You need to think about air filters, hose bibs, shingles (how do I even get on the roof?!), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, moisture in the basement, and the list goes on.  It’s way too much for a weekend project.  What you need to do is schedule it out so you can keep your house healthy while relieving yourself from all that stress.

We’ve been inspecting homes for 27 years and have seen just about everything.  We’ve seen houses that need demolition and houses that have been perfectly maintained.  With all that experience, we’ve made a short list of items that will help you keep your house healthy.  We’re very excited to share it with you today!

Go ahead and print out this Home Maintenance Checklist PDF and choose a place to start! Let us know what you think!



Flooring Fail – Why You Should Always Inspect Renovated Homes

I was recently inspecting an older townhouse in Columbia with our newest inspector, Dan Floyd.  The house had received a nice makeover: new kitchen, paint, hardwood flooring and carpeting.  It looked beautiful!  However, upon closer inspection, it seemed odd that there was no floor outlet along the long wall separating the neighboring unit.  This townhouse was built during a time when electricians were prohibited from putting outlets in the partition wall; for that reason, the outlets were in the floors in rooms abutting the neighboring house.  This was to prevent fires sparking between neighbors.

In the upper level, where new carpeting had been installed, one bedroom had a floor outlet but the other did not.  Again, that was odd until we pulled back the carpet where we guessed an outlet should be, only to find that the contractor had carpeted right over the outlet!  Maybe the same contractor put the hardwood flooring in the living room, but locating that outlet was a job we left for someone else.



This is one example (of many!) showing why you should always get new construction / renovations inspected! Never assume that because it looks good, it is good. Book an inspection with us today!  And make sure you check out our referrals page for great contractors in Maryland.

Coming soon: An awesome guide to maintaining your home to make it look great next time it’s inspected.  We love inspecting well-maintained houses.  Be on the lookout!