Updated: Friday, April 26, 2019
Speed Along the Real Estate Transaction with a Pre-Listing Home Inspection
As the real estate market becomes increasingly competitive and consumer confidence rises, buyers and sellers are more motivated to seek opportunities to close deals efficiently. Thats why real estate professionals often suggest a pre-listing home inspection -- an inspection prior to putting the home on the market. Pre-listing inspections provide an added benefit for the buyer, seller and real estate agent, and often allows sales transaction to be completed more quickly.
Here are some key points to remember for your pre-listing inspection:
Involve your Real Estate Agent
When it comes to real estate, agents are pros and they play a key role in moving the home buying transaction along. During a pre-listing inspection, agents know what questions to ask the inspector to be sure they fully understand any issues, and to alleviate client concerns. Good real estate agents take the time to work with their clients post-inspection to go over the inspection report. Their goal is to make sure buyers and sellers fully understand the findings of the inspection report.
Build Trust with the Buyer
For homebuyers, a pre-listing inspection builds confidence. It allows buyers to immediately know all the under-the-surface details within the home. If there are parts of the home that need fixing, the sellers repairs can increase the asking price or be touted in the listing description to help a home stand out. Where repair issues are identified but not repaired, credibility through disclosure is gained and the issue is factored into the pricing upfront. In each case, sellers who disclose the condition of a home upfront gain the trust and faith in a buyer during the initial stages of their purchasing decision.
Spotlight Your Home
A pre-listing home inspection report is a great marketing tool for sellers and agents because it clearly points out the best features of the property. Any recent home renovations will be noted and stand out to buyers. These updates can offer both aesthetic and mechanical value with items such as new flooring, new appliances or a new furnace or air conditioning unit. A home buyer likes to see updates have been made to the home as they are often costly -- and it reassures them the home is properly maintained. This assurance will help to accelerate the transaction.
Planning Can Save Time and Money
For the seller, a pre-listing home inspection allows for time to make repairs before putting the house on the market. They can then make these repairs on their own budget and timeline rather than having to pay for a buyers contractor to quickly complete the work.
Remember, the goal of a home inspection is to provide a true reflection of the issues concerning the home and offer a non-alarmist, practical solution. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of professionalsnbsp;ensures important things arent missed, reports are received in a timely fashion and all parties are enabled to move the home smoothly and successfully through the real estate transaction.
Steve Wadlington, president of WIN Home Inspection, one of the fastest growing franchised home inspection companies in the United States with more than 150 operators in more than 185 locations in 32 states.
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Five Is Grass Greener? Challenges in Paradise
Just back from an extended tour of the South Pacific, I am ready to move to almost everywhere I visited.
Travel inspiration may mark the start of a new exhilarating life adventure, but if you jump before you think, paradise may be anything but.
As a quick reality check, consider our Five ldquo;Is Grass Greener?rdquo;nbsp;Challenges for Bringing Paradise into Achievable Focus:
1. Fact or Fantasy?
How much of your strong affinity to this vacation spot is tied to a romantic love interest or a resort-based life>
2. Weather or Not
When you believe the grass is greener somewhere else, you believe that other peoples situations are better or more attractive than your own, but in the few days or weeks of your visit, you may not have experienced typical weather. Check local media to learn whether your vacation coincided with atypical weather or the expected seasonal. During my two weeks in New Zealandrsquo;s summer, even though locals repeatedly referred to unseasonably warm and dry weather, I was taken in by the heat. Instead of cool, windy, rainy days, everyday was a warm, sunny delight that played up the extraordinary scenery and beaches until I was well and truly hooked on New Zealand. Then, for one day, real New Zealand weather hit. Balmy breezes became biting winds, and it rained on and off all daymdash;that was the real New Zealand. Locals noticed nothing; vacationers were in shock and shivering. Yes, New Zealand does have lots of great warm days, but this is not a tropical country as my visit had left me believing.
3. Fabulous or Frustrating
ldquo;Irsquo;d live here in a heartbeatrdquo; places like Sydneyrsquo;s Bondi Beach and Honolulursquo;s Waikiki Beach were highlights of my travels. Yes, I would love to live on or near either beach. However, the reality of living near a world->
When I gushed to locals about how wonderful it must be tonbsp;live in the paradise that is Hawaii, one Waikiki resident told me firmlynbsp;that she was exhausted by the experience. A continuous stream of familynbsp;visitors, kept her so busy that she couldnrsquo;t get out to enjoy Hawaiinbsp;herself. Is having a small family another essential for living out yournbsp;dream of paradise?
4. Consistent or Changed Climate
Southeastern Australia, which includes Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney, is the most populated part of the continent. For a few years now, weeks of 100-degree summer heat waves have taken their toll on crops, animals, residents, and power grids. In parts of southeastern Australia, power outages, wildfires, cyclones, and extensive flooding have become commonplace, expensive realities. Furthermore, floods are sending coral-killing silt out to The Great Barrier Reef. Prolonged heat-waves warm the ocean and cause blooms of potentially-fatal stinging box jellyfish, which keep swimmers in full protective body suits or out of the water. These changing patterns are not unique to Australia. Red algae tides have plagued Floridarsquo;s west coast. California has been besieged by wildfires and the threat will continue. Storms and flooding ravage the Atlantic Coast making waterfront seem a high-risk environment. Whatrsquo;s taking a toll on the paradise you lust after?
