We’re Not Fixing Anything

THIL_Stubborn

Real estate has seen it’s share of trends come and go. From the Dusty Rose counter tops of the 1980’s, to Southwest decor, to the “everything has to be brown” color palate. From the rambling ranch to the split level to the garden home. And let’s not forget how the industry was taken by storm by the rise of the open concept living space.

Among the many challenges involved in buying and selling property is dealing with the “As Is” option, which seems to be gaining in popularity. I understand the motivation behind this tactic. Telling the buyer up front that the home will be sold in it’s current condition, regardless of the results of the home inspection seems like a savvy strategy. Letting them know from the beginning that you won’t be taking on any repairs would be sure to simplify the process, wouldn’t it? Cut those pesky repair negotiations right out of the process, right?

Wrong. There are many consequences of using this technique, however, simplification is rarely one of them. Let me tell you why.

When you start out the process of negotiating with the buyer by saying, “We’re not fixing anything” there are several thoughts that automatically go through the buyer’s minds and these are almost universal.

THIL_CloserLook1.) It makes the buyer suspicious.

While you may be trying to cut down on drama or unrealistic repair lists, practically the first thought that springs into the mind of the prospective buyer is, “They know there’s something wrong with the house and it must be something BIG for them to say that up front”. You have immediately injected negativity into both the negotiations and the minds of the buyers, and let me tell you something, it is difficult, if not impossible, to come back from that.

In a recent conversation on the subject, Wendy Jones of Keller Williams Realty in Lubbock, Texas, said it best. “A seller can really injure a relationship with a buyer and maybe even end it before it starts with the “As Is” option. In most cases the repairs that come up are minimal in cost, even in those deals that have a laundry list of to do’s.”

THIL_Frustrated22.) It puts the buyer in a combative frame of mind.

If you thought the buyers were going to go over your house with a fine tooth comb before this stipulation was introduced, brace yourself! Because now, they think you’re hiding something and more often than not, take it as a personal challenge to find it, or instruct their Inspector to be extra cautious.

And guess how we Inspectors react to this situation? Exactly the same as the buyers! The first thing we think is that we don’t even want to deal with this situation and/or we don’t want to get sued if we miss something, so… we will be extra sensitive about reporting even the smallest items if they can be even a slight warning sign of a problem.

Has the process gotten simpler yet?

THIL_WinTogether3.) It’s not necessary.

Listen, I get it. If you’ve had to come down on the price a lot more than you wanted to, it can be a knee jerk reaction to say, “Fine! But this is it! Don’t ask me for any repairs!” It’s understandable. But the fact of the matter is, if certain conditions exist, you’ll have to fix them for anyone to consider the purchase and in some cases, for the property to be insurable. Such as, you ask?

Such as a hail damaged roof. Unless you have a cash buyer, the roof will have to be insurable. So having said “no repairs” will have been both waste of breath and will have poisoned the relationship for nothing. And examples don’t end there.

Such as a Federal Pacific electrical panel. Such as Kitec plumbing. Such as issues with roof or floor framing in older homes. Such as termites or original sewer lines. These are just some of the items that most people will either want fixed, or want money off the sales price so they can have them fixed. In any case, they will have to be addressed one way or another. So why make the spirit of the deal negative and make the inevitable negotiations that much more difficult and the parties involved that much more rigid?

My advice is this: Take the situation as it comes. It’s entirely possible there won’t be any (or many) requested repairs. And if the buyers want you to repair something, but you feel you have done enough already by coming down on the sales price, just say no. Then they’ll know they’ll have to address it themselves, or they’ll walk away and you’ll both start over again. Just keep in mind that once you know about an issue, you have to disclose it to the future buyers. It’s not going away, so get ahead of the game by either addressing the issue with repairs or making it known up front.

Wendy_Jones_2Wendy Jones has some good advice here, as well. “I believe sellers often know they have deferred maintenance and are afraid of what might come up, but my job as their agent is to help them make good decisions, assess cost and even find experts to hire, as well as walk away from a deal that is just not in their best interest.” (Wendy Jones’ website can be accessed here: Wendy Jones Team

So, the takeaway here is to do your due diligence and be sure to get a great Realtor like Wendy Jones to advise you. A pre-market home inspection can also go a long way to easing your mind, or at least letting you know for certain what you’ll be looking at dealing with in the future. Knowledge is your friend!

