What to Expect from Your Home Inspection

What to Expect from Your Home Inspection | MyKCM

You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a shortlist of inspectors they’ve worked within the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report,
the better.

3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences.

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.

5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see.

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, so they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and so much more.

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

Are you thinking about buying a home? Download my free Buyers Guide, “Things to consider when buying a home”. And start you home search at mynexthome.com.

Dani

Items to Check before a Homebuyer Inspection

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Selling a home can be a stressful time, there is so much to think about; keeping the house clean, heading out on a moment’s notice to accommodate last minute showings, not to mention planning a move. It is natural to feel overwhelmed.

Then you get that great offer and enter escrow. You are relieved until you realize there is a home inspection coming. Even a home meticulously maintained can have hidden issues. The good news is that you can prepare for the home inspection and make sure you pass with flying colors!

Here is a list of items to check before a home inspection is performed to help eliminate the number of items on the buyer’s repair list.

  • Doors, windows, cabinets, and drawers: check that they slide smoothly.
  • Run water in sinks, tubs, and showers: snake any that drain slowly.
  • Look for evidence of water leaks: garage ceiling, house ceilings, under sinks, around the water heater, etc.
  • GFIs: check our local code and put GFI plugs where required and check installed GFI plugs to make sure they work correctly.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: check that they are in working order by testing.
  • Gutter and roof: replace any missing roof tiles, check flashing around the roof and clean gutters.
  • HVC: consider HVAC servicing to replace filters and check for problems.
  • The water heater: is it properly strapped and vented.
  • Deferred maintenance: anything that has been neglected should be addressed before the home inspection.

The best defense is a good offense. This is true in home inspections too! The best way to ensure you have an excellent home inspection is to have a pre-listing home inspection. It could be the best couple hundred dollars you can spend. Better to uncover the issues before the buyer does.

Ready to buy and/or sell a home? Call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.
Dani

How Home Appraisers Determine Value

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What is an Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of the true (or fair market) value of what a home is worth. Appraisals are conducted by highly-trained professionals who are licensed and/or certified to determine the value of a home fairly, objectively and without bias in the state where the property is located.

Once a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, the contract is then sent to the lender for the loan approval process. One of the first things the lender will do is to order an independent appraisal. The appraiser will use local data to determine a value for the subject property. The primary purpose is to protect the lender in the event of borrower default by ensuring that the property is actually worth what the buyer is willing to pay, but this also protects the buyer from overpaying as well.

Determining Value

The process appraisers use to determine value is relatively simple, yet not easy. They start by searching for comparable local properties which have closed recently. They choose the three or more which most closely match the subject property and use them for comparison. Since these comparable homes have closed recently, they are assumed to represent market value.

Appraisers are looking at the home’s physical characteristics such as age, square footage, the number of bedrooms and baths, lot size, location, and view, as well as the observable condition. The appraiser does not evaluate the homes décor, furnishings, or anything not affixed to the property.

Once the appraiser has the comparable properties identified, they will then compare the subject property to them. They will add or subtract value for size, location, amenities, features, upgrades and so on until they have a value for the subject property. This is then reported to the lender in the form of a final appraisal.

There are a few things a homeowner can do to assure that the appraisal represents the properties highest values.

  • Make repairs to known maintenance items such as leaky faucets, cracks in the walls or ceilings, broken windows, etc.
  • Have a professional home inspection to detect maintenance issues before selling your home. This will help not only with an appraisal but with negotiating with a buyer.
  • A clean house leaves a positive impression on anyone, including an appraiser. De-clutter, clean the kitchen and baths and make sure appliances are clean and in working order.
  • Spruce up the curb appeal of your home. Clean up overgrown landscaping, repair broken items such as a garage door, make sure gutters are clean and attached to the house.
  • Provide the appraiser with a list of updates and improvements. Include dates, brands, and cost of improvements. A new roof or insulation may be overlooked if not pointed out.
  • Note any changes in your neighborhood that may increase value such as new roads, schools, or entertainment venues.
  • The newer your home appears to be, regardless of its actual age, the better. Updated carpet, tile windows, and other permanent fixtures will increase the value of your home in the eyes of an appraiser.

Ready to make a move? Contact me for a no obligation consultation, and we can discuss the value of your home and marketing options.

