Pamela McArdle's Blog
A home inspection enables a buyer to examine a residence and identify any underlying structural issues. Plus, the assessment allows a buyer to receive a report that details a home inspector's findings to help him or her determine how to proceed in the homebuying journey.
Ultimately, it helps to prepare as much as possible before you conduct a home inspection. If you allocate time and resources to get ready for a home inspection, you'll be better equipped than ever before to achieve the best-possible inspection results.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home inspection.
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
There is no shortage of home inspectors for hire in cities and towns nationwide. However, differentiating an average home inspector from an expert one can be difficult.
When it comes to getting ready for a home inspection, it pays to hire an expert to assess a residence both inside and out. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can learn about myriad home problems before you finalize a house purchase.
To find an expert home inspector, it helps to reach out to home inspectors in your area. Learn about each home inspector's expertise and ask for client referrals. After you perform an extensive evaluation of home inspectors, you can hire an expert home inspector to assess any residence, at any time.
2. Develop a Game Plan
If you want to achieve the optimal results during a home inspection, it helps to enter the inspection with a plan in hand. That way, you can evaluate all aspects of a residence and improve your chances of identifying both minor and major home issues.
Ensure your home inspection plan includes assessments of a house's interior and exterior, as well as a residence's attic, basement and roof. Also, you should test a home's heating and cooling system during an inspection.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A home inspection may prove to be difficult if you fail to plan accordingly. Luckily, if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to maximize the value of a home inspection.
Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey. Once a seller accepts your offer on a home, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area. Then, you, your real estate agent and your home inspector can work together to perform a successful home evaluation.
A real estate agent will provide plenty of assistance after a home inspection too. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed with a house after an inspection, a real estate agent can offer recommendations to help you make an informed decision.
Want to take the guesswork out of a home inspection? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for an upcoming home inspection.
No matter what your age, buying a new home symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in your life. It's an exciting event, whether you're a first-time home buyer or a retiree looking to downsize. When you stumble upon a house in your price range that has the features and characteristics you've been searching for, it can be a life-changing moment!
Unfortunately, it's at this point that many people cast their good judgment to the wind! Although it's difficult to separate your emotions from the rational part of your brain, it's crucial that you try to make a balanced decision -- one that's based on your budget, your short-term needs, and your long-term goals.
Sometimes buyers can develop "tunnel vision" when they see a house with a white picket fence, a big backyard, or a cozy-looking eat-in kitchen. In some cases, people are irresistibly drawn to a house that reminds them of where they grew up. While all those elements can enhance a home's ambiance and charm, the most satisfying home-buying choices usually come from being able to look at "the big picture."
One vital step in the house-buying process that helps eliminate a lot of the risk is having the property carefully looked over by a certified house inspector. That way, even if your judgement is a little skewed by your emotional attachment to the house's architectural style or its resemblance to the house you grew up in, you can be reasonably sure it is structurally sound and free from any major defects. Although home inspectors can't look behind walls or accurately predict how long an HVAC system will last, they can provide you with valuable insights into the condition of the house, the stability of the foundation, and other aspects of the property. When you know the strengths and weaknesses of a house you're considering buying, you can make an informed decision that will be based, in large part, on a professional, objective opinion.
Other factors worth bringing into your decision might include the commuting distance to your job or business, the amount of privacy the property affords, the overall character of the neighborhood, and the proximity of the property to grocery stores, drug stores, other retail shops, entertainment, recreation, childcare, medical services, family, friends, and other necessities. When choosing a place to call home, you may also want to take note of how quiet (or noisy) the neighborhood is, its access to highways and transportation services, and the reputation and ranking of the local school district.
Additional information about desirable places to live can be gleaned from websites like Livability, U.S. News and World Report, Niche, Money Magazine, and the National Association of Realtors. To get expert guidance that relates to your specific circumstances and wish list, consider working with an experienced real estate agent. They'll help you navigate the market, negotiate on your behalf, and find the home that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
If you don’t have a lot of cash on hand to secure a home with a sizable downpayment, you might feel stuck. It’s quite a feat to be able to save up the 20 percent cost of a home that is generally required to purchase a home. Your options may seem limited when you want to own a home. There is one option that could be a good idea to consider when you’re in this situation. That’s the idea of finding a rent-to-own property.
