Tag Archives: home inspections

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs

 When you are in the market of buying a home, all too often home buyers let emotions rule rather than sound advice about the home you are about to buy.  Here are some tips that every buyer should have on their radar when looking at a home.

  1. All too often sellers think it is a good idea to have an overwhelming scent in the house to make it smell pretty! Unfortunately, what is a good smell to one, is a bad smell to another.  The word of advice for sellers, make sure your house is clean – the less smell you have in the house, the better.  As a REALTOR®, I would advise anyone and everyone to avoid scents in your home, especially burning scented candles.  Artificial scents in the home may be an attempt to mask other scents.
  2. Buyers should be aware of deferred maintenance, such as burned out light bulbs, leaky faucets, yard that is not groomed. These may be signs that other maintenance was ignored, such as changing furnace filters on a regular basis.  Deferred maintenance can cost the home buyer later.
  3. Cosmetic touch up can be an indication of a larger, ignored problem. A room that has one wall repainted, but not the rest, may be indicative of a problem that needed to be covered up, such as a water leak.
  4. Foundation cracks may be slight cracks from settling or it may be a sign of a much more serious problem. I have repeated many times in this blog to always, always, always have a home inspection done by a qualified, certified home inspector.  Only then can you be reasonably sure that the crack in the foundation is normal or an indication of a much more serious problem.
  5. Most buyers are aware to look for water damage within a house, such as spots along a wall that may have indicated a water leak at some point in time. But the other thing involving water that buyers should be alert too is that beautiful creek out back.  What may be a quaint babbling brook may turn into a torrent of water with the slightest of rain and may encroach your home.
  6. Several years ago, mold became the issue that every buyer was looking for. Black mold was the kiss of death in trying to sell your home and rightfully so.  Black mold is a very serious health risk and buyers need to be aware of mold.  However, let me very clear, just because a mold is black does not mean it is Black Mold.  Only someone certified in identifying the various types of mold can make that determination and only then by having it tested by a lab.  Never the less, any indication of mold indicates an abundance of moisture in an area and needs to be evaluated.
  7. As indicated in number 6, uncontrolled moisture can lead to several problems and may indicate improper ventilation. A good home inspector will be able to identify this issue and say what the problem most likely is.
  8. One area that I think buyers and even real estate agents may overlook is the unanswered question on a home disclosure. Most people will skim the disclosure form looking for something to jump out at them, but pay little attention to a question that the seller simply did not answer. To me that is a red flag that warrants extra scrutiny.
  9. Windows that do not open and close smoothly may be an indication of foundation issues or simply cheap, poorly installed windows. In either case, it can cost the buyer money down the road.
  10. One area that warrants a closer look and that is any patch work. If you have ever had a plumber come to repair a leak from a pipe in the wall, you will know that they will cut a spot out of the wall, repair the leaky pipe and leave you to repair the hole in the wall.  Trying to get someone out to repair one small section of drywall is next to impossible, so often times home owners will try to repair it themselves.  Be watchful for repair work on drywall or tiled areas that appear to have small areas that were patched.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – Home Inspections


Beyond a shadow of doubt one of the most important steps a home buyer can make is to opt to have a home inspection.  If you are thinking of buying a home, having an inspection should be an absolute given.

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A home inspection can range in the vicinity of $500- $600, depending on your location and what all you decide to have inspected.  This is probably the best money you can invest in your home search.  Selecting the right inspector is critical.  Your REALTOR® will be able to help you find a suitable inspector.

There are two pitfalls that all too often home buyers fall into.  One is deciding that the Property Disclosure document that the sellers filled out will tell them if there are any issues that buyers need to be aware of.  Unfortunately, often times there are issues that the sellers are not even aware of and as such were not listed on the disclosure.  I won’t even go into the issue of whether or not the sellers were honest or not.

The second pitfall home buyers can fall into is having a friend or relative that they think may know a lot about home construction to “take a look” at the house to see if it is in good shape.  Even if this person is very knowledgeable about home construction, in many states the contracts will require that the inspectors be “licensed and qualified” in order for you to negate the contract based on issues found with the house.  Having a good friend of the family who is not licensed or qualified may not allow you to get out of the contract if issues are found.  Always, always, always use a licensed and qualified home inspector for your home inspections.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 30`1-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Home Inspections


Buying a new home can be a very stressful time. In addition to taking on a large amount of debt, buyers have a sundry of other expenses that keep popping up, such as closing costs, insurance, moving expenses and the home inspection to name a few.

