Home Inspections: Tips to a Successful Close

When working with sellers, I always recommend they consider doing pre-sale inspections.

Why, they ask, when the buyers will typically order their own set of inspections during the contingency period.

Inspections are a risk-management tool, allowing the homeowner to discover unknown issues that might have an impact on the price down the road. Typically, I see sellers able to rectify problems using their own contractor at a lower cost than waiting for the buyer to make the initial discovery and then attempting to renegotiate their offer price.

The general home inspection should include an assessment of all the systems including the foundation, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, crawlspace, interiors, exterior siding, doors, windows, appliances and framing. In some circumstances, the home inspector might recommend getting a specialist to further evaluate an issue outside his or her area of expertise.

A pest inspection is another that I always recommend. These inspectors look for subterranean and wood-destroying termites, beetles and other insects, plus mold infestations, water damage and dry rot.

When working with buyers, I strongly recommend they order any and all inspections and reports that will give them the information they need to feel comfortable when moving forward with the purchase. In addition to home and pest inspections, I also suggest they consider inspections of the chimney, roof, sewer lateral and a pool/spa if there is one on the property. The inspectors I work with spend hours at the property, factually reporting their findings and offering recommendation on repairs, replacements, or other specialists for further investigations. Once we know about issues needing repair or replacement, I arrange to get a couple of contractors to bid on the work in order to justify any price adjustments.

An agent has a duty to complete a visual inspection of each home they help a buyer purchase or a seller to sell. However, we do not crawl under the house, up in the attic, pull pictures off walls, etc. We are not licensed, certified inspectors. We understand there is a cost to all inspections, but it is still the best bet to avoiding future surprises down the road.

Deferred Mainenance-Up to date on your Home Repairs?

We are seeing more deferred maintenance in light of the recession and it’s ultimately hurting owners, future owners and neighbors, too.

Deferred maintenance is when homeowners put off doing regular upkeep and repair to their homes. Maybe they can’t afford to, or they’re underwater on the mortgage and don’t want to put any more money into a home they might not be able to afford anymore.

The sales figures at the home improvement stores tell some of the story. Home Depot’s third-quarter 2009 net sales were down 8 percent from the previous year, and Lowes reported a 29.5 percent drop in net earnings in the same time period.

Sometimes seemingly small, inexpensive issues can turn into a disaster. For instance, a small leak unfixed can lead to the rotting of structural beams, sagging of walls, and also create toxic mold and mildew.

This is adding to the number of distressed properties on the market, as deferring maintenance only makes a home harder to sell and impacts its value. Sellers are not happy, nor are the neighbors who watch the value of their homes go steadily downward.

What does this mean for the future housing market? Buyers need to be extra vigilant, especially if they know a property is distressed. The home and pest inspections for single family homes are crucial. This will turn up any issues that need to be fixed, or weren’t fixed in the first place. Even new construction can have issues.

If you are over 65 years of age, keeping up a home is extra daunting; senior homeowners often don’t have the money or the physical capability to handle the repairs themselves. One answer is to hire a licensed, bonded and insured contractor or handyman or Handy Ma’am! If you are wondering what repairs or replacements should be done to get the biggest return on your investment, consider contacting your trusted Realtor.

Dayna Wilson – Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) www.Day-RealEstate.com

EAST BAY SENIORS: Know your home real estate inspection rights

Great Article…
QUESTION: When we purchased our house, the home inspector didn’t want us to attend the inspection. He simply mailed us the report, but we never got to meet him. Since moving in, we’ve found defects that were not reported to us, and now we feel that our presence at the inspection should have been allowed.

Among the undisclosed problems were ungrounded outlets (discovered later by our contractor) and several safety issues with our forced-air furnace (discovered by the man from the gas company). Not being allowed at the inspection should have been a red flag. After all, we paid for the inspection. Why shouldn’t we have been there?

ANSWER: No home inspector with a healthy understanding of the profession would deny homebuyers the right to attend their own inspection. There is simply no excuse for such a ban. You paid the home inspector’s fee, and for this you had every right to be there; to ask him questions; to learn, firsthand, what he observed at the home.

Inspectors who bar their clients from attendance have no concept of the service business they are in and should either re-evaluate their professional function or find another way to make a living. It’s a matter of attitude, of realizing that the purpose of the inspection is to provide buyers with a thorough understanding of the condition of the property they are buying.

The home inspection is the buyer’s private consultant and advocate. That should be the essential approach. Without it, all other aspects of the inspection become suspect, particularly the thoroughness of disclosure.

Qualified home inspectors routinely test accessible wall outlets and report when they are not grounded. Failure to note such an obvious and common defect is a sign of professional negligence. Additionally, various defects involving the safety of a forced-air furnace are commonly reported by qualified home inspectors, as these can significantly affect the safety of occupants.

If you were represented by a REALTOR®, that agent was equally at fault for not ensuring your attendance at the inspection. Real estate professionals typically arrange for their buyers either to attend the home inspection or at least meet with the inspector at the end of the inspection for a full review of the findings. For this reason, representation by a competent, ethical agent or broker is vitally important.

The unanswered question now is, “How many additional defects remain to be discovered and disclosed?” This uncertainty can be resolved only by hiring another home inspector; someone who is thorough, experienced, and well known for competent professionalism.

By Barry Stone
Inman News™