Hiring a home inspector

Getting Nit-Picky With The Home Inspection

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When it comes to the home inspection, you absolutely have the right to be nit picky!

Believe it or not, there are some in the real estate industry who believe that home inspectors can be TOO nit-picky during a home inspection and will even go as far as to advise potential home buyers to overlook certain issues found during their home inspection, calling them “minor” or “deferred maintenance issues”. Last time I checked, home buyers pay home inspectors to be as picky as possible during a home inspection.

When looking at and reading “other” home inspector websites, you will sometimes see phrases that may indicate that the home inspector is more worried about being a deal killer rather than you the client. The most common of these phrases states that “potential home buyers should not concern themselves with nit picky items and that it is inappropriate for a buyer to ask a seller to fix something if it is a deferred maintenance issue”….. Hello??

I am sorry, I absolutely 100% do not agree with that statement. Home buyers have every right in the world to ask the seller to repair anything they want to. Of course it does not mean the seller will do it, but you as the consumer DO have that right! As home inspectors, we see deferred maintenance issues every single day. Good home inspectors should not and do not downplay these items and should report on and document these issues in their inspection report. For those that do not know, those deferred maintenance issues are exactly the kind of issues that wind up causing a vast majority of the “major defects” that so many in this profession talk about. Wouldn’t it make sense to catch those items early on BEFORE they become a “major defect”? And shouldn’t your home inspector be the one to tell you about them?

Home sellers that seriously neglect their home and perform little to no maintenance prior to selling it, should (in our opinion) be responsible for their actions and in all reality should have to repair those items due to their negligence. After all, they are asking top dollar for their home, the home should be in top dollar condition don’t you think?

Many in this industry talk about being fair to the seller. What about the first time home buyer who has scrimped and saved for a down payment for their first home to call their own? It is our belief that it is not fair to the home buyer to place an offer on a home, pay good money for a home inspection, only to find out that the furnace, A/C and water heater are all on their last leg and have never been serviced, cracks and heaves in the driveway, loose/cracked mortar joints in the brick veneer, moisture rotted siding and or trim boards, creosote buildup in the fireplace, vegetation so overgrown that it is taking over the home, small plumbing leaks that have never been addressed, mold issues that have never been resolved along with countless other deferred maintenance issues.

All of these so called “nit picky” items can and do add up to a lot of money that would have to be spent by the home buyer after moving in. Who wants to deal with all of that after moving into their new home? When someone is looking to buy a home for their family, the last thing in the world they want to do is move in and start spending a bunch money on items that realistically should have been properly maintained by the previous owner but were not.

For you the potential home buyer, we say, be as nit picky as you can prior to closing, and do not listen to those who will tell you otherwise. If you do not stand your ground during the home inspection, you could very well wind up with a money pit.

Is Your Home Inspector a Cookie Cutter?

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What is a cookie cutter home inspector?

The simple definition is a home inspector who performs multiple home inspections in a day.

Why should you care?

There are some cookie cutters who perform up to 4 home inspections per day! That is 4 “complete” home inspections, travel time, report writing time, delivery and numerous other home inspector duties that the general public typically has no knowledge of or really cares about.

Now ask yourself this question: just how thorough can this home inspector be?

Why are cookie cutters so busy?

Most cookie cutters reside inside the real estate agents pocket. These are the guys you hear about who are in and out of a home in an hour and find little to nothing wrong with the home. These are the guys that spend countless hours and fistfuls of money marketing to real estate agents for referrals. As a matter of fact, some of them spend more time and effort marketing to real estate agents than they do inspecting your home. I have personally known cookie cutters who would drop by a real estate agents office to drop off bribery gifts for referrals on the way to YOUR home inspection!

What is a REAL home inspection and what should I look for?

A real home inspection typically lasts about 3-4 hours at the property (depending on age, foundation type and the overall size of the home).

Is the home inspector in a hurry?

The home inspector should not be in any hurry during the inspection. A home inspection is a very mentally and physically demanding job and requires a great deal of attention. The inspector should have a set way of inspecting the home and should be methodically picking it apart inside and out and room to room.

Does the home inspector talk?

The home inspector should be talking to you during the inspection and alerting you to his findings as he goes along. The inspector should also be answering any questions you may have as he makes his way through the home. Many cookie cutters aren’t very good talkers as they are typically in too much of a hurry to get to their next inspection. If they talk too much, that takes up too much of their time. You want an inspector who talks!

Does the home inspector take photos during the inspection?

The home inspector should be taking digital photos. LOTS of digital photos! This is to ensure that everything is properly documented not only in writing but also in photographs. This protects not only you but also the inspector.

Do you understand the home inspector?

Before the inspector leaves the home, he should make sure that you fully understand what just happened. A home inspection can be very overwhelming for some home buyers, particularly first timers. It is the home inspectors job to make sure you understand everything that is wrong with the home and the severity of any issues found before he even leaves the property.

When do you get the home inspection report?

Most cookie cutters will provide a report on site before they leave. They like to use the onsite reports in their marketing efforts to give everyone the warm and fuzzies and while it may seem appealing to receive your inspection report before you leave the home, these on site reports are nowhere near as thorough as a home based software report. The onsite reports typically consist of checklists with very little verbiage describing the actual condition of the home. These reports are quick for the inspector so he can move on to his next inspection. They are not so good for the home buyer as many of them tend to lack important and relevant information concerning the home.

