Why You Need A Home Inspector


In your excitement to buy a home, it's easy to miss a small crack in the foundation, some leaky pipes under the house, or a roof that needs to be replaced.

The sellers worked hard to make the home look as desirable as possible, but looks don't tell the whole story. That's where your home inspection comes in.

What about inspections for sellers?

For sellers, a home inspection is also a good idea prior to listing the home for sale. An inspection can help you turn up issues ahead of time so there will be no surprises when serious buyers start inquiring. Knowing in advance means you'll be able to consider all your options – either making repairs before listing or pricing your home to account for anything you're not going to fix.

What does a home inspection include?

A general home inspection will evaluate the house and adjoining structures from top to bottom, inside and out, including but not limited to:

Outside Roof, porches, driveways, garage, drainage, retaining walls, grading, and plants or vegetation that may impact the home's condition

Inside Electrical and plumbing systems; foundation; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; water heater, septic system, electrical system, windows, doors, floors, ceilings and walls

What a home inspection doesn't cover The home inspector can't make any alterations in the course of inspecting a home – so there’s no digging up the ground, lifting carpets, knocking out walls, etc.

Also consider that a home comprises tens of thousands of parts, pieces, nooks and crannies. An inspector will look at a representative sampling, but there's simply no way to check every single element.

Tip: Many home inspectors know about major appliance recalls, but do your own research by noting model numbers and then checking for trouble online.

Tip: If an area of the house is not accessible because of barricades, such as boxes piled in front of a door, request that the seller remove these to allow for a thorough inspection.

Specialized Inspections – When Do You Need One?

Some cities require additional inspections on top of a general inspection. Beyond that, you may just want a specialized inspection due to a special circumstance or particular concern you or your general inspector may have.

Examples of specialized inspections:
• Sewer inspection
• Chimney inspection
• Mold inspection
• Lead inspection
• Asbestos inspection
• Pest inspection
• Inspection of a special feature such as swimming pool or hot tub
 

Tip: If a home inspector tells you not to attend the inspection, find someone else. This is a classic red flag.

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Home Improvements


You want to invest in your home – wisely. So how do you decide where to put your money?

Improvement projects don’t automatically increase the value of a home – factors like the state of the neighborhood can be more important to your bottom line. But knowing which improvements give a higher return can help boost your home’s value and save you time and money. 

Here’s a quick look at how you could prioritize projects around your home.

Address the small stuff
A home plagued with many minor issues is usually considered less desirable and harder to sell. Those dripping faucets, running toilets, torn vinyl flooring and damaged carpet instantly make a bad impression on buyers. Put your money into those first and use what’s left to make larger improvements.

Boost curb appeal
It comes as no surprise that exterior home improvement projects rank as the most cost effective, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. It ranks projects based on their cost and how much money they recoup after selling.

96 percent – Replace a wooden front door with a steel security door
87 percent – Add a new deck
78 percent – Replace siding
78 percent – Install a new garage door
78 percent – Install new windows

Consider interior investments
84 percent – Convert an attic to a bed and bath
82 percent – Minor kitchen remodel
77 percent – Basement renovation

If you’re thinking about selling your home, talk to me to evaluate what to change or replace.  I know your neighborhood, and can guide you toward projects that will make the home buyer-ready and also give you the biggest bang for your home-improvement buck.

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Anatomy of a Home Purchase


For most people, finding the right home begins with a house-hunting strategy combining personal preferences, guidance from others (including me) and a mix of neighborhood exploring and online search.

 

For some, the search takes a while; others find what they want right away. In either case, I can be a huge resource of insight and guidance, working through issues or complications that arise along the way.

 

Here’s a general outline of what to expect during a home purchase, from the buyer's perspective.

Buyers make a purchase offer. This is it! You've found the home of your dreams, looked over disclosure documents, reviewed comparable sales data, talked it over with your agent and submitted an offer. The sellers may accept your first offer, but more often will return a counteroffer. In fact, additional negotiations are common, and your agent will help you through this generally stressful stage.

 

The sellers accept. Once everyone is happy with the terms, the parties have reached what is known as mutual acceptance and enter into a purchase and sale agreement.

 

Buyers put up earnest money. To solidify your intent to buy, you'll place a deposit, or earnest money, on the property. The amount varies, but is generally at least 1 percent of the purchase price. You'll write the check to the escrow company, not the seller. Note: This money counts toward your down payment later.

 

Escrow opens. The earnest money deposit goes into an escrow account, where all funds will be held until closing, when they are then distributed to the right people (lender, mortgage broker, title insurer, real estate agents, etc.).

 

Buyers apply for a mortgage. This step is streamlined if you've already been preapproved for a loan (which is a smart thing to do). If not, you'll begin the loan application process now.

 

The lender inspects title history and orders a property appraisal. The lender needs key information about the property before granting a loan. This is when potential problems can come to light. For example, the appraisal could show a lower value than the purchase price, or the lender could have trouble finding comparable homes. Also, the title search could turn up liens or other problems.

 

A home inspection takes place. You'll hire an inspector – generally, your agent will suggest one, or provide several options – to check the home and point out minor and major problems that should be fixed before closing. At this point, you still have the option of backing out of the deal. Through your agent, you'll submit a list of requested work, and the sellers have the option to complete the tasks, do some of them but not others, or reject the request. The sides will negotiate until reaching an agreement.

 

Removing contingencies. If the house passes inspection, appraisal and title search, and everything is good to go, then all contingencies can be removed, paving the way to a closing.

 

Closing time arrives. Once contingencies are removed and financing is set, all parties sign a seemingly endless stack of documents, and the transaction closes.

 

Packing begins! When the final signatures are in place, it’s time to put down the pens, shake hands, exchange smiles and start packing for the move!

 
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