Thanks again for reading my blog! Please be sure to comment below and “Like” and share on your preferred social media platform. And as always, I wish you a safe and happy home!

 

What Should Home Owners Do Four Times a Year?

THIL_Megaphone

If you’re a follower of my blog, you know how often I “soap box” it up about home maintenance. It’s kind of a big deal, so I try to emphasize it to my readers. Today, let’s talk about your appliances. I know. You’re thinking, “Edie, stop! That’s too sexy for a home inspector blog!” And you’d be right, but we’re all adults here, so let’s dive in!

When I use the word “appliances” I’m not just referring to your kitchen and laundry room. Your heater, water heater and AC condenser are appliances, too. They’re just not the kind that are, well, there it is again… sexy.  No one cares what the heater, water heater and condenser look like. No flashy colors. No front loaders or sleek designs. They are utilitarian and all anyone cares about is buying one that will last the longest, run the cheapest and require the least care and maintenance.

THIL_TooLateBut, maintain them you should and the fact is, most people only look at these items when they quit working. Not a good plan. I know it’s not in the forefront of everyone’s minds, what with living life and all, but, you should physically look at these items several times each year. A good way to remember to do this is to plan to look at them with the changing of each season.

Here’s a good example of the importance of seeing these appliances with your own eyes. My father-in-law recently went into the hospital for back surgery. We thought he would be home in a few days. That was, however, the beginning of a stay in the hospital that lasted for months. When they finally got back home, I was taking out the trash for them and passed the closet that held their water heater and the pressure tank for their well.

I can’t tell you how many times I have opened the water heater closet door in a home THIL_CrisisAvertedthat was still occupied by the owners and found a leaking water heater and an emergency drain pan full of water. So, when I walked back into the garage, I opened the closet doors. Thankfully, the water heater was fine, but the pressure tank for the well had developed a slight leak that my in-laws were not aware of, what with all they had been through.

It was a small leak, but if it had gotten worse, there would have been damage that would’ve had to be repaired along with the leaking plumbing connection. Believe me, it can happen in ANY home. We do final inspections for some local home building companies and in one house Rob climbed into the attic and found the heater’s emergency drain pan was minutes away from overflowing and ruining ceilings, flooring and the planned closing date!

THIL_FoursSeasonsSo, with every changing season, make it a point to look at your appliances to see if you can maybe spot trouble coming and head it off. While you’re at it, check those water supply lines and cutoffs under your sinks, at your toilets and at the washing machine. If you see green or white corrosion, have it checked out and replaced, if needed.

Another item that regularly gets ignored is the filter for your heater/AC. Believe it or not, regularly changing the filter (normally located at the base of the heating unit, but can also be found in the return air ducts in the ceilings in your home) can actually keep your utility bills more reasonable. The more efficient your system works, the lower your bills. If the system has to try to work through clogged air filters, then get ready for those bills to head north!

Thanks again for stopping by my blog! Please feel free to comment or send me your feedback and/or questions at thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com . I wish you all a Happy New Year and, as always, I wish you a safe and happy home!

Does A Newly Built Home Need an Inspection?

THIL_Subdivision

America’s economy is booming, and that means new home construction is booming, as well! This is a good thing, but a home building industry in high gear does have some downsides. You may think that only an older home or a home that has had at least one previous owner needs a home inspection prior to the purchase, but this isn’t the case. Any time you’re plunking down home-buying money, it definitely pays to pay a professional.

But… It’s brand new 

THIL_NewHomeYour prospective home may be brand spanking new, but that doesn’t guarantee that it’s problem free. Our years spent inspecting new construction has taught us that even a home builder with the best work ethic can’t be looking over every subcontractor’s shoulder all the time. When you add in the fact that many builders have multiple projects going on at the same time, that increases the likelihood that something can get overlooked.

We’ve seen showers with no hot water, plumbing leaks, doors that won’t close and, most recently, improperly wired switches and outlets. And that’s just to name a few. These are things that would typically be noted by a licensed or certified Home Inspector and, more importantly, they’re things you would not want to find out only after an exhausting day of moving into the house.

