Monthly Archives: May 2020

Home Inspection Basics

The Home Inspector

When you think about it, it is a bit odd. A person hires a stranger to snoop around another stranger’s house for a couple hours and report back. It’s sounds rather like someone hiring a burglar to case a house for a robbery. The major difference is that the owner of the home is a willing participant, too, and that everything is actually quite legal and above board. The motive of the buyer is, of course, to make sure that he or she doesn’t get ‘robbed’ with a broken-down furnace that the seller say is fine, for example. This happened to me in the days before home inspection was a common part of the real estate transaction. Though the service has been around since the 1970s, it has only really become an integral part of home-buying since the mid to late 1990s.

My wife and I ended up with a furnace that was soon condemned by a technician and a nice big bill for a new one. It was mid-November and we couldn’t exactly get along without one. What did we know about furnaces? We didn’t know how long one lasted or how to tell if it was in good shape or not. That was a dozen years ago. We know much better now about furnaces – nothing like getting burned to make you more wary next time.

Home inspectors are, like me, regular people who are interested in houses, their construction, their systems, and pretty much anything else about them. They are usually generalists with knowledge of thousands of bits of information about pretty much anything and everything in the home. Some, have additional specialties in various trades, or will offer additional services at additional costs for things such as Radon inspections. Many, like me, are trained and certified via colleges or corporations such as Carson-Dunlop Consulting Engineers in Toronto.

We are also interested in the people who live there and the people who are looking to move in. Like you, we have spouses, children, parents, pets, and other relatives with whom we share our living spaces. What we all have in common is that we all want a nice, clean, safe place to live with – hopefully – no nasty surprises. We want to help you realize what you have before you buy or sell, so you can make informed choices.

No house is perfect. That’s not to say something is wrong with it, but think of a house as an organic entity. It sits on a foundation. It stands on its framework. It breathes and has circulatory systems. It needs to keep at a comfortable and even temperature. And, most of all, it needs to be maintained. Like your own body, or even your car, if you don’t take care of it, it will start to age prematurely and fall apart.

But what are home inspectors and why do you need one?

Think of a home inspector looking over your house like the mechanic you have to look at your car. Houses need to be maintained and looked after. However, like cars, sometimes we don’t take as much care of them as we should. Some things are not fixed, while other things are never even noticed or checked over the years and fall into disrepair. Home inspectors act as the detached third-party that advises on the condition and status of the home without the emotional investment. Good home inspectors give the straight facts, will point out things to watch or fix, and will point out the positives of your home as well.

Just as the name suggests, home inspectors inspect homes, but they also usually inspect garages, patios, decks, driveways, and the lay of the land. Some will inspect other structures such as sheds, barns, gazebos, pools and pool houses, but these are beyond the standards for most inspectors. Many will adhere to the standards and practices of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI or CAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) – whether or not they are actual members in the association.

Home inspection is the fastest-growing trade within the real estate industry in North America with about two-thirds to three-quarters of all homes undergoing an inspection. Home inspectors have become an integral part of the home transaction process. While most home inspectors are called in once a purchaser is ready to buy a home, some are called in by sellers before they want to sell, or by homeowners who are looking at major renovations or upgrades to their home.

What do they do?

In any situation, the inspection process is basically the same. After initial introductions and a discussion of what’s to be done, where to go, where not to go (the baby’s room), and other criteria, the inspector gets down to the ‘dirty’ work. The inspector will give the home and property a thorough going-over – usually beginning outside, then moving indoors from room to room making observations and notes on a checklist. It is common for inspectors to go into rooms two or three times looking at different things each time. Others will visit certain rooms only once, performing all the checks they need then and there. Each inspector is different and works differently.

Safety is the over-riding concern of the home inspector – both for the inspector and the customer. Some home inspectors will open up electrical panels to look at wiring, others will not, but all should inspect the panel(s), the wiring, distribution system, grounding, load, and other visible bits and pieces.

Most inspectors will look inside furnaces and other heating devices if the panels come off easily. Others will use tools to remove panels, but many will draw the line there. Many inspectors will walk on the roof when conditions permit to inspect the roof, the materials and workmanship, and things such as vents, chimney(s), and gutters. Some roofs are very steep, in bad shape, or are constructed with fragile tiles. Most inspectors will not walk on the roof in these situations, but will either look from the edge via a ladder, look from an adjacent structure, or use binoculars while on the ground.