Dani 

Home Buying Myths

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Buying a home can seem like a massive undertaking. You don’t need to be a first time home buyer to find the process overwhelming. There is so much information available, how can you tell what’s right and what’s a myth? Understanding the difference can help you make the best decision for you and your family goals.

Here are few home buying myths, and the truth behind them.

  • The first step is finding the Right House: Before you head out shopping, speak with a lender to understand your financial options and the monthly payment you can afford.  There is nothing more disheartening than finding the “home of your dreams,” only to find out it is out of your price range.
  • You can’t buy a home without perfect credit: The truth is there are many loans available which still offer reasonable interest rates for those without that ideal credit score.  Once again, start your home buying process by speaking with a lender.
  • You need 20% down payment: First time home buyers can use FHA financing for as low as 3.5% down. There are other programs too, such as VA and some conventional loans with less than 20% down.
  • Interest rates are going up; I can’t afford a home: Back in the 1980’s interest rates were up to 18% and people still bought and sold homes! No matter what the interest rates are, your lender will tell you what you can afford to buy considering principal, interest and tax payments.
  • You don’t need an Agent: An agent not only knows the market and can help you with value, but also customary charges, negotiations, and solutions to common hiccups. Your agent will also be your liaison with lenders, Title companies, home inspectors, Home Warranty companies and home contractors.
  • New homes don’t need a home inspection: Every home should have a home inspection by a licensed inspector to check for existing or potential problems.

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you are likely to make in your lifetime. Take the time you need to understand the process and learn from the professionals; don’t assume that everything you read is right.

Ready to talk with a lender? Send call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.
Dani

Five Things You May Not Have Considered When Selling Your Home

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How are your closets looking? Are they stuffed to the brim with never-used guest towels, old toys and the fine china you never use? Here is a tip: if your closets look like they can’t fit another thing inside, buyers are going to assume your house does not have enough storage space. And storage space is as important to most buyers as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms!

Here are five home selling secrets to consider when selling your home. 

  1. Your Closets Should be Mostly Empty: Every buyer is looking for storage, and you’ve likely outgrown yours. Appeal to potential buyers by de-cluttering your closets, or even putting some of your extra items into an off-site storage unit while your home is on the market. Make sure that what you do leave behind is neat and organized. For advice on how to prepare your home for a move, download the Betty-on-the-Move-Your-Moving-eGuide.
  2. Web Appeal is the New Curb Appeal: By the time a buyer shows up to look at your home, they will have likely toured it via online photos. What does this mean? First, your home needs to look its absolute best when the listing photos are taken. Second, it’s essential to include all the home’s best features in the online listing photos. Whether it be a hot tub, a large backyard or an excellent basement bar area, your buyers should know what to expect when they arrive for a showing or open house.
  3. The First two Weeks are the Most Important for Sellers: If you think you’ll price your property high and bring down your price gradually if needed, think again. Homes receive four times the traffic in the first two weeks after listing so a property lagging on the market can be a red flag to today’s buyers. Think about the eager buyers who will see your home in “Just Listed” ads across the web and in email alerts, and offer them a fair price right away. The feeling of getting early showings or an offer will far outweigh the feel of an offer that comes after you’ve lowered your price a month later.
  4. You Need to be Ready to Show at Any Time: Today’s buyers are excited and competitive. They may be willing to drop everything to see your home the minute it comes across their screen. As a result, you must be vigilant to clean your house after every meal and between laundry days. Don’t leave for work, or even a quick trip to the store, without making sure your home could be toured before you return.
  5. Be Ready to Sweeten the Deal: We are still in a moderate seller’s market, so most sellers are at an advantage. But if your home isn’t quite modern enough, or isn’t as nice as the one down the road, you may have to sweeten the pot by paying closing costs, buying a home warranty for the buyer, or even just getting a pre-sale home inspection so buyers are confident in your home’s ability to sell as-is.

The takeaway? Don’t assume that a seller’s market means you’ll get multiple offers and your choice of well-qualified buyers. Be realistic about how your home will be received, and you could end up selling sooner.

Ready to list your house and start looking for Your NextHome? Send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.

Dani

What are Contingencies in a Real Estate Contract?