But… I trust my builder

That’s good. A good working relationship with your builder can go a long way towards THIL_BuilderRelationshipmaking the home buying process go much more smoothly. However, you’re the one who is investing in his or her product. It makes sense to protect yourself as much as possible before embarking on one of the most expensive investments you will ever make in your life.

Would you buy a stock without checking out its past performance? Would you buy a car without taking a test drive? Did you even buy your last mattress without laying down on it first? I doubt it! So why would anyone buy a home, even a new home, without having a professional “kick the tires”, so to speak?

But… I’m afraid my builder will be insulted

THIL_AngryBuilderTime out. If you were selling your home, wouldn’t you expect the buyer to have it inspected? Of course you would, and you’re (probably) not a professional in real estate. If you tell your builder that you want to have a Home Inspector check out the house and you are greeted with anything but enthusiasm and encouragement, that is a red flag!

We have worked with builders for years and can tell you that if they are confident in the quality of their work they’ll welcome an inspection.

But… My house was inspected by the City Building Inspection Department

My hubby was a Building Inspector for the municipality in which we live for 18 years. THIL_CityInspectionThe difference between a final inspection from the City and a home inspection is quite significant. A final inspection from a municipality is a code check. This is a good and necessary inspection that will still alert a builder to code items that may have been overlooked. However, it is very basic, especially compared to a home inspection.

Did you know that a city inspector does not test plumbing fixtures or the HVAC system? Did you know they don’t test doors or windows? They don’t test drains, appliances or sprinkler systems, either. And they shouldn’t. It isn’t appropriate for a code inspection.  That’s where a professional Home Inspector, who is working solely for you, can be invaluable.

But… I’m already spending so much! I don’t want to spend more money

THIL_TooExpensiveIf this describes your feelings about paying for a home inspection, allow me to help you see things differently. And by differently, I mean correctly. In your mind, right now, picture the price or price range of the house you want to buy. Now, imagine how you’ll feel about that number if you sign on the dotted line, move in and then find that the master bathroom shower isn’t draining, or the emergency drain pan for the HVAC system overflows, ruining at least one of your ceilings, floor coverings and your personal items (yes, we have inspected new homes with emergency drain pans that were a fraction of an inch from overflowing).

Imagine how you’d feel about the purchase price if, say, the whirlpool bathtub didn’t have GFCI protection. For those of you who don’t speak Home Inspector, that means a giant sudsy tub of possible shock hazard.

So, in short, every home purchase, whether for your family or as an investment, should THIL_SmartMoneybe inspected by a professional Home Inspector. Whether it’s to house your family or a tenant, a house is an investment and should be approached as such, with careful consideration and as much protection as possible.

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and please feel free to Pin, Like and Share on your favorite social media. You’re welcome to comment below, or send your questions or comments to thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com. And, as always, I wish you a safe and healthy home.

 

Normal Repair or a Cover Up?

THIL_CloserLook

Ever sold a house? Your own, I mean. You Realtors can put your hands down. Unless you’re a Realtor who has sold your own house. In that case, you’re back in!

The experiences will vary, but most conscientious home sellers are eager to get their house in tip-top shape before it goes on the market. They touch up the caulking and paint, declutter, rid the house of pet odors or musty smells. Many even have a Home Inspector do a pre-market home inspection, so they have an idea of what needs to be addressed.

THIL_Questions

Did you know that some of the actions listed above might make a third party suspicious? It’s true! Sadly, I have seen with my own eyes the lengths to which some people will go to hide deficiencies in their home. Most recently we inspected a house (with a rather large price tag) that had poorly done wood putty in most window sills and paint so fresh it was still tacky. Another troubling aspect was that the windows, though not all that old, were not operating.

THIL_PaintRollerSure, it’s no crime to prepare your home for sale by touching up some things and making repairs to others. In the case of the aforementioned expensive house, however, I later found out that the seller in question had made an appointment with another Home Inspector on two separate occasions and both times the seller had refused to let the Inspector enter the house. Hmmmm. Seems odd, doesn’t it?

Most Home Inspectors today will make a note of the smell of fresh paint, or newly applied texture to walls and ceilings. These will definitely be items of interest to someone performing a wood destroying insect inspection. It may be that it’s nothing but freshening up the house for sale, or the results of a remodel, but the liability that Home Inspectors face makes us wary of neglecting to mention these types of items, just in case things aren’t on the up and up.

