The top commonly overlooked (and most costly to fix) items for new homeowners

May 31, 2017

In most states, there’s a mandatory home inspection upon the sale of a new home and depending on the type of sales transaction, this may not be required. So I would first highly suggest that the buyer seeks out their own inspection company to perform a full scope inspection. However, if this is not the case, I would suggest to identify the location of all of your mechanical systems: your plumbing, your HVAC system, your gas lines and your electrical panel. These are the main causes for accidental fires, burns or discomfort in homes.

HVAC: For your HVAC system, you want to be sure that all pilots are lit (if it’s not an electric pilot) because you may – in a new home –have your gas service turned on and if the gas line is open to the furnace, you will have an active gas leak from the pilot (if it’s not an automatic pilot). I would just confirm that your HVAC system is working properly and the pilot for your furnace and the pilot for your hot water heater are lit after having had your gas turned on in the new home.

ELECTRICAL: Secondly, I would confirm that there’s no obstructions in front of your electrical panel. A 4’ clearance is a good recommendation to have in front of your electrical panel and 24” on either side of your electrical panel is a good recommendation to have clear as well. In addition to that, you want to check that the circuits on your electrical panel aren’t overloaded. To do that in the least invasive way possible, one may pick up an infrared thermometer from your local hardware store for minimal cost and this will easily detect the temperature of each of those circuit breakers. If there’s any one circuit that spikes in temperature, then you may want to call a certified electrician to assess the existing condition.

WATER HEATER: I would confirm that your water heater is set at a proper temperature and it’s not set at a high temperature that will scold you. This is your first time using the home so if you turn the hot water on and everything’s on and it’s your first time using the shower or something it may be set at a very high temperature, so to check that is important.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER: Purchase a fire extinguisher and have one on each level of the house. It’s a simple thing you can do but you’ll be amazed how many people live in multi-level homes that don’t have this in place. It can truly make the difference between a tragedy and a simple repair.

If all of this seems too complicated, again, even if you’re not required to do so, I would recommend hiring a home inspector to help you with these things (or at least find a handy friend who knows how to check these things for you).


Tariq Abdullah, AIA

CEO of Tarchitects (architecture firm) and Elite Real Estate Inspectors

Tariq is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and currently practices architecture in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Audacity to Achieve: How I Ever Got the Dream in my Head to be an Architect

To be a woman who's so tiny in stature, my grandmother has been an enormous source of encouragement for me as well as all my siblings. She went back to college late in her career and actually had three careers!! Precious Petross-Buckner has been a lawyer, a community advocate (hospital in Flint, MI) and she also had one other career that I think I was too young to remember. She actually went back to school for her law degree. Out of nowhere, she just decided to start a new career! In that respect, she’s been a great example to me personally about defying stereotypes, striving against all odds, etc.

Architecturally related, she’s the one that ever got my mind going on architecture - I just didn't realize that for quite some time. She actually told me when I was small that I would be an architect! It took me 31 years to realize it was her. I would always just say “somebody told me what an architect was,” but I quite knew who. In recounting my story to my grandmother, in fact, she stopped me dead in my tracks and said “Tariq, I’M the one that told you you were going to be an architect.” I think she must've seen the gift in me back then - always drawing, always trying to figure things out, etc. It really came full circle for me in that moment. It was one heck of an experience to realize where I am now - a licensed architect with my own successful firm - and have the chance to really allow her to see that too. It was a blessing for me to show her how her energy allowed me to have the audacity to succeed. I could not have been more proud or more grateful in that moment!

So many times in life, we just need someone who will see us and believe in us.
— Tariq Abdullah, CEO, Tarchitects

It's why I care so much to give back to our children now and also help expose them to the field of architecture in particular. 

How did my grandmother ever get exposed to the field of architecture herself? Well, my mother and uncles led a very affluent lifestyle, so it actually wasn’t that far-fetched for her to be exposed to architecture or architects even. I can recall my mother telling me stories about how they were the first house on the block in the neighborhood even to have a color TV. Everyone would flock to her house and watch TV in Flint, MI. It was not so far-fetched to understand how she could be exposed to that field of architecture – even back then.

I also got exposure to the construction field from my family as well. When my grandfather's house burned down, he literally built it back up with his hands. He wasn't a mason or an architect, but somehow he figured out how to design it, lay the foundation and build it. In those days, black people always found a way to get things done. We had to wear a lot of hats and learn a lot of skills, but it allowed us to survive, and (in my family's case) even flourish.

