Friday, June 29, 2012

Home Inspection Offers Peace of Mind to Buyer, Sales Tool to Sellers

By: John Adams, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The idea of having your home inspected before it goes on the market for sale is not new. But it is an idea which has gained momentum as buyers have become more and more picky. And today, anything a seller can do to make the buyer more comfortable is considered worthwhile.

Here’s how it works:

A Real Estate agent recommends that a seller pay for a comprehensive home inspection prior to placing the home on the market. There are two reasons for doing this.

1. Any negative findings revealed by this advance inspection will almost certainly be disclosed by the buyer’s inspection after a contract is signed.

By learning about potential problems now, the seller can either repair the problem now or, at the very least, get detailed estimates of repair costs so that buyers are not surprised at the problems they may face in the future.

2. The fact that the seller has already paid for a professional home inspection may give a prospective buyer a greater comfort level in going ahead and making an offer on the house.

Buyers like that idea that a seller is willing to admit that their house may not be perfect. It also implies that the seller is not trying to hide anything about the house.

But there is another benefit that a seller may experience by shelling out two or three hundred bucks to get a professional review of the home’s physical condition. By presenting the buyer with a copy of a recent inspection, the seller has gone a long way toward meeting his legal responsibility to disclose any known defects or conditions at the premises.

Lawyers tell me that an inspector’s discussion of a damp basement or a leaky roof serves the purpose of putting buyers on notice for those specific defects. Thus a future lawsuit seeking damages would likely be much more difficult for a buyer to win. The inspection preemptively defuses the issue.

My advice is for sellers to have your inspection photocopied, then handed out to each prospect who enters the front door. Your inspection won’t prevent the buyer from having their own inspection, but it may hold your deal together by preventing painful surprises after the contract is signed.

Article Source: John Adams is a broker and investor. He answers real estate questions on radio station WGKA (920 am) every Saturday at noon. For more real estate information or to make a comment, visit www.money99.com.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy tips for sprucing up your home's exterior

With spring in full swing and summer around the corner, there's no better time to spruce up your home. But while most families are reorganizing closets and making trips to Goodwill, they are neglecting the part of their home guests see first - its exterior. After this year's harsh, long winter, the outside of your home probably needs more than a little TLC.

"This was one of the worst winters America has seen in decades and unfortunately, snow, sleet and freezing rain can be damaging to the exterior of any home," says Rust-Oleum Brand Manager Dirk Sappok. "Moisture can create the perfect conditions for the growth of mold and mildew. Dirt, grime and salt residue can also be damaging, if left unchecked. But fortunately, there are products available that can make the outside of your home look brand new."

Here are some tips and tricks for sprucing up your home's exterior:

Make your home's siding shine:
After getting hit with record-breaking snow falls this winter, the exterior of most homes took a beating. Now that it's getting warmer, it's the perfect time to freshen up your home's siding - and you don't need to hire a professional or rent a power washer to make your home look like new. Try a cleaner like JOMAX House Cleaner and Mildew Killer. It is guaranteed to kill mold and mildew and remove tough stains and stubborn dirt without scrubbing or power washing. Plus it's safe for use around plants and shrubs. Or for quick and easy routine cleaning, try JOMAX House Wash. Just hook it up to a garden hose, spray, wait five to 10 minutes for dirt and stains to loosen and rinse off.

Put life back into your driveway:
A cracked, weathered driveway doesn't do much for a home's curb appeal and it's often the first thing guests see when they visit your home. Unfortunately, driveway resealing is a project that many homeowners neglect due to the mess and time it requires. But, resealing a driveway doesn't have to be a time-consuming and messy project. Thanks to breakthrough technology, homeowners can rejuvenate their driveways in one easy step with EPOXYSHIELD Blacktop Coating. Unlike other blacktop sealers that must be applied with a squeegee, EPOXYSHIELD Blacktop Coating can be rolled onto the surface, just like paint. It's drive-ready in just four hours, leaving a jet black finish, plus it lasts longer than traditional driveway sealers.