Please don’t let this information deter you from making legitimate repairs or THIL_Repairsmaintenance to your home. Just keep it in mind so you’re not taken by surprise if it comes up in the course of the sale. 99% of the time it won’t be meant to offend. People just want to be confident in the home they’ve chosen to buy. Let’s face it, with the way things are today, you can’t blame people for asking the question.

Intentionally covering up a problem is not just bad form, it carries with it legal ramifications that can and will follow you. If you fill out a Seller’s Disclosure that fails to list known problems, your troubles with that home are far from over if your buyer decides to take it to court. It’s just not worth it, folks.

Thanks again for stopping by my blog. Please Pin, Like and Share on your social media platform of choice and please feel free to comment in the space below. You can also email your questions or comments to thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com . Have a great day and I wish you a safe and happy home.

 

Unpleasant Surprises

THIL_WelcomeBack

Hello, readers! As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since my last blog post. I blame the busy summer season for my hiatus. However, I’m happy to be back and am eager to share this post, as it is important for Inspectors, Realtors and house hunters alike!

Sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with new subject matter. After many posts, it can seem there’s precious little fresh material to cover.

And then… some new material presents itself.

This last week we were inspecting an older home that was vacant. I walked into the guestTHIL_BuyerBeware bathroom and, of course, started turning on the switches for the lights and the exhaust fan. The lights came on, so I directed my attention to the round object in the ceiling above my head, thinking it was the exhaust fan and expecting it to start running.

Instead, the actual ceiling fan in the center of the room’s ceiling began to run. Curious! If that was the ceiling fan, then what was the object in the ceiling above my head? It looked just like a speaker that people use in a surround sound system. But, why would anyone install a speaker in the bathroom? I checked the ceilings in the rest of the house and found no other speaker-like objects.

THIL_MysteryAs you may know, I’m a girl. I’m also a Home Inspector, which makes me sort of unable to resist investigating the unknown. So, I grabbed my flashlight and shined it on the object and saw a camera lens behind the surface material. The lens part swiveled so it could be aimed at different areas, but was, at the time, aimed at the tub/toilet area.

Let’s just take a moment here to absorb the creepiness of what I just told you. Shiver, if THIL_Horrifiedyou like. I know I did. It was something that I have never come across before. It was unthinkable to me to wonder how many unsuspecting people, male and female alike, not to mention possibly children, had their privacy violated by some creeper while they used the bathroom. Or, if they were guests, had showered, unaware that they were being watched. Okay, let’s all shiver again. It’s warranted.

An interesting caveat to this story is that the home buyer was a police officer and informed me that this type of action was, in fact, a crime.

Someone asked me not long ago what was, in my opinion, the number one rule for Home Inspectors today. My reply was that with technology being what it is, the Home Inspector should assume they are on camera every moment of the inspection and conduct themselves accordingly, in both word and deed. Who knew that would be prophetic?

THIL_SurveillanceSo, the takeaway from this unfortunate incident is this: whenever you are in someone else’s home, whether showing the home, touring the home or inspecting the home, be aware that you may not be as alone as you assume. If possible, refrain from using the bathrooms and be sure to keep any unflattering comments about the home to yourself until you are safe in your car with the doors closed.

A Realtor friend of mine had her buyers win out in a bidding war even though her client’s offer was lower. The deciding factor for the sellers? Both parties had stood on the front porch after the tour discussing the situation. My friend’s buyers went on and on about how much they loved the house. Their competition had been less than gracious and said that the sellers had better accept their offer or there would be trouble! Unbeknownst to all parties, the camera on their front porch was also wired for sound and the sellers had heard every word of both conversations.

So, beware, my real estate savvy friends! The future is now and it is always watching!

Thanks again for stopping by and please feel free to comment below, or to shoot me an email with any of your home inspection related questions. Feel free to like and share you your preferred social media platform. As always, I wish you a safe and happy home!

 

I Bought a House. Now What?

THIL_HappyHomeowner

Okay, let’s assume all went well with your home purchase and you are now a real, grown-up, property tax paying home owner. Touchdown!! Spike the ball, do your victory dance and revel in your real estate owning glory! Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about one of the most important tasks of owning a home: Maintenance.