Plumbing is another major system that home inspectors will spend a good deal of time examining. They’ll look at what the pipes are made of, whether it’s electrically grounded or not, how the water looks, flows, and even smells, how hot the water gets, as well as operate every tap and toilet to ensure that they are all working well and not leaking. Home inspectors will also be looking for other leaks – past and present, evidence of water damage, and they will look at drainage systems and sump pumps.

The structure is another key point of the inspection. Inspectors will look at how the house is holding itself up – literally, and how it is, or has been settling in and weathering through the years. Inspectors will look for wall and floor cracks due to settling and try to determine the age and severity of the crack. Home inspectors will also examine the brickwork, windows, doors, joists, rafters, pad, and other elements for warping, fire or water damage, poor construction, tampering or dangerous remodelling, and other tell-tale signs of how the house is build and maintained.

Home inspectors will often crawl around in crawlspaces, peer into or enter attics, look in closets and chimneys, around windows and doors, under carpets, and every other place in the house where they see or suspect evidence of something may be amiss – or may be particularly good.

Typical items not looked at are more cosmetic in nature. Paint is not a major concern unless it gives evidence to other problems like mold, weathering, and so on. Carpeting is not usually commented on unless is moldy or on top of electrical wiring. Landscaping will be looked at with regards to effect on the house. Trees and shrubs are often planted too close to a house or grow up against them over time and may cause damage. Mostly, landscaping issues deal with the slope or grade of the land and whether drainage issues are of a concern.

What do you get out of it? Good home inspectors will write up a report and give you an oral summary of what was found. The home inspector may show you certain matters of particular interest or concern, or you may simply get a summary of items noticed and noted in the report. The home inspector should not be making decisions for you on the home, but may, if qualified, make certain professional recommendations, or recommend that you get more serious matters inspected by a specifically-trained service person.

Inspectors should be giving you a status check of you home’s vital elements – not a laundry list of what’s wrong with the place. There are plenty of small things that may be ‘wrong’ as in needing minor attention or monitoring, but are not critical to the overall safety or marketability of the home. The worst thing a home inspector can do is become emotional about the house being inspected. Good home inspectors are like good doctors or mechanics. They tell you what they find, and about how critical or not a deficiency may be, but they shouldn’t be alarmist unless the situation is potentially dangerous or deadly (for example, live wires exposed within reach of children or a seriously deteriorated chimney which may collapse). Otherwise, the inspector should be detached and business-like in presenting his or her findings.

The seller has the emotional investment of living in a home and usually is quite sensitive about it. The buyer is putting an emotional investment into the home because they like the place and can picture themselves enjoying it. That’s where emotional biases come into play and sober reasoning can get the better of you by making you not see potential problems or excuse them away because you really, really want this house. This is exactly why home inspectors have entered the scene in order to remove the emotions and provide sober commentary. Home inspectors don’t get involved with the price of homes, and certainly don’t decide for you on whether to buy or not (or sell). What they reveal about a home might affect the negotiations, but the home inspector shouldn’t be involved in them directly. For example, depending on the size of a home, a nearly-dead furnace can cost $5000 to $10,000 to replace, or new roofing of very tired shingles can cost from $3000 to $30,000 – a not insignificant impact on the home’s worth during a transaction.

The Usual Factors That Determine The Cost Of Building Inspection Services

As a property investor, there are certainly many important elements or aspects that you have to factor in to make the process of initiating or searching for your dream home go quicker and easier. Some of these factors include your prepared budget for the property, its location, its size, its number of rooms and if it can accommodate the current and potential number your family members.

And of course, another important factor that you should consider as well when investing in your potential new home is the current physical or structural condition of the property. And a complete and thorough property or building inspection is one of the many processes you can consider investing in to make sure that the property you will be buying will indeed be a good one; one that you won’t regret purchasing.

If you don’t have a discerning eye when it comes to inspecting and scrutinizing a particular building, house or apartment and its areas or sections, you need to hire the services of a professional building inspector. Various building inspection companies offer different rates for the services they offer. Below are the common factors that determine or affect the rate or price of a building inspection service that you will have to pay for to have a property you are interested to invest in professionally inspected or evaluated:

What the inspection package or services include. A building inspection service covers the usual checks: a look into or close inspection of the property’s internal and external façade, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system, to name a few. But you may want to have the property checked for the presence of any pests as well. And this additional service will usually add to your bill, unless you opt for building and pest inspection package that many firms also provide.

The size or area of the property. The usual quotations of building inspection companies state that their service covers properties of average sizes. This means the property has a maximum number of 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. If the property you are interested to invest in has more than 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and other additional rooms, you will have to pay extra for these.

