Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home Inspections: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Them

Whether purchasing a new home, one that has been foreclosed on, or preparing your home to list on the market, a home inspection is a crucial part of the real estate transaction. When a homeowner considers foregoing an inspection, they are risking not being made aware of potential future problems with the property that could have been avoided. Oftentimes, homeowners justify not getting a home inspection because they can’t afford it, however these typically are the people who need the inspection the most because issues identified at this stage in most cases can be resolved quickly and cost effectively before they become costlier problems over the long term.

Problems don’t just come up in older or foreclosed homes. Our home inspectors routinely find issues in new homes — such as venting and drains not being hooked up, unsecured counters, lack of windowsills or electrical panels covered by drywall. Whether buying a foreclosed home, a short sale or a home being sold “as is,” it’s still important to know what you’re getting into and possibly have the chance to walk away or negotiate if conditions are unsuitable. A trained inspector can often spot issues with these types of homes.  For example, oftentimes copper plumbing lines and outdoor compressors have been removed by people trying to get money from recyclers.

Even if you don’t plan to stay in a home long-term, chances are that the future buyer will have an inspection and you may then be subject to the cost of the repairs. Aside from the fact that it’s an overall wise decision to have an inspection conducted before moving into a home, there are five other top reasons you shouldn’t skip a home inspection:
  1. Major safety issues: Things like mold, carbon monoxide or electrical wiring issues in a home can have a devastating effect on those who live in the residence if the problem is left untreated. These things can be detected by a home inspector and typically can be repaired to ensure safety within the home.
  2. General safety issues: Though not an immediate danger, cracks in sidewalks or loose stair railings can be a safety hazard for those living in a home. These repairs are often quick and easy to make, and can help make a home a safer place.
  3. Insurance issues: Specifications in the insurance industry that outline the criteria to insure a home are constantly evolving and vary by state. Home inspectors are up-to-date on these requirements and can ensure that a home has received the proper checks or repairs to bring it into compliance for that area. This can be done at the same time the inspector completes his other services, saving the homeowner time and money in the long run.
  4. Protecting your investment: A home is likely the largest investment you will ever make. If treated like a car — which receives regular oil changes, washes and tune-ups — it will hold its value for longer. Many people take these extra steps with their vehicles, which depreciate over time, but don’t think to take the necessary steps with their homes, which may appreciate over the years.
  5. Peace of mind: When looking for a new home, people often fall in love with a piece of property based on the color of the walls, the location or the price tag, and can be blind to the issues that can turn your new home into a nightmare. Finding out these types of issues on the front end can be helpful in determining if that property is really your dream home.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Selling Your House, It’s what’s on the Outside that Counts!

When it comes to preparing a house for today’s market, it’s not always what’s on the inside that counts. Home sellers should remember that a home’s external appearance, landscaping, and outdoor living space are just as important as a perfectly staged interior.

With Memorial Day, Independence Day, and the summer season
 quickly approaching, many potential homebuyers are looking for an outdoor living space suitable for hosting summer gatherings and parties. Creating a space in which homebuyers can picture themselves throwing a holiday celebration with friends or a casual family cookout can be a deciding factor in the purchase of a home. Updating and maintaining the exterior of the home to compliment the interior will attract interested buyers as well as better prepare your home for the home inspection.

You can change the appearance of your home and better prepare it for an inspection with just a few simple projects and improvements:
  • Transform the exterior of your party pad by pressure washing your home and sidewalk areas. Unwanted paint, dirt, and grime will easily vanish under the force of a pressurized water system.
  • Brighten up your home by touching up your paint. After all, we could all use a little boost from time to time, so show your trim a little TLC.
  • Protect the top layer of your driveway from harmful environment elements by applying a seal coat. The application of hot liquid asphalt covered by a graded aggregate creates a waterproof membrane which prevents water from penetrating the surface of your property’s driveway.
  • Prevent wood deterioration by resealing your property’s deck, porch, and wood areas. Elements such as sunlight, water, contamination, and mildew can weaken the preservation of your wood, ultimately reducing the appearance and value of your home.
  • To add more space to your outdoor living area, simply expand your deck’s dimensions. With a little bit of deck expansion, there will be plenty of space for your next summer social gathering.
  • Install an awning to cover your outdoor reception space to protect guests from summer rain and heat.
  • Get down and dirty with a little landscape maintenance. Touch up your turf by pulling weeds, mowing your lawn, and mulching your shrub and garden areas. Don’t forget porch upkeep by sweeping and dusting regularly.
With these simple changes and improvements, your home will be ready to list on the market and also be in great shape for the home inspection. Buyers will be confident in the purchase of their new home after a professional home inspector inspects every area of the home, inside and out! 

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