I know, it’s not sexy. But proper maintenance of your home will pay off big time in the long haul, whether it’s a higher asking price when it’s time to sell, fewer repair requests during the negotiations of your sale or the just the money you keep by avoiding larger problems caused by deferred maintenance.

THIL_HomeMaintenance“So how do I properly maintain my home?” you ask? It’s really not complicated. The first thing you need to do is actually look at your house. Seeing something every day causes people to stop really SEEING it. So, every time the seasons change (it’s just four times a year, for crying out loud), walk around your home, inside and out and look at your house. What are you looking for? Let’s start with the exterior:

  • Chipped or peeling paint. On anything. Trim, siding, soffit and fascia… whatever is painted. Once the paint starts to deteriorate, the protection it affords the materials underneath is compromised.
  • Missing roof covering. Most homes have composition-style shingles, so see if there are any shingles that have been blown off or damaged. If you’d like an expert’s opinion, do yourself a favor: DO NOT call your home owner’s insurance agency first. Most roofing companies (at least in this area of the country) will come out and take a look for free. If you call your insurance company first, they will have to generate a claim just to be able to send an adjuster out to have a look. Claims = rising premiums.
  • While we’re talking roofs… how do those gutters look? They need to be free of THIL_Ext_Home_Maintdebris, well secured and discharge in a well drained area.
  • Cracked or missing caulking. Exterior trim is usually sealed at the edges with caulking. If yours is cracked or missing, grab a fresh tube and re-seal it. Caulking is super cheap and seals out water and pests, such as bees. Those little suckers can get into the tiniest of spaces.
  • Cracks in mortar. Most homes with brick exteriors will see some type of cracking in the mortar. These can be pointed up, however, if the cracking seems severe or gets worse over time, call a Home Inspector to check it out.
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed back away from your house and away from your air conditioner’s condenser. Branches can cause premature wear to the exterior of your home and shrubs or debris around your condenser can interfere with your AC’s efficiency and operation.
  • THIL_CrackedStemWallIf you have a pier and beam foundation, check out the concrete stem wall that should be visible from the exterior of the house. If you see cracking or spalling, which is the breaking off of parts of the wall into fragments, you may want to call a foundation repair company. Especially if this is accompanied by floors that feel “bouncy” or are unlevel.

 

That’s a good basic check of the exterior. Now… we’re going in!

  • Look at your major appliances: Heaters, AC units and water heaters are routinely THIL_InspectYourHomeneglected completely until they stop working. At least four times a year you should take a good look at the exterior of these appliances. Is there any water in the emergency drain pans at the heater or water heater? If there is, that means trouble! Call an appliance repair person (or home warranty company) immediately and stop using that appliance until a professional gives you the green light. I should mention here that it is also important to regularly change the filter on your HVAC system.
  • It never hurts to have a reputable HVAC company come and inspect your heater and AC once a year. They have the knowledge to alert you to potential problems on the horizon.
  • Test those smoke/carbon monoxide detectors! Wait… are you one of those people who removed their smoke detectors and never put them back? Are you?? You did a bad thing! You go to the store right now, get fresh batteries and put them back! I can’t believe you! I don’t even know you anymore. (Just kidding, but really I’m not.)
  • Test your windows and look for cracked panes, or panes that have lost their seal. The tell tale sign of a loss of the window’s seal is cloudiness and condensation between the panes. Make sure each bedroom has at least one operable window, in case emergency exit is needed. Replace any cracked or missing caulking on the interior trim.
  • Look in your attic. CAREFULLY! Attics without decking can be difficult or dangerous THIL_Atticto get around in for folks who aren’t used to doing so. Even a professional like my husband had to fix a ceiling he stepped through once, because insulation concealed the end of a walkway. Look for water stains, signs of pests such as squirrels or raccoons – we’ve even seen bees – and rafters that are deflecting, or bowing downward. This could indicate a need for additional support. If you feel out of your depth here, you can call a Home Inspector to check it out for you.
  • If you have a crawl space under your home, rather than a concrete slab, it’s a good idea once a year or so to make sure your plumbing is in good shape and not leaking. It’s also important to insulate your water lines, if you live in an area that drops below freezing in winter.
  • THIL_UnderTheSinkLook under your sinks. If you see leaking drains, or green/white corrosion on water supply cutoffs, get those addressed right away. Make sure the water lines themselves look to be in good condition. Water damage and flooding are a nightmare for home owners and also can cause insurance premiums to rise.