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In my opinion, the home inspection is one of the most important steps for buyers to take and one that too often they try to forego or circumvent. My approach is to get into a verbal arm wrestling match with buyers who try to avoid have an inspection by a qualified, licensed home inspector. And here’s why:

First of all, a home inspection by a qualified, licensed home inspector can identify a wide range of issues that may be lurking just out of sight to the buyer. Even if an item is working properly at the time, it may be just a matter of time before the owner could expect to have to repair or replace. Even if the item doesn’t need to be replaced at the time, it could possibly be a negotiating tool to adjust the price.

The second issue that I think needs attention is for buyers to not use an uncle or family friend to “take a look” at the property and see what they think. Having a family friend give their thoughts on the property may encourage the buyers one way or another, but in all likelihood unless that uncle or family friend is a licensed, qualified home inspector, their opinion will not considered acceptable as it pertains to the contract.

Maryland real estate contracts states that the buyers have the right to have the property inspected by “ … a qualified professional engineer, licensed home inspector, or other expert . . .”. Whether or not an uncle or family friend would qualify as an expert could complicate the contract as it relates to the property inspection.

If you are thinking of buying or selling talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Home Inspections – 101


Home Inspections – 101

When buying a home, especially your first home, you will often times feel like leaving your check book at the front door with a bunch of blank checks already signed ready for the next person who needs you to pay for something – it would just make things quicker!

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Having a home inspection may be one of those things that home buyers add to the list of things to pay for.  But having a home inspection by a qualified home inspector is one of those steps you do not want to forgo.  There are several reasons why a home inspection by a qualified home inspector is so important.

  1. Be sure to select a home inspector who has had training in the inspection of homes.  A construction contractor who has spent x number of years constructing homes may or may not have the experience to objectively inspect homes.  Your REALTOR® will be able to help you find a qualified inspector or you can search for a qualified inspector.  Don’t be afraid to ask about the training they have had; the cost of the inspection, what all they will examine and what type of report they will provide.  I also suggest that you ask upfront that if there are repairs that need to be made, will the home inspector come back out to re-inspect and the cost of any re-inspection.
  2. Any inspection of a home will identify numerous issues.  These issues may range from a loose face plate to a structural issue in the basement.  Even new homes will have a list of items identified from a home inspection.  The key is to identify those issues that relate to the safety or integrity of the property.
  3. The cost of a home inspection is relatively inexpensive.  I know at the time of buying a house, homebuyers are dishing out a lot of money, but compared to the size of the investment and the headaches that it can prevent, it is well worth getting a home inspection.
  4. In addition to identifying items that may not be working, a home inspection should also be able to give you somewhat of an idea of what expenses you will be facing in the future.  If your roof is 20 years old, a home inspector may report that there are no indications of leaks, but realistically speaking you may be looking at replacing roof in the near future.  Armed with this kind of information you can start budgeting for a new roof or a heating unit as the need may be.  That being said, home inspectors do not have a crystal ball and can not firmly predict when something will go haywire.
  5. Depending on the contractor that you hire, they may or may not check for any type of pest infestation of the house.  Some mortgage companies require a pest inspection, specifically terminate inspection.  Depending on the age of the property, a pest/inspect/termite inspection is a good idea.
  6. Radon is a colorless, orderless and tasteless gas that is more prevalent in some parts of the country than others.  Over exposure to radon can cause serious medical problems including lung cancer if exposed to high enough concentrations.  Most home inspection companies do not include a radon test with their regular inspection, but may offer it as an add-on.  I would suggest that you check with your local health department to determine if radon is prevalent in your area.  Maryland has a high level of Radon.  I would strongly suggest that homes be tested for radon.
  7. Depending on what the home inspection uncovers, buyers can always go back and negotiate the cost of the repairs.  I had a seller-client one time that the buyer’s inspection identified some face plates that the screws had loosened slightly.  The buyer listed those in the repairs he wanted done.  I have had other clients who shrugged their shoulders at items I considered major repairs.  Its all negotiable.
  8. If the repairs are more extensive, and the market does not lend itself to multiple offers, the buyers may want to try to renegotiate the price of the home.  Although the buyers should make sure that they have the option to walk away from an unacceptable home inspection before trying to walk away, it can be a negotiating strategy.
  9. One of the biggest hurdles that are faced during a real estate transaction is overcoming the home inspection.  One of the benefits of the home inspection is that it may provide an “out” for someone who has cold feet and does not want to go through with the transaction.  Although this is rare, it does happen and can be a safety net.
  10. The last item I would mention is that a home inspection can offer peace of mind for a large purchase you are about to make.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Five Home Inspection Problems Buyers Should Not Ignore


Five Home Inspection Problems Buyers Should Not Ignore

As the real estate market continues to heat up a lot of pent-up demand is being unleashed and buyers in many parts of the country are coming out of the wood work.  Many of these buyers are first time home buyers for whatever reason was sidelined from buying during the recession.