5. Economic Wonder or Financial Worries
Successfully financing a new life>
bull; Many of the worldrsquo;s best-places-to-vacation are difficult places to find well-paying, full-time employment. Thatrsquo;s why most of the crew on my American cruise ship were from Indonesia where beaches are beautiful and living-wage jobs are scarce.
bull; Many locals in Honolulu repeated the same story: ldquo;Life is great, but good jobs are scarce, so most people who move here donrsquo;t last long.rdquo; Traditionally, the hospitality and travel industry, that makes our vacations terrific, does not pay high wages and often offers only contract or seasonal work.
bull; If your paradise is offshore, check out government restrictions for working and owning property. Investigate changing politics before you move.
bull; Your savings, pension buy-out, or pension may not last as long as you think. What choices would you have in paradise if you had to supplement your income?
bull; One common global parallel may surprise you: real estate prices have risen sharply in most popular vacation spotsmdash;million-dollar homes are the norm in ldquo;hot spots.rdquo; Local real estate professionals can usually provide up-to-date overviews of housing, foreign ownership regulations, and economic conditions in their corner of paradise, so you can begin to assess the feasibility and practicality of a move.
This list is offered as a practical first step for following up on your passion. Within the United States, there are many variations on paradise, so following your passion may not be a high-risk pursuit, but consider our Five ldquo;Is Grass Greenerrdquo; Challenges first.
An extended stay of one to three months may be an ideal experiment to check out details regarding a longer stay or a permanent move to your paradise.
Whatrsquo;s Coming Next?
Which topic or pending real estate decision would you like PJ to explorenbsp;in a column? Let PJ know:
Additional Resource: For more about Achievable Focus visit PJrsquo;s blog, Whatrsquo;s Your Point?
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5 DIY Things You Can Do Now to Lower Your Electric Bills This Summer
This year, wersquo;re concentrating on the DIY aspect of summer energy savings, so not only can you save a few bucks on an ongoing basis, but keep your cost low initially, as well. Here are 5 low-cost, high-impact changes you can make now.
Practice good window covering management
Seems easy enough, right? You can make a big difference in the amount of hot air getting into your home and the cool air escaping, just by choosing the right window coverings.
Cost: Depends on the product chosen, but could be as little as a Starbucks order if you buy on sale
Energy savings: ldquo;Appropriately hung draperies can decrease the discomfort associated with drafty windows,rdquo; said Energy.gov. And those drafty windows can account for as much as 25 of a homersquo;s energy loss.
DIY level: With a ladder, a level, and an electric screwdriver, you should be good to go.
Clean your window sills
A few seasonsrsquo; worth of dirt and soot can interrupt the seal and make it so your windows arenrsquo;t closing all the way. Even a little air getting in can make your AC less efficient and raise your electric bill.
Cost: Nothing if you already have cleaning spray and paper towels. A few bucks for a toothbrush if you need more help with caked-on dirt.
Energy savings: File this one under drafty windows as well. ldquo;Your windows are the top energy leak in a typical home,rdquo; said Panther Heating and Cooling. ldquo;When you are trying to cool your house, they are letting in heat.rdquo;
DIY level: Easy-peasy. You can even make this a chore for the kids
Get a door sweep
More of that cooled air is likely leaking out from underneath your doors. A couple of door sweeps can easily fix that problem, and all it will take is a quick trip to Home Depot.
ldquo;A common place where air leaks occur is under the door leading from the house to the garage because they are often not as well sealed as doors leading directly to the outside,rdquo; said Energy Star. ldquo;Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping from your home. Stopping this air flow will keep heated indoor living space more comfortable and prevent increased energy bills.rdquo;
Cost: 10 and up
Energy savings: Donrsquo;t be surprised to see a difference in your electric bill when yoursquo;re keeping more of your cooled air in, and keeping the hot air out.
DIY level: If you can use a drill to make holes in the door and screen the sweep in, you can install a door sweep.
Check your ducts
ldquo;Ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems,rdquo; said Energy Star. You can check the ducts yourself, looking for
ldquo;holes, tears, and other signs of leaking ducts and seal them using mastic or metal foil tape never use duct tape, as it is not long-lasting. Insulate all the ducts you can access such as those in the attic, crawlspace, unfinished basement, or garage.rdquo;
Cost: As little as 7.82 for a roll of tape
Energy savings: ldquo;In typical houses, about 20 of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts,rdquo; they said. ldquo;The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills, and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.rdquo;
DIY level: Yoursquo;ll likely be dealing with high places and tight spaces, and may also have to fend off a few creepy-crawlies.
Caulk and weatherstrip
ldquo;Window air leakage can be reduced by applying a continuous bead of caulk around the window trim where it meets the wall, at the mitred joints of the trim, and between the trim and the frame,rdquo; Natural Resources Canada. ldquo;Make sure the caulk is intended for indoor use do not use exterior caulking indoors, can be painted and is of good quality.rdquo;
Cost: Caulking, under 2, just over 2 for weatherstripping
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Energy savings: Using Charlotte, NC as an example, the Department of Energy estimated that the average homeowner could ldquo;save 14 on heating and cooling costs each year with proper air sealing and insulation,rdquo; said Panther Heating and Cooling.
DIY level: A rookie can master this one.