As a Home Inspector it behooves me and my profession to insert a shameless plug here and point out that a yearly home inspection can be extremely beneficial to a home owner. Using the same Home Inspector every year can ensure uniformity of reporting, which can allow you to compare the reports as time goes on and see if there are any issues that appear to be getting worse.

So, people, let’s keep those eyes peeled and avoid the problems and costs that can be  associated with neglecting your house. That isn’t to say that problems can’t arise with no warning. They absolutely can. So do everything within your power to swing the odds in your favor by taking good care of the place you call home.

THIL_YayFamily

Thanks again for stopping by. Please do Pin, Like and share on your social media of choice and feel free to reach out by comment below or email at thehomeinspectorlady.com . As always, I wish you a safe and healthy home!

The #1 Home Inspector Pitfall

THIL_Caution

Generally speaking, the more you do something, the better you get at doing it. Who would think that there would be a downside to that? Well, there is, and the downside for longtime Home Inspectors is both surprising and surprisingly obvious.

As Home Inspectors, we work every day in a process that most people only go through a THIL_ComfortZonefew times in their lives: buying a home. We are comfortable in a process that, for most people, is fraught with stress and raw nerves. We see deficiencies in homes every day, but it has no affect on us personally, because we have no skin in the game. While it’s important for Home Inspectors to keep their impartiality, our familiarity with the process makes it easy to forget what our clients need from us.

I once learned this lesson the hard way. We had scheduled a home inspection for a young couple that were first time home buyers. They were, what I like to call a “flight risk”. They were on a tight budget and were very nervous about the condition of the home and any potentially expensive problems that could arise after the sale.

THIL_Disappointed2The Realtor had told us that this couple wanted to attend the inspection from start to finish. Our mistake? Complacency. We arrived at the vacant house about 30 minutes early and our comfort with the process led us to an, “Oh, it’s no big deal if we get a little head start” attitude. I didn’t take the buyer’s needs seriously. And while the buyers didn’t make a big deal about it at the inspection, they were very upset. So much so that I got an email from their Realtor an hour later conveying not only their disappointment, but hers as well, seeing as she had been quite specific beforehand.

I replied to the Realtor with an epic mia culpa. We had dropped the ball. And while we THIL_Apologyhad delivered a thorough home inspection and report, we had neglected what our client had needed just as much; an active and personal role in the inspection of their future home. They needed that experience to help allay their fears of buying a money pit. And no matter how much I apologized, I could now never give them what they had needed. We waived the inspection fee and again offered our written apology to the buyers. This helped us to salvage our relationship with both parties.

We truly do learn more from our mistakes than from our successes, and I learned a valuable lesson that day. Some people need more from their Home Inspector than cold, hard facts. Just like in any profession, customer service is crucial. Home Inspectors must remember that, unlike us, this is not an everyday occurrence for our buyers, and they are usually anything but comfortable with the home inspection process.

THIL_WinTogether

Thanks again for visiting my blog! Please do Pin, Like or Share on your favorite social media (you can find the buttons somewhere around here). Send me any comments or questions either via the comment section below or at thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com  and as always, I wish you a safe and happy home.

 

 

 

Sellers: How to Handle Bad News From an Inspector

THIL_ForSalePeople sell homes for so many different reasons. Some people simply outgrow their home. Some people need to downsize. Some people relocate for a job… or love. Sometimes it’s due to a divorce. Other times people have to sell a parent’s home after their passing.

No matter the reason, most of the time a home inspection will be involved, and while everyone hopes for a smooth transition, sometime unexpected problems pop up. Some of the most common are that the roof needs to be replaced or that termites are discovered. More recently the dreaded phrase “Kitec plumbing” has surfaced. Sometimes an Inspector will uncover a problem with a foundation.

THIL_Frustrated

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being the recipient of bad news, let’s be honest… it’s usually a gut punch for the seller. Particularly if they had no idea the problem existed. So before your world starts spinning, here are some tips to help you deal with the issues at hand.