Their excitement at finally being able to buy is understandable, but there are some things that they should not be overlooked as they go about buying a house – namely the home inspection.

Whether you are buying your first house or your tenth house or the house is 100 years old or new construction, I always, and I mean always, recommend that buyers have a qualified home inspection done on a property they are buying.  It may cost some money up front but it can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars later on.  Never forego a home inspection.

There are five things that home inspections should be especially alert for and home buyers should be very cautious about.

  • Mold: Buyers should note any musty smells in the      home and be on the lookout for any mold. Mold can be caused by improper      air circulation as well as water leaks.
  • Pests: Termite damage can be widespread and costly      to repair.
  • Outdated fixtures and wiring: Electrical problems in a home can      cause fire hazards. Buyers should take note of any indication of faulty      wiring, such as cable coming out of drywall.
  • Poor DIY jobs: Buyers should make sure that the      previous home owner’s do-it-yourself projects were done correctly and are      up to code. For example, poorly done flooring and painted-over wallpaper      can be time-consuming and costly to fix.
  • Drainage problems: Sloping sod can cause flooding      problems in a backyard, and a slow-draining sink could be an indication of      a bigger problem. Buyers should test sinks and flush toilets to test for      any potential problems.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Two Main Reasons Real Estate Deals Fall Through


Note: A new service of the web site from which I post my blog now has the capability to identify the country of people who view my blog. Surprisingly, I receive readers from as far away as Dubai, with a significant number of readers from Europe. I appreciate everyone who views my blog and thank everyone for the great comments and for those who re-blog the site. As Wolf Blitzer, CNN Situation Room says, “Welcome to all my viewers from the United States, and around the world.”

Two Main Reasons Real Estate Deals Fall Through

According to REALTORS Magazine, REALTORS reported a significant increase in the number of real estate transactions that “fell through” before reaching the closing table in December of last year.

In December, 2010 approximately 9% of the deals fell through between the acceptance of the offer and the closing. In December 2011, REALTORS reported approximately 30% fell through. There are some reasons why this increase has taken place, but it is also important to note that many of these failed transactions could have been avoided.

It is also important to note that because a transaction failed to close does not mean that the buyers were unable to purchase another home. In many cases, the low interest rates and great prices on home resulted in many new home buyers jumping in to the market.

The number one reported reason for failed transactions was the home inspection. As a professional real estate professional, I always, and I mean always, recommend that buyers have a home inspection done by a reputable home inspector.

Even if you are buying new construction, it is critical that you have the home inspected. You would be amazed at the things that are found, even on new construction. The older the home, the more important it is to have it inspected.

That being said, there are many times when buyers get the home inspection report and they immediately want to back away from a transaction, or the buyers want the seller to fix ever last thing on the report. Home inspectors will always find things that need to be addressed, and it is up to the buyer and seller to come to a reasonable agreement as to what needs to be fixed and what the buyers can live with and take care of after closing.

My suggestion to sellers is to spend the money up front and have the home inspected. Fix as many of the reasonable items as possible and present the home inspection to potential buyers to show that you (the seller) is being proactive and that you have in fact fixed many of the issues. Even then, I still advise the buyers to have it re-inspected by their own, reputable home inspector.

One agent reported in the Chicago Tribune that there was some caulking missing around a vent and the buyer wanted the seller to fix it before closing. Apparently that was the last straw and the seller refused to add the caulking and the deal fell through. This is where a real estate agent can be a big asset by helping to negotiate and not let emotions get in the way.

The second reason for deals to fall through was the buyer was unable to obtain financing. Although the lenders have tightened the lending standards, agents should always require the buyers to be pre-approved prior to looking at property. This can go a long way in avoiding this situation.

Even though a buyer is pre-approved, it is not over until closing and things can always go wrong and the lender pulls the “approval.” One of the biggest reasons this occurs is that the buyers put in an offer on a house and have it accepted. The mortgage application is started and then the buyers go out and start buying furniture etc., that they think they need and run up additional credit card debt or deplete the savings that the mortgage company is looking at to qualify the buyers. With those changes in place, the buyers may no longer qualify for the loan.

There is another reason for real estate agents to have buyers pre-approved. Many times buyers will meet with an agent and explain that they want to look at houses in the $300,000 range only find out after showing several homes that the buyers will only qualify for a $225,000 home. Those homes that they look at in the $225,000 range will probably not compare to the homes in the $300,000 range and disappointment will abound.

It is a wise real estate agent that requires buyers to meet with a mortgage person and get a pre-approval before looking at homes.

Many of these problems can be avoided. If you are thinking of buying or selling, meet with a professional real estate agent who can provide you with the facts you need. And remember, real estate is a very local matter, don’t get discouraged by the news you hear on the news.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com

Roland