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Q&A With Mike Holmes

mike holmes cover photo
mike holmes cover photo
mike holmes headshot

Mike Holmes

Professional Contractor / TV Host

When doing a home inspection, what are the key things potential buyers should be looking for?

Potential buyers need to make sure the major systems of the house are in good shape. Check the home’s exterior for cracks in the foundation, poor drainage, and grading issues — this could mean water penetration or structural issues. Check gutters and make sure downspouts are directed away from the house. Have a look at the roof, too — curling or missing shingles could mean the roof needs attention. Pest issues can be a concern — for instance, mouse droppings, insect wings, and bubbling paint on exterior walls could indicate termites. Musty smells could indicate mold and mildew, too. Also, ask about any recent electrical or renovation work and ask to see the permits.

One of the easiest things homeowners can do to reduce their energy consumption is switching out the incandescent light bulbs to LEDs in their homes

What are some DIY renovations homeowners can undertake to add value to their homes?

Painting or adding wallpaper or wainscoting to a wall is a great DIY job that’s relatively easy to do and can transform a room. Homeowners can increase their curb appeal by painting the front door, fixing cracks in the driveway or walkways, or staining or repainting the fence. Seasoned DIYers could swap out faucets and sinks, too. Just remember, if it feels out of your comfort zone, it’s probably best to call in a pro.

What are some changes homeowners can make to help their home be more energy-efficient?

One of the easiest things homeowners can do to reduce their energy consumption is switching out the incandescent light bulbs to LEDs in their homes. If you’re planning on buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star sticker. It’s an easy way to reduce your energy costs. Homeowners can upgrade their windows to more energy-efficient ones, like low-E glass windows or dual and triple-pane windows with argon or krypton gas, which give windows a higher R-value. Also, consider using spray cork on the exterior of your home to cut down on energy — it’s very durable and provides thermal insulation to the building structure, seals air gaps, absorbs sounds, and is fire-resistant.

What are the benefits of living in an energy-efficient home?

The main benefit of energy-efficient homes is to reduce the amount of wasted energy. Using less energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of non-renewable resources like oil and gas. Energy-efficient homes should reduce your energy bills, provide better indoor air quality, and keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

What advice can you spare for homeowners who want to create a separate living space for a potential tenant?

Do your research and understand the scope of the project and get an excellent, experienced licensed contractor. I’d also talk to your local building authority to determine what you need to know, like building code and safety standards. You will also need to consult with a licensed electrical contracting business, as you likely will have to upgrade your electrical and possibly add a separate panel to cover all the electrical needs for the unit, such as in-house laundry, etc.

How can smart home technology and automation improve our lives at home?

Adding innovative technology and home automation to your home is a great way to save energy and time. There are many ways that home automation can help us at home, but for starters you could install a programmable thermostat or even a water leak detection system, smart locks, smart lighting, security systems, and radon detection, to name a few.

For more homeowner advice, check out Retooled Season 4 & 5 on the DIY Network in the U.S. and Holmes on Homes Podcast, available on the major streaming platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic, and Pocket Casts. For more information, visit

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