July 2018 - Comey & Shepherd Realtors

6 Home-Shopping Red Flags Even an Inspector Could Miss

The home inspection should catch any deal breakers, right? Not so fast.

Bill Loden, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), has been inspecting homes for the past 20 years. But he says some home headaches simply don’t reveal themselves during a standard inspection — and some are outside an inspector’s scope.

“There are things homeowners think we can do, but we can’t,” he explained. “And honestly, most people don’t want to pay for [a specialist].”

To get the most value from your home inspection, it’s important to know a few things even professionals might miss.

1. Partially blocked or damaged sewer lines

Some house problems don’t show up overnight, and a partially blocked or damaged sewer line often falls in this camp.

“We’ll run water through the fixtures, but we’re there for a limited time,” Loden explained. “Two to four hours might not be long enough for the problem to reveal itself.”

Inspectors will likely determine the type of drain pipe used and estimate its age. They may also look for trees or stumps near the sewer pipe that could cause damage. However, sewer-pipe scoping (sending a camera down the line) isn’t typically included in a standard inspection.

2. Failing HVAC equipment

Similar to damaged sewer lines, HVAC equipment can be fine one day and stop working the next.

“If I check an air conditioner when temperatures are moderate, it can seem fine,” Loden explained. “But under stress, when temperatures shoot up, it can fail.”

Loden says inspectors can bring an HVAC contractor with them for the inspection, but typically it’s not worth the investment when you compare the cost of buying a new unit.

“It will cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 [to hire a contractor] and could take two to three days to complete,” he said.

3. Cracked heat exchanger

An area where you may want to pay for an HVAC contractor: an old furnace.

“In my area in Alabama, we have a lot of package units [furnace/air conditioner combined] that sit outside. It’s not part of the standard inspection to examine the heat exchanger, but a lot of them develop cracks that can allow the indoor air to mix with combustion air that has carbon monoxide,” he explained. “You don’t want that in the house.”

Loden recommends having an HVAC contractor examine the heat exchanger if a furnace is more than 10 years old.

“If the HVAC contractor does find such a crack, by law they have to replace it before the furnace can be used again,” he said.

4. Electrical problems

Loden says the best way to think about a standard home inspection is a “visual inspection,” because when it comes to electrical issues, inspectors can’t always determine the problem’s source.

“If I find a receptacle that doesn’t have ground, I know it’s disconnected somewhere, but I don’t know where,” he said. “You’re going to have to have an electrician find the disconnect in the system.”

5. Structural issues

Is the roof sagging, or is it part of your new home’s architectural style? Luckily, a home inspector should be able to tell.

“All roofs — at least wood roofs — have some inconsistencies. A home inspector knows what’s normal and what’s not,” Loden said.

However, when it comes to identifying how bad a problem is or how much it’s going to cost to repair, an inspector isn’t the right person to ask.

“Because we’re not licensed structural engineers, we’ll refer homeowners to one,” Loden said.

6. Leaks

Leaks may not be there one day and show up the next. For this reason, inspectors might not initially detect them.

“A lot of times we go into vacated homes,” Loden explained. “With the plumbing system not being used on a daily basis, any leaks may have dried up. And it may take a couple days after the water is turned on for the leaks to make themselves visible.”

Loden recalls his own home inspection when it was pouring rain. “The roof was not leaking when I moved in, but six weeks later it was,” he said. “A home inspection is not a guarantee that the house won’t have problems in the future.”

He says that the best thing you can do is carefully check the drains in cabinets before and during your move.

“A lot of times homeowners place belongings under there. Sometimes they’ll pack them up after the inspection and bump the drain traps, causing them to start leaking. The same thing can happen when you move in.”

At the end of the day, the key is to take precautions and make sure you find a certified inspector who has been inspecting in your area for a long time.

“They learn where failures are likely to occur,” Loden said.

 

Source: Zillow

5 Steps to Ease the Stress of the Sale of Your Home

Since you’re convinced that the fall is a good time sell, here are some often overlooked steps to take to ease the stress of the sale of your home. Staging is one of them. Here are another five that will help you sail through the sale.

  1. Make a list of improvements you’ve made and any issues you’ve experienced while living in your home

Highlight and disclose improvements you’ve made in addition to any issues you may have experienced while living in your home, especially if you’ve owned your home for a while. For example, chimney fires, water damage, a flooded basement, or the addition of a French drain system, too.

  1. Be aware of how your listing appears online

Get online and Google your address. Why? Because almost all buyers search online for homes these days. And you need to be aware of how your listing looks on the Internet. For example, not all of your recent home improvements show up on Google Maps’ street view. You need to flag each one of those updates that aren’t showing up.

And what does the site give as an estimated value for your home? It may be very different from the asking price you’ve put on your home. Sometimes tax records have the wrong information about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms in your home. Not to worry. Just be aware and get it fixed. It’s easy to do.

  1. Take a look at your home from the curb

What do you see? Cosmetic repairs, even minor ones, can cost you the sale if they’re not taken care of. First impressions are that important and can make all the difference when it comes to a sale. When your home is well-kept, it gives a good first impression. It shows you take great pride in your home. The buyer sees the care you have taken and translates that into less energy and cost for themselves as they prepare to move in.

  1. Clean every nook and cranny

Potential buyers look everywhere! They look inside drawers, cabinets, closets, even the dishwasher and washing machine. Potential buyers judge how clean everything is as part of that first impression mentioned in step three. Spending the time and money needed to deep-clean your home will come back to you ten-fold.

  1. Let your agent know which items aren’t to be included in the sale

From custom window treatments to appliances, if they’re not included in the sale, tell your agent. Unless specifically excluded in the contract, the law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer. If you want to take your flat-screen TV, chandelier, or custom pot rack, play it safe. Pack it, replace it, or label it as soon as you list your home on the market. Don’t let buyers bank on owning the items and be disappointed when they move in.

As I like to say, look at your house through the eyes of a buyer. Would you want to buy your house? What needs to be repaired or updated? Fix clean, update, and get the clutter you see outta there before you list your home. Selling a home is stressful, but you can ease the stress with these five simple steps.

 

Source: Brooklyn Real Estate Blog