Friday, October 21, 2011

A Well Maintained Home Means a Quicker Sale

Your home mortgage payment is the most expensive item in your monthly budget, so your home should be maintained properly to hold its value. Individuals often think that just paying the mortgage each month and painting the home will build value. This attitude is fine until you get ready to put your home on the market. A home will show better and sell quicker if it has been well maintained and is priced right. Let me give you a perfect example. In 2004, we put our home on the market to move to Colorado from another state. We focused on areas that needed some repair work and spent three months working before putting up a "For Sale" sign. The Realtor that we worked with thought our home was worth around $170,000 in its present condition. We explained that we felt it was worth $10,000 more and explained all the upgrades compared to the other houses in our area. She told us that after we completed our projects, that we would put the home on the market. If we didn't get any offers, then we would lower it to her recommended price. We put it on the market on Saturday, and by Sunday we had three offers. 

Why did it sell so quickly? It was the only house in that price range in our area that was well maintained. We even had several offers for more than we were asking. While still in the negotiating stages, one lady offered us twenty thousand more if we would sell to her. We told the buyers about the offer, and they told us that they were willing to give us more than the original offer. We told them that we would not ask for more than the original price which we had agreed on. It's never a good idea to try to take advantage of the buyer's emotions when the competition starts to heat up.

My point is that the home sold for a fair price because it was taken care of.  The home was built properly at the time of construction and so it was easier to maintain.  We knew this because the home inspector only found two things that needed to be repaired at no cost to us. I had to change an outlet's wiring, which meant loosening two screws and changing the wires around because another contractor had wired it wrong on an addition project.

Home owners need to hire an inspector to locate defects that the home owner may not have been aware of, or may have just overlooked. These defects may possibly create safety or structural problems in the house.  Hiring a qualified home inspector to find these defects, and then repairing the issues, will give you the peace of mind knowing that your home is ready to sell.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Water Heater Rocket

I had an inspection the other day on a bank-owned property. When it came time to check the water heater, this is what caught my attention.

This line is the one that releases pressure from the T and P valve (temperature and pressure valve). From time to time, pressure will build up in the the tank of the water heater unit. In order to allow this pressure to escape, a valve exists with a pipe that ends close to the floor drain. As you can see, this pipe is clamped shut. Luckily, the water heater was not turned on at the time of the inspection, due to the house being winterized. A couple months ago, I saw what could happen to a water heater that had the T and P valve closed off while under pressure. In the clip, they had built a one room structure to the building code. They put a standard water heater inside and closed off the relief pipe from the T and P valve. The pressure was raised in the unit and there was an explosion. It made tooth picks out of the structure as the heater unit shot off like a rocket. Needless to say, in a house there would be major structural damage. If someone was near the unit, death could occur instantly.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The importance of fire blocking protection

Several of the homes I inspect are missing fire blocking protection, as seen in the photos above. Fire rated caulk is missing from around the electrical wiring and plumbing lines that pass through the basement or crawlspace ceiling. This helps prevent flames from spreading to other levels of the home if a fire should occur. Sometimes these areas are overlooked by the inspectors. This should be a red flag for the prospective home buyer. This is a requirement under the building codes for years to protect the owner and property.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gas leaks may lead to tragedies

I saw on the Internet the story of a home explosion in Pennsylvania. A grandfather was watching his three year old granddaughter at the time of the explosion. The grandfather was killed and the little girl was found on the front lawn with a broken leg. This may sound like a freak accident, but the same thing could happen to anyone. I find gas leaks in several of the homes I inspect each year. Most often the family is unaware. Sometimes the children's play area may even be located next to a leaking furnace gas line. I am glad to find the leak before a major accident occurs. I would advise homeowners to have the gas company check their home for leaks at least annually, especially in areas where there are rapid climate changes and the gas lines are exposed to outside temperatures.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why is it important to use an independent home inspector?

I believe that there is a very serious conflict of interest between realtor referred inspectors and those who have a financial interest in the sale of a property. Those inspectors who find too many defects in a home will automatically be taken off the realtor's "list" of inspectors that they use, because, of course, they want to make a sale. Their clients, therefore, are left uniformed and may end up purchasing a home with major safety and structural defect issues. I belong to an organization, IHINA (Independent Home Inspectors of North America). We try to educate our clients why they should use an inspector who does not have any connections with anyone who has a financial interest in the the home being inspected. We actually have to sign a pledge stating that we will not actively solicit referrals from these individuals. We also educate our clients about structural and safety concerns that may possibly be overlooked at the walk-through. Overall, the independent home inspector is acting in the best interest of his client, and gives you a report and explanation that you can actually understand. I am also available for questions you may have any time after the inspection has been completed. Click on the following link to direct you to the IHINA website that will give you more detail into how Independent Home Inspectors are expected to conduct themselves and also a link to a clip from Good Morning America that will give you some insight on why it is important to use an independent inspector.
Click on the following link to view a NBC Dateline investigative report.
Link to HOME-AIDE Inspections, LLC