1.) Take a Breath

THIL_HappyPlaceI know it was probably the last thing you were expecting, but the best thing you can do to successfully deal with the situation is to keep a clear head and not loose your temper. You can’t un-say something that could potentially kill the deal, so remember, people rarely regret things they didn’t say.

2.) Get More Information

Anyone can make a mistake, even professional Home Inspectors. If you feel the reported item or items were not accurate, or you just don’t understand them, try to speak with or meet with the Inspector, so you can be sure you understand exactly what was reported. I am constantly surprised at how people can simply misunderstand something in an inspection report.

THIL_MoreInfoIn one inspection report many years ago, we had reported that the property had an ungrounded electrical system. The buyer assumed that meant the service lines from the pole in the alley to the house should have been run underground and were run overhead instead. I was very glad he called us to clarify before he asked the owner to relocate the lines underground!

3.) Think Outside the Mail Box

See what I did there?

Some things in a traditional real estate deal are non-negotiable. If a buyer is financing aTHIL_ManySolutions home, the roof must be insurable. If the Inspector and three roofing contractors say your roof needs to be replaced, your roof will have to be replaced before closing. Period.

However, if you have a cash buyer, an adjustment in the purchase price to cover the repairs after closing can be arranged. Did your Inspector find termites? Treatment can cost a pretty penny! In our area it can run between $800.00 and $1,200.00. Don’t have the cash for that? Ask if a less expensive spot treatment will solve the problem. If not, some companies will perform the treatment, then submit their invoice for payment at closing. If that’s not an option in your area, if your buyer is really in love with the house, they may be willing to pay for the treatment themselves to be able to stay in contract. (Some types of financing don’t allow this option, so talk to your Realtor.)

As a Home Inspector, I would be remiss if I neglected this opportunity to once again remind my readers of how a premarket home inspection could circumvent many of these problems, but I digress. Well, I will after the following:

THIL_PreMarket

The point is, not everything that needs to be addressed has to be an out-of-pocket expense for the seller. Sales price adjustments can be agreed upon, allowances at closing can be arranged, or a buyer may just decide they are willing to deal with it after the sale, as long as they know up front what they’ll be taking on as a home owner. The most important thing for the buyer is ensuring that their home owner’s insurance company will insure the house, as is. So don’t skip that step!

So, shoTHIL_Solutionuld you get some bad news after your inspection, remember, there are many was to reach a happy resolution. Just keep calm, be flexible and keep your eyes on the prize: A big fat “SOLD” sign in your yard.

Thanks again for following this blog, and if you haven’t followed it yet, you can by signing up at the top of this page. As always, I’d LOVE to hear from you. You can use the comment section below or please email me your questions, comment or experiences in real estate at thehomeinspector lady.com . As always, I wish you a safe and happy home!

The Truth About “Bad Home Builders”

THIL_HomebuildingGood builders. Bad builders. How can you tell? The Home Inspector Lady gives top tips and hints for vetting your prospective builder, keeping the relationship solid and what to do to try and salvage a bad situation.

My hubby, Rob, is a smart guy. (He’s also handsome. And a pretty darn good designer. He’s a GREAT gardener. But I digress.)

Back to my original point. With 25+ years in the construction industry, 18 of those years in building/home inspection, he has loads of experience with home builders. He’s seen them come and go, and he has a very wise saying: Every home builder has to go back and fix things after the sale. EVERY home builder. It’s referred to as “Warranty Work”. The difference between a good home builder and a bad home builder is how well they deal with the warranty work. 

THIL_WarrantyThe best way to know how well your builder handles the warranty work, is to talk to his other clients. Ask for a list of people who have lived in their homes for at least a year and see what they have to say. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau, but when you do, don’t just look at the rating. See if any reviews have been submitted and read them, remembering to be objective. Social media is another way to go, but remember that this can be manipulated by former employees, professional rivals and even ex husbands and ex wives. Angie’s List is another good source that allows companies to respond to any reviews that are posted.

If you’re considering buying a newly constructed home, please don’t delude yourself. There will be things that the builder has to come back and fix. There will. We work with some of the best home builders in the Lubbock area and they all have to do warranty work. They tell me that among the most commonly reported items are doors that don’t latch and roof leaks. Just because things like this come up, don’t panic. It is very common and it does not mean that you bought a money pit.