How Does A Rent-To-Own Property Work?
First, know that these properties are hard to find. That’s why you may not have thought of it as a first option. When you do find a property like this that suits your needs, you should know all of the ins and outs before you commit to the home. The agreement works just as it sounds, but there are always a few bits of extra text that can make the difference in any agreement in a rent-to-own property.
Lease With A Purchase Option
With this type of agreement, you’ll need to pay what is called an option fee in order to give you the right to purchase the property at a later date. The seller is then required to sell the property to you as a tenant and apply the option fee to the price of purchase. If for some reason you have paid the option fee and decide to walk away from the property after a time, the money that you have paid as an option is simply lost. The option fee is usually a percentage of the purchase price ranging anywhere from 2-7 percent of the home’s price.
Lease And Purchase Agreement Rolled Into One
In this type of rent-to-own agreement, both the tenant and the seller agree on fixed purchase price for the home, or agree that a purchase price will be determined at a later date through an appraisal. Everything is set up from the beginning including the closing date for the home.
This type of deal in a rent-to-own situation is often considered the better choice. Know that a fixed price option may put you in a better financial position than an appraisal option. You’ll have instant equity in the property when you buy it. This is especially helpful in high competition markets. In any other types of market, you may be better off with an appraisal. This ensures that you don’t overpay for the house.
How Your Rent Payments Apply
Rent-to-own gives you an advantage in that you get the added benefit of rent credits. This is where a percentage of your monthly rent payment is applied to the purchase price of the home. The amount of percentage that’s applied will be agreed upon with your landlord ahead of time.
While a rent-to-own option to purchase a property can be a bit more complicated than other ways of purchasing a home, it can be a great way for people different financial situations to become home owners. Make sure you go over everything carefully before you sign anything so that you fully understand the agreement you’re entering into.
As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.
The Candles Are Burning Bright
You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.
Be Your Own Inspector
As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.
The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For
Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.
Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.
Science fiction has long reveled in the concept of autonomous homes and transportation. But it wasn’t until very recently that these dreams started to edge their way into reality. With semi-autonomous vehicles on the manufacturing line and “home assistants” like Google Home flying off the shelves, today’s average homeowner now has options.
The growing number of home automation technologies is encouraging even more innovation in a burgeoning market. But, the newness of these devices and the confusion around what they actually do can make it difficult to decide which one to bring into your home.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to some of today’s most handy smart home devices to burden the workload of homeownership and give you some tips on which of the best technologies are yet to come.
One of the first smart home devices to hit the shelves was arguably the home assistant. They look like small Bluetooth speakers but have the ability to respond to your voice commands. So far, the front runners are the Google Home and Amazon Echo, but there are a number of other brands in the running as well.
Many of the tasks you use a smartphone for can also be easily accomplished with a home assistant. Tell it to set or turn off your alarms, look up things on Google, ask about the weather, play music, and so on. The Amazon Echo functions similarly but also integrates with other smart home systems so you can control things like your lights and coffee maker just by asking.
Many home automation manufacturers have taken to selling kits that enable you to automate your home one outlet or device at a time. You can then control these devices with your smartphone, whether you’re at home or at the office. (Ever get worried you left the iron on? No more!)
The best part of these devices is how customizable they are and the fact that many integrate with assistants like Amazon Echo. However, some systems, like Samsung’s SmartThings, has its own central “hub” that connects your devices.
Smart home security
Security companies were one of the earliest adopters of automation. Today, many of the biggest home security companies (think ADT and Vivint) aren’t just making your home safer, they’re also making your life easier.
Common among these smart home security systems are things like cameras you can control with your smartphone from work, alerts from smoke and CO detectors, and door and window sensors to alert you if someone enters, or attempts to enter, your home.
These technologies are still evolving. That means each year newer, better devices will hit the market. However, this process of innovation will also drive down prices, which is good news for you as a homeowner and consumer. So, think about what your specific needs are and choose the products that fit them. And, if you’re not sure about any of the products on the market, don’t be afraid to hold off--the next best thing is right around the corner.