Don't forget your walkways:
It's easy to revive worn sidewalks, porches and entryways without spending a small fortune on replacing them. Select a product like EPOXYSHIELD Concrete Resurfacer. It comes in a kit complete with all of the tools you need to renew and restore aged, patched and cracked concrete surfaces. The best part is it can be rolled on, eliminating the mess of replacement or traditional application.

For additional spring spruce up ideas and outdoor cleaning tips, visit www.rustoleum.com.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tips to Save Energy and Money Today

Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home. Start making small changes today.

The key to achieving these savings in your home is a whole-house energy efficiency plan. To take a whole-house approach, view your home as an energy system with interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace—it's a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace will waste a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows, and doors are not properly sealed and insulated. Taking a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely.

Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can yield long-term financial rewards. Reduced utility bills more than make up for the higher price of energy-efficient appliances and improvements over their lifetimes. In addition, your home could bring in a higher price when you sell.

Easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy:

  • Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs with the ENERGY STAR® label.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Article Source: Visit http://www.energysavers.gov/ for more energy-saving ideas.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tips to bring prospective buyers into your house

Selling your house may be a challenge in today's real estate market, but with a bit of elbow grease and some good planning tips, you can entice potential buyers to view your home, and hopefully make a viable offer.

Before you even list your house for sale, take a good look at the property and your home. Consider curb appeal. Freshen up your landscaping, pick up any equipment or toys lying around and update your lights so the home looks as welcoming during the evening as it does during the day.

Take a walk through your house, starting with the garage. If you have a lot of tools and equipment stored there, consider finding a new place to store everything, so potential buyers can really see the garage. Keep your tools handy, but still out of sight by tucking everything into the back of your truck under an Access Roll-Up cover, manufactured by Agri-Cover, Inc., a North Dakota truck accessory company. Made of heavy-duty, double coated vinyl, the truck bed cover installs quickly and easily with a clamp-on installation and is designed specifically to fit your truck. Since the roll-up cover is lockable, it will also protect all your tools and equipment while traveling. When not in use, the cover can be rolled up behind the cab and never has to be removed.

Next move inside. As you walk through the rooms, look at the walls, flooring, ceilings, lights and furniture. Paint is inexpensive, and a fresh coat can quickly spruce up the look of a room. If the room appears overcrowded, consider storing a piece of furniture to help open up the space.

You may determine some remodeling or repair work is needed prior to listing your home. If you have holes in your drywall, or gutters that are clogged or broken, these are easy improvements that won't cost you a lot of money, but can help you sell your house faster. Transporting tall ladders to reach the gutters or large sheets of drywall isn't easy with just your pickup truck. But the Adarac Truck Bed Rack System will make this part of your home improvement project much easier. The truck bed rack sits neatly behind the cab, and is capable of carrying a 500-pound load with ease. Eyelets secure your load so you don't lose it while going down the road.

Your goal is to get your house sold, as quickly as possible and close to the price you're asking. The best way to accomplish this is to get as many people looking at your property as you can. So before you decide to list your house, try some of these tips to put your best house forward.

Friday, June 1, 2012

HomeTeam featured in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HomeTeam Inspection Service was recently featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an article titled “Third time's a charm for Fox Chapel dad." The article was written by Anne Orso, stemming from the interview and photo shoot with Ray Fonos and John Pasquella. The article focused on the professional friendship between both men, and how Ray took a chance on John without any experience in home inspection and that it paid off on so many levels. The article also talks about how John had to reinvent himself three times in this economy due to career setbacks, and how he is now finding success with HomeTeam Inspection. Click here for the full article, or begin reading below.

Third time's a charm for Fox Chapel dad
By Anna Orso / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Call it a stroke of luck or a leap of faith, but John Pasquella will tell you his third chance of finding passion in his career was neither. He'll say it was just a case of someone else caring enough.

The 36-year-old father of two who calls Fox Chapel home is beginning to turn his life around -- with the help of a local businessman -- in the face of a turbulent economy after a process of "re-inventing" himself. Twice.

His story fits with the trends -- the national unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent, a number that's been steadily decreasing since September after rising to even higher levels during the recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(Read more)
 
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