Thursday, April 30, 2015

What a Home Inspection Should Cover

What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.
For more information, try the virtual home inspection at, the Website of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.
Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.
  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies
Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof drainage systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.
Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.
Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.
Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.
Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:
  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems
Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.
Fireplaces: They're charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.
In today's market when purchasing or selling a home it is very common to have a home inspection done.  Know what you are getting when you buy because this is a major purchase and you will have to live with the unknown if you forgo a home inspection.  And my friend could be a very costly deal that no ones wants.  Home is suppose to be a place you love and want to spend time. You don't want to make the mistake of falling in love with the home that you forgo the home inspection. Hope this was helpful and gives you an idea of the process and questions to ask your home inspector.
Happy Home Buying or Selling

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

KISS: Keep It Simple when Renovating, Less is Best

When Renovating, Keep it Simple

When it comes to remodeling, it's best to keep it simple. Small cost-effective home renovations will likely get the best return on investment, according to surveys, appraisers, and real estate professionals.
According to the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, large-scale home remodeling projects are often a gamble, and aren't likely to return their full cost. Small home improvements like upgrading to a steel door, updating the garage door, replacing wood windows, and making small updates to the kitchen will recoup nearly 100 percent of their cost. Bottom line? Simple replacements cost a lot less and provide a bigger payback to homes than remodels or additions.
Top 5 projects nationally in terms of cost recouped:
1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
3. Garage door replacement—mid-range (88.5%)
4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
5. Garage door replacement—upscale (82.5%)
"The point is that the more expensive the work you do on a property, the higher the risk is that the buyer is not going to be willing to pay for it," Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a New York appraisal company told the New York Times recently. "If your kitchen is old and dated and you completely renovate it, you're gambling that the buyer is going to like your taste."
Focusing on renovation projects that improve the curb appeal of a home is a good strategy. Refinishing hardwood floors, replacing light fixtures, re-grouting bathroom tiles, giving the walls a fresh coat of paint are all simple renovations that can add big value. "A lot of these minor upgrades relate to appearance, and the first impression a buyer might get for a property," says Michael Vargas, an appraiser in Manhattan. "They're not necessarily concerned about what’s behind the wall; they're just concerned about how the property looks."
While not all remodeling jobs earn a killer payback, the Cost vs. Value survey found that minor kitchen remodels that focus on upgrading the cabinets, appliances, and countertops are often a good bet, with a national average payback of 79.3 percent.
Still, remodeling projects are not "one size fits all" and what sellers can hope to recoup from improving their home depends on many factors, including where they live, the condition of the home, the quality of the work, and if the upgrades are comparable to those in the neighborhood.
Top renovations for apartments and houses:
  1. Refinishing hardwood floors
  2. Painting walls
  3. Replacing kitchen countertops
  4. Installing new kitchen appliances
  5. Replacing kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts
Top renovations for houses only:
  1. Replacing the front door with a new steel-and-glass door
  2. Replacing the garage door
  3. Replacing siding
  4. Adding a wood deck
  5. Replacing windows with wood windows

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Welcome to Homeownership!!! Where's my Tool box?

Welcome to Homeownership!!!!

The process of owning a home is both exciting and a little scary. But know that owning a home has benefits. One of the main benefits is being able to write off the taxes on your income tax.  Yeah!! Now that is good news. That's what I call a bonus.

The difference between being a homeowner and a renter is that  a renter makes a call to the landlord for repairs.  But as a homeowner  you are your own landlord and the ownest is on you.

Don't get me wrong owning a home is rewarding and beautiful. This is where memories will be created like your children parties, sleepovers, dinner parties and so forth.

But we know that owning a home comes with upkeep, repairs, lawn work, and oh so much more.

Some common repairs that most of us can fix without having to call a professional to do are things like replacing a valve on a toilet, tightening a leaky faucet, replacing or putting up a ceiling fan, repairing drywall (done this many of times with 3 boys), replacing a light switch.  Most of these repairs are not costly. If you are handy then these repairs will seem like a piece of cake. On the other hand if you are not so handy then hiring a professional might be the way to go.

Here is a video for repairing a drywall from Lowe's, my favorite store. Because if you have kids this is inevitable and you will find yourself doing this repair many times.

Homeownership is something to be proud of and many of us strive to get this American dream everyday. 

Happy Homeownership!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Staging your home to sell

Staging Your Home To Sell

Home staging is more than cleaning and decluttering your home.  Home staging is creating an illusion.  A home can be staged by doing such things as  repositioning  the furniture to  make a room appear larger,adding  additional lighting to give the appearance of  a brighter room and of course making it feel warm and cozy by adding a pop of color.   It is about dressing up your house for sale kinda like getting dress for a fancy party.

Many sellers in the market today do not wish or want to spend any money on home staging. However, I think it is a must.  As a Realtor I think we owe it to our clients to help them through this process so that they can see the benefits.

Staging can be done with items you already have in the home.  The thing with staging is making old things look new again but placed differently and adding a little pizzaz.  Know that proper staging to a home is critical in today's market.

When potential buyers enter a home and you want to capture them immediately.  If the home has been staged it gives them a sense that this home has been well maintained and the sellers really care.  It's about presenting it right the first time. You only get one chance to wow them at the front door.  Why not invest the time, you will be glad you did.

Some benefits to staging your home: 17% higher sale price and in 11 days or less in 95% of staged homes according to  the ASP(Accredited Staging Professionals). 93% of staged homes sell in less than one month.  They sell 30-50% faster. However,these are just a few of the benefits to staging.  In today's market one may need to invest in home staging in order to get the most dollar for their home.

When the home is staged and depersonalized a buyer walking through the doors can see themselves living in the space.  After all that's what you are trying to capture.  

If you are planning to sell your home consider staging  because it will set you apart from other homes on the market.  It is worth the investment.

Staging is Appealing to potential home buyers!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Home buying in six steps

Buying a home is and can be a daunting process to home buyers. However, having a qualified Realtor who understands the process of what it entails will make the process a lot easier.
The first step to home ownership is building a good credit history, meeting pre-approval qualifications, knowing what kind of programs you qualify for, saving up for a down payment (10 -20%) of the property’s value, and considering closing cost (e.g. taxes, attorney fees, monthly bills, and/or Homeowners Association fees).  
Secondly, find a qualified Realtor, obtain a referral if possible from a friend, relative or search  Upon interviewing the agent, be sure to have an understanding of the buyer representation and contract agreements terms. 
Next, find the right property.  Always consider school zones, neighborhood amenities, monthly payments, accessibility, etc.
Later, finance your potential property. Contact the lender, and don't hesitate to ask questions about unclear financing terms (e.g. property taxes, escrow, and other real estate jargon).
Now, time to make your offer.  Have your property inspected by a licensed home inspector. Read all contracts before signing, and be certain you understand what your are signing.  Place a fair and competitive offer, because a counter-offer is possible at this time.  Remember, this is a critical time in your home buying process, so please don't purchase "big ticketed items" (e.g. cars, furniture, vacations, etc.) until your settlement is complete.

Lastly, settlement and life after purchasing your home.  By this time you will have signed your name hundreds of times.  Settlements usually occur at the title or mortgage company.  Your Realtor will be with you throughout this process, and an attorney will do most of the paper work.  Feel free to ask questions at anytime in order to gain a better understanding! Now Breathe!! You are officially a HOMEOWNER!!!! 

Nothing contained in this blog is intended as or shall be construed as establishing an enforceable agreement between the parties and such an agreement shall be formed only upon written execution of a mutually acceptable agreement which incorporates all terms agreed by and between the parties.