My people were no strangers to having the audacity to achieve. I'm beyond grateful for these experiences which shaped my childhood and ultimately helped shape my career. What great lessons did you learn from your family? How did your experiences help shape who you are?

Architect and Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah with his grandmother

Architect and Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah with his grandmother

CAN I BE AN ARCHITECT? Yes, little one, you can.

Tarchitects CEO Introduces Eastside Elementary Boys to Architecture

Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah shows young Douglasville, GA students how they, too, can be an architect.

Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah shows young Douglasville, GA students how they, too, can be an architect.

Just last month, Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah spoke to Eastside Elementary’s kindergarten through second-grade intramural basketball players about being an architect. The young boys in this group are part of a special program initiated by Eastside Elementary School’s 2015 Teacher of the Year Mrs. Nicole Smith-Hall who saw a need and worked to fill it. Oftentimes, these students were in trouble at school for acting out (behavioral issues), bad grades, not paying attention, etc. Mrs. Hall has two young boys of her own who love to play sports and she knows that a coach can handle kids a lot differently than she can in a classroom. Hence, the Intramural Program was born. Recently, Mrs. Hall began inviting successful men from a variety of career backgrounds to speak to the students in order to expose them to a diverse set of careers.

EastSide Elementary Students showcase their architectural drawings.

EastSide Elementary Students showcase their architectural drawings.


“The seeds he planted in our children are valuable seeds that they will be able to apply for the rest of their lives,” Mrs. Hall said. “He was so wonderful with our young gentlemen!” Here are some of the top tips Tariq shared:

  1. You can do anything (even if you want four arms, there is a 3D printer that can make that happen) - there's always a way to do something!

  2. Energy is EFFORT

  3. The way you do anything is to put the right energy into it. Questions to ask yourself: Are you using proper energy? Did you use your time properly? Did you use your energy properly?

  4. Collaboration means working together for a solution. Collaboration is not proving who is right and who is wrong.

These young students learned what it feels like to present their architectural ideas to a group - something every architect has to learn how to do effectively.

These young students learned what it feels like to present their architectural ideas to a group - something every architect has to learn how to do effectively.

“I especially enjoyed how he treated our young gentlemen with such respect. He used some pretty heavy vocabulary words and his expectation was for them to use them also,” Mrs. Hall said. Tariq also showed the students how to speak to their peers properly, how to present their ideas, and how to draw their own design the way architects do.

Students are engaging and learning how to work collaboratively as architects would.

Students are engaging and learning how to work collaboratively as architects would.

``At Tarchitects, we believe in shaping the young minds of our future.

We especially believe in exposing these children to the world of architecture so that they have a better understanding and appreciation for it. And who knows, perhaps they’ll even be inspire to become an architect someday. We sure hope so.

Tarchitects CEO Tariq Abdullah with the ESES Intramural Sports Team. We can do sports AND architecture!

Eastside Elementary's Intramural Sports Team learned that "we can do sports AND architecture!"



The transfering of the power that comes with the Redevelopment of communities (most often controlled by "outsiders"), to the hands of those who currently resides and/or are from the targeted communities.

This is important because it not only empowers the existing residents to re-ignite the vibrancy that drives the physical development, and quality of life as it relates to Services provided in the targeted communities, but this also offers opportunities for the current residence to remain engaged in their communities while the redevelopment occurs. This also creates economic opportunities for the current residents as service providers, professionals, and entrepreneurs them selves. This provides Avenues to economic, social, and Community Life sustainability for curent city residents as they participate in the redevelopment of thier own c ommunity as they prepare to meet the current Community needs of the 21st Century. Tariq Abdullah, AIA, NOMA, 

The Dichotomy Between The Architectural and The Social Fabrics of Community

The dichotomy between architecture, the urban social fabric and education is a place of Great potential for those communities looking to design it's own future. As an "Uban Dweller" (a human product of the inner-city feverishly looking for oppertunities to improve their environment) I seek to develope genuine products that expose developing minds to architecture and design thinking experiences that not only presents design industies as a viable career paths, but also proves to students of design thinking that through designing solutions to problems in their own communities, one can create actionable, relavent solutions that impact their everyday community lives.