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Contingencies are commonplace in contracts of all kinds. A contingency allows for one party or another to legally back out of a contract in the event of some specific condition occurring. They are protection against the unknown.

In real estate, there can be contingencies inserted for either buyer or seller or both. These take many different forms, and until removed in writing, either party may change their minds based on the result of the contingent event or issue.

Here are some examples of home buyer contingencies:

  • Home inspections – May identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights that a buyer is not prepared to take on
  • Specialty inspections – Mold, geological, roof inspections
  • Code Violations – An investigation into improvements made without permits
  • Lender Appraisal – Ensures the offered price is not too high
  • Sale of Current Home – Allows the buyer to back out if they cannot sell their current home in a specific time frame
  • Final Loan Approval – Loan is ready for signature and close
  • HOA CC&Rs – Review of documents to ensure rules and regulations do not infringe on the enjoyment of the property
  • Insurability – Home owner’s insurance available at a reasonable rate

Home sellers can also have contingencies included, such as one which states the sale is contingent on finding a replacement home. If the conditions of the contingency clause are not met, the contract becomes null and void, and one party can back out without legal consequences.

Contingencies are a fact of contract law, and in real estate, they ensure that buyers and sellers know their roles and obligations. Because time is of the essence, each contingency has a specific deadline. Be sure to pay close attention to these deadlines to avoid negative and costly effects on the real estate transaction.

Ready to start looking for Your NextHome? Send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.

Dani

The Importance of a Home Inspection

When you are looking for a new home, you tend to see things “on the surface”. What you need to remember though, is that there is always more than what meets the eye.   A home may look beautiful but the truth is it’s almost impossible to know about what may lye below the surface.  Even after living in a home for years, a seller may not be aware of issues such as mold in the attic or a hot water heater that is about to fail. The home inspection gives the buyer an unbiased documentation of the home’s condition.

The biggest mistake that a home buyer could make is skipping or waiving the home inspection due to various reasons, like during a bidding war. And while a home inspection contingency clause is almost always included in a purchase contract, some buyers agree to waive the vital inspections to win their dream home in a competitive market.

The results of a home inspection can be a great tool for transparency and future planning, especially in estimating future expenses. Buyers can use the detailed findings to plan for future upgrades, calculate for repairs, and carefully prepare their budget once they become homeowners.  Should a serious problem be discovered, the buyer can use the home inspection report as leverage when negotiating for repairs or a better purchase price.

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While a home inspection may seem expensive at first glance, it is a small price to pay for saving you from costly repairs down the road. Things like safety hazards, pest problems, or water leakage in the basement can end up costing you a lot more money once you already own the home. (And all those issues and defects could have been revealed by a home inspector if you only allowed an inspection to push through.)

The home inspection phase can be a huge pitfall for both parties in a real estate transaction. Sometimes a transaction doesn’t move forward because the buyer and seller couldn’t agree on the repairs requested from the inspection. A buyer may not feel entirely comfortable with the findings while the seller may refuse to accept more requests. Having a home inspection ahead of time can help expedite the process for both the buyer and seller.

In a worst case scenario a buyer may get cold feet and may not proceed any further with the transaction if they’re not satisfied with the negotiations after the inspection.

A home inspection will eliminate any doubts and “what ifs” of both the seller and the buyer. In addition, having a home inspection done will make the buyer much more confident in their purchase, eliminating any buyers remorse and give them peace of mind about their purchase. The seller can also feel more confident once the real estate transaction is completed because they can avoid any legal action due to needed repairs after closing.

Taking the time and money to have a professional home inspection is a great way to make both the buyer and seller feel more confident that they have reached a fair and equatable deal in the transaction.

Michigan is one of a few states that still have not adopted licensing requirements for home inspectors.

In states that have licensing requirements for home inspectors, real estate agents and clients just want to see that the inspector is licensed. In states like Michigan that do not have licensing requirements, real estate agents and clients will should ask to see that you have been trained and certified in home inspection. 

Certified home inspectors are those who have completed a course or study program; and then have a certificate of proof that the course has been completed. This certificate is not issued by the state, nor recognized by the state. Reputable inspectors are also affiliated a professional association for home inspectors such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

Author: Dani Hallsell, NextHome Victors