THIL_ChecklistWhile things like roof leaks do need to be taken care of immediately, give your builder a reasonable amount of time to get to the less vital items, since they likely have warranty work to perform on every house they build. In fact, a good strategy would be to keep a list of items that need to be addressed and make an appointment to meet with your builder at your home after you have been there for six months. Then, before the meeting is over, schedule another appointment in four to five months so any other items that come up can be taken care of before your one year warranty is out.

If you’re reading this a little too late and things have made a turn for the worse with your builder, the best thing to do in the immediate future is to stop the bleeding. If things have gotten heated or contentious, see if  you can deal with someone else in the organization. If that’s not an option, try the sympathetic approach. Let your builder know that you understand the pressure and hectic schedule of the home building industry. Remind him that it is also stressful to make the biggest investment of your life in a home and that you know that both of you want the same thing: a good working relationship and an acceptable resolution.

THIL_ArguingIf it’s too far gone for any of that, I highly recommend a professional mediator. In these situations, litigation is often a no win situation, as home buyers rarely recover anything and both sides end up with legal bills. I would urge you to leave legal action as a last resort in a situation that can’t get any worse. But, of course, every situation is unique and you should use your own best judgement.

And also… Don’t skip the home inspection! Even on new construction. You’d be genuinely surprised at the items we find on a home inspection on new construction. Many times these are things that you don’t want to discover when you’re moving in (no hot water at the master bathroom shower, air conditioner isn’t working… we’ve even found a slab leak at a new construction inspection!)

THIL_SmartMoney
Smart Money!

It can also be extremely helpful to have your home inspector perform another inspection a month or two  before the end of your warranty. He or she will produce a report that is very thorough, has photos and can be passed on to your builder for the final warranty work session.

 

 

Thanks again for stopping by! As always, Pin, Like and Share on your social media platform of choice. I’d love to have your feedback, questions and/or comments in the form below. Have a great day, and I wish you a safe and happy home!

 

 

 

Has Your House Had a Check Up Lately?

THIL_StethoscopeIt’s cold and flu season again and I don’t know about you, but this area was hit HARD. The hospitals were full and had people waiting for beds. Your neck of the woods was probably much the same, so while maintaining your family’s health is front and center in your thoughts, I want to urge you not to neglect the health of what shelters your family… your house.

While we commonly refer to a home’s “condition,” it is really the same as talking about the health of your home. Just as we can break our bones, our home’s structure can need repair as well. The human body uses electricity, just as your house does. And plumbing… well, let’s not go there. Suffice it to say that whether it’s a human or a residence, when a plumbing system is not working correctly, the whole family can tell!

THIL_RoofYou may think you only need a Home Inspector if you are buying a home, but having a yearly home inspection can help diagnose issues that you may not be aware of. Really, how many people regularly walk on their roof? Or inspect their soffit and fascia for wear from tree branches, gaps that water and pests can use to invade your home and chipped and peeling paint? How many people examine the exterior walls for cracked caulking around windows and doors? These issues are easily and cheaply fixed if caught early, but deferred maintenance increases the likelihood that items will have to be replaced rather than repaired and that, my friend, can cost big money.

And that’s just a few items on the exterior.

THIL_ChecklistA Home Inspector can examine and test your heating and air conditioning system, duct work, plumbing and plumbing fixtures, water heater, attic structure and insulation, fireplace and chimney, windows, doors, ceilings, floors and appliances. And while no Home Inspector can guess or guarantee the remaining life of any system or appliance, he or she can alert you to visible signs of possible impending problems. Like the home we inspected yesterday. Built in 2006, it was a lovely, clean, well maintained home, but like most homeowners, they hadn’t looked at their 66 gallon water heater in a while, so they had not seen the rusting that had developed at the base of the unit. See the photo below.

DSCN0534

It was like that all the way around the base of the unit. Of course the buyer wanted the unit replaced, so it was just one more thing to negotiate and complicate the process.

THIL_LaughingSo don’t neglect the health of your home. Let a Home Inspector be the chicken soup for your home’s soul! Get your home a check up today! And if you figure out the “flue shot” joke I couldn’t quite come up with, leave it in the comment section below.

Please Pin, Like and Share on your favorite social media and feel free to email me with any questions you may have about homes and/or home inspection at thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com . Thanks, and I wish you a healthy, happy home!