A good home inspector will go home, upload his photos and take his time writing up the report. A good home inspection report should take a minimum of 2 hours to complete and be somewhere north of 30 pages in length. The inspector goes through his notes and photos and puts things together in such a manner where everyone involved in the transaction understands the true condition of the home. There should be absolutely no guesswork involved when reading through an inspection report.

A good home inspector should also encourage you to ask any questions you may have AFTER you receive the inspection report. Can you call or email if you have any questions after receiving the inspection report? Can you talk to the actual home inspector or do you have to talk to their answering service? In this business it should not be a one and done deal. Good home inspectors are in it for the long haul and understand the importance of client retention and wrap around. Service after the inspection is key.

So the next time you are in need of a home inspector, make sure to ask them how many inspections they perform in a day. If they say anything more than two, do yourself a favor and keep looking!

Key Negotiation Points for Getting your Offer Accepted

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By the time making an offer rolls around, you’ve likely already invested a hefty amount of time and energy into finding the perfect home for your family’s needs. With financing options in place and a great property in your sights, making an offer is the beginning of the backstretch, and, with a little help, you can maximize your chances of having your offer accepted. Particularly in a seller’s market, finding important points of contention that can give your offer a boost of favorability in the eyes of sellers is important to winning bidding wars and walking away with a new home. With the help of an experienced real estate agent, negotiating an offer to acceptance is a distinct probability. Depending on the market and property, the approach you take to submitting your offer will vary, but, by following these key guidelines, you’ll improve your odds of getting accepted. Let’s take a closer look at some key negotiation points to aid in ending your home search on a happy note.

While your opening offer should be serious to alert the seller to your intentions, don’t be afraid to leave the door open for future negotiations. Treating your initial offer as an introduction to the seller can be a good idea if the housing market isn’t too hot.

According to Credit.com, your opening offer on a property is a great opportunity to learn a little more about the seller and customize future negotiations to their individual situation. Did a recent change of job force a quick sale of their home? If so, removing contingencies and shortening closing is a great way to make your offer more favorable, even if you don’t increase your offer price. On the other hand, if the seller refuses to come down from the list price and is slow to respond to your offer, there’s a good chance that a quick sale isn’t a necessity. In this case, increasing your offer is probably a better bet than removing time-intensive contingencies.

Make the seller respond to you in a reasonable amount of time by writing tight deadlines into your offer. By condensing the schedule, the seller won’t be able to wait around for competing offers.

Even if you’re in love with the property, keeping your cards close to the chest and getting a timely response is vital to getting a great deal on your dream home. When placing an offer, putting tight time constraints in place is an ideal way to ensure a prompt response and limit competing offers. A short, 24 hour period to review your offer before expiration could lead to great results. If rushing a seller into making a decision gets your offer accepted before other buyers have the chance to submit an offer of their own, you could save a good bit of time and money while acquiring a great home.

If contingencies and closing costs have you stuck, be prepared to meet in the middle. Splitting the difference can go a long way in the eyes of a seller.

According to About Home, contingencies come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to help buyers escape the purchase of a home if certain conditions aren’t met. From standard loopholes based on home inspections and appraisals to contracts depending on the buyer selling their current home, offers can be adjusted to include nearly any contingency you can think of to protect your interests while purchasing a home. However, contingencies can make your offer less appealing. If a seller has a problem with the number of escape clauses built into your offer, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to meet in the middle to retain the goodwill of the homeowner. From splitting closing costs to completely removing contingencies, be prepared to negotiate the details of your offer.

Depend on your real estate agent for additional advice on navigating a difficult negotiation. After all, he or she will have the experience needed to create a win-win outcome while working on your behalf.

The number one tool for developing a great offer is the knowledge and experience of your real estate agent. The advice and tips offered by the professionals can be incredibly effective in ensuring a smooth negotiation process. With knowledge of the local real estate markets as well as the ability to communicate directly with sellers or their representing agents, your real estate agent will have the insider information specific to your home search that can get you in your dream home more quickly and without unnecessary stresses and headaches.

Sources:

http://www.credit.com/loans/mortgage-questions/how-to-negotiate-best-price-when-buying-home-purchase-offers/

http://homebuying.about.com/od/offersnegotiations/

Denver housing: Rocky Mountain High and HOT!

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The supply of homes for sale in Denver is down 15 percent from a year ago, the number of days on the market for homes has fallen 31 percent and the median home price is up 11 percent, according to the real estate company Live Urban Real Estate. Homes are flying off the shelves, and bidding wars are the new normal.

“Prices are going crazy. Multiple offers, love letters, videos, all kinds of things to appeal to a seller in order to make yours stand above all the others,” said Denver real estate agent Jill Schafer.

Supply here is low for a number of reasons. Employment is growing at more than 4 percent versus a year ago, home builders really didn’t ramp up production after the recession and land prices in the Denver area are at an all-time high, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Most of the available land is out by the airport, where sales are not particularly strong.

Read More: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102698380