South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Tips On Passing Your Home Inspection With Flying Colors

Tips On Passing Your Home Inspection With Flying ColorsHome inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction.

Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news.

Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters.

Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Electrical Wiring

This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially in older homes. Wiring might have been up to code when the home was built, but it now violates code and is a fire hazard.

Look for ungrounded outlets, shoddy wiring or a mass of confusing connections in the electrical panel. Replacing an entire