The qualifications, experience and license of the building inspector you will hire. There are several inspectors who may not be professionally trained and licensed and as such, they may offer their services for a lower price. But you need to be wary about hiring such inspectors. You should only hire fully qualified and licensed inspectors or an inspection firm since they have the proper insurances and they will provide you a thorough and complete professional service and report, one that you can trust and rely on to help you make the final decision with regards to your possible property investment.

Pros and Cons of Home Inspection

Millions of Real Estate transactions happen on daily basis and it is important for buyers to protect themselves in as many ways they can. One of the simplest is to hire a home inspector. Home inspection offers both the immediate and long term benefits to the buyer. It can also be beneficial for the seller as it can avoid deal-breakers. If the issues and problems can be resolved before being identified by a potential buyer the seller has more chances in getting their asking price. In general, it’s worthwhile to get the inspection done for both, sellers and buyers.

The buyer gets benefits in several ways.As the buyers invest a sizable chunk of money to buy a home it is important to identify any deficiencies that may cost extra money and stress, an inspection by a qualified third-party will disclose the facts. All the serious, major and minor defects are revealed. In some cases there may be some critical structural defects that may be as good as rebuilding the house. Or, the defects may eat away a lot of money and time to rectify them. They may not be able to use the house at all till those are taken care of. There can be some problems related to the safety of occupants, which are to be removed before moving in.

Another benefit inspection offers are that the buyer can get quotes for needed repairs and uses them to negotiate the price with the seller. Moreover, a home inspection eliminates buyer’s remorse about the problems later on.

The home inspector will check and report about ins and outs of the property, areas like basement, structural, construction and safety issues, condition of the roof, and electrical, water lines and heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems. That will ensure to the buyer what all needs attention to repair or replace and he can get the quotes for evaluating the costs involved and the buyers can plan what should be done when and make their budget.

When it comes to disadvantages of hiring an inspector, there isn’t really anything major, except incurring some expenses for inspection. The cost is small in comparison to saving that can be achieved. Of course a qualified and in-depth inspection is key here.

A seller also benefits from a home inspection as he/she can avoid problems later on. Before listing the house for sale, a home inspection will help the seller to recognize the potential problems with the home and they can be addressed before showing the property to buyers. Multiple quotes fir repairs can be obtained and a proper job done as oppose to making urgent repairs 2 weeks before closing. This cant cost a fortune.

Most importantly, all issues and problems resolved before the buyer shows up. If a seller is not ready to allow inspection, and is firm on the price as is, the likelihood of a fast sale or a sale at all is very small.

A home inspection gives confidence to both seller and the buyer. Seller can prepare for the sale of the home, reduce problems and get a better price. They can also eliminate the chance of over-inflated estimates presented by the buyers at the time of the negotiations.

So overall, home inspection is a great way to minimize risk, increase property value and avoid hassles and waste of time, energy and other resources, both for buyers and sellers alike.

Home Inspections: Investment or Expenditure?

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect home and now it’s time to do the offer and finalize the deal. If you’re like many people, you may be feeling a cash crunch by this time. You might be wondering why you would want to incur yet another expenditure, such as a pre-purchase home inspection. A valid consideration!

When choosing a home it’s important to know whether or not the house needs work, and how much it’s likely to cost. A prudent home buyer may want to make an offer to purchase “conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory inspection report. Having the home inspected before waiving any conditions gives you the security of knowing what to expect. It helps you make an informed decision about the condition and cost of upkeep of the home.

Professional home inspectors are trained to determine the presence of otherwise unsuspected problems in the home, through clues and symptoms that an untrained eye may not connect to the problem. Equally important, is the opportunity to have a thorough explanation of how to operate and maintain the home.

Shop around and choose an inspection company wisely. Look for a professional company, and inquire about the experience of the individual inspector. Look for an inspector or company that you feel comfortable with in terms of their ability to communicate with you. Attend the inspection, and ask questions. Your real estate agent or lawyer can help you locate a reputable home inspector.

A quality home inspection includes the entire structure from roof to foundation, the interior and exterior, and all the electro-mechanical systems. A complete inspection takes 2½ to 3 hours, includes a written report, and normally costs about $250 to $350 depending on the inspection company chosen. It won’t eliminate all the risk associated with home ownership, however it can be a value added, information gathering process that gives you a better understanding of your new home. And more security!

Don’t settle for less.

Some Important Things to Do when Selling House Without a Realtor

Do you want to sell a house by yourself? I mean you Sell Your House Without a Realtor. If so, then it was a brave but profitable decision. Selling a house is not an easy matter; this job is usually done by professional and trained realtors. How? Are you sure to sell it yourself? Of course you have to be sure. There are several abilities you must have to sell a house; they are high motivation, knowledge, and internet skills. These three capabilities will assist you in conducting thorough research, inspecting your home, determining prices, promoting your home, and offering your home.

Research is the best way to get important information in everything, including when you sell the house by yourself. Data and information are needed so that you are not wrong in making decisions, for example important documents needed when selling a house. You can do research on the internet or ask the realtor about it. Some important documents that must be prepared before selling a house include insurance documents, title and ownership documents, etc. Use the internet power to browse valuable documents related to your home. This document is very valuable which will show the buyer that you are the rightful owner of a property. Store all original documents correctly and copy them in a different place. Not only doing research related to your home documents, you can also find the best way to attract buyers with various attractive offers.

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After important documents are stored correctly, the next step is to do a home inspection. You can do your own checks on minor matters and use the services of a home inspector for overall home records. The objective report from the professional inspector can be used as a basis for repairs; this report is also needed by the buyer to see the latest condition of the house. Let the buyer see the report to find out the improvements that have been made. This report shows that you are an honest seller and intend to provide the best service.

Next, let’s talk about the property prices. Determining the price of a property for sale is not easy, you cannot determine it based on your desires. The wise way is to do a survey, look at some homes for sale that are similar to yours. Do not let yourself determine the price of a house is too expensive because it will make your home unsold on the market. If your house is not sold for a long time, this will lead to negative assumptions. The buyer will assume that your house is not worth selling and there is a lot of damage, even though you have done many things to improve. So, do we have to offer low prices for our property? That is also not quite right, lower prices from the local market will raise many questions. The buyer might be doubtful about some things such as the physical condition of the house, the quality of the house, the legality of the house, etc. Determine the price according to prevailing in the market, if you have difficulty you can take the services of a real estate consultant. But, it requires additional costs.

The next task for those of you who intend to Sell Your House Without a Realtor is to carry out promotions and final offers. My advice is to promote your home in real estate MLS listing for a small fee, this is important so that everyone knows that your house is ready to sell. Don’t just use one promotion method, do various things. Promote your home in many ways such as direct sales, working with several cash home buyers and real estate investors, participating in property exhibitions, posting on all social media for free, email marketing, creating blogs, bringing traffic to blogs, advertising on GoogleAdwords and Facebook Ads, advertise on property buying and selling websites, etc. After a buyer is interested in your home and agrees to an agreement, you must prepare all the paperwork. Be prepared for unexpected things like delays in agreement and closure.

Importance of Home Inspection

Home inspections are important as they enable a buyer to learn about the physical attributes of the home. In almost all instances, homes are sold in less than perfect condition. Therefore, a buyer needs to be informed about the anticipated costs associated with maintaining the home post-closing.

As a result, the house inspection is a significant phase of the home buying process. An accredited and experienced home inspector investigates the home and writes up the inspection report after the inspection is completed. This detailed document becomes a very important tool in the real estate transaction process.

A property inspection typically includes an examination of the entire house including:

· Foundation and structural integrity

· Doors and windows

· Roof and exterior walls

· Plumbing

· Electrical components

· Heating and air conditioning systems

· Surrounding vegetation of the home & more…

Why Home Inspection for Sellers:

It is good to have an inspection done before a home is put on the market.

Complete repairs – Sellers can address repair issues before placing the home on the market. This can significantly increase the visual appeal of a home.

Transparent dealings – A home inspection report available to buyers communicates confidence in the quality of the home, and signals that the seller has nothing to hide.

Increased valuation – These steps result in a higher selling price, and a smoother sales process where surprises are limited and buyers bud with confidence.

Why Home Inspection for Buyers:

If a house inspection report is not completed by the Seller, a Buyer should pursue an inspection to learn about potential problems and upcoming maintenance expenses associated with the home.

Assurance – Go into this purchase with eyes wide open about the quality of the home.

Maintenance – Buyers can learn more about the future upkeep and maintenance requirements.

Value – If the home inspection report identifies problems, the buyer can negotiate for a price that accurately reflects the value of the home.

The typical cost of an inspection varies depending on the area, size of the home, and services provided by the home inspection company. As with most services, there is a strong element of getting what you pay for. Selecting the lowest priced inspector can often result in problems down the road.

Hire a licensed property inspection professional to represent your best interests-whether you are a buyer, seller or owner – to ensure the home is safe for you and your family, and that you are fully informed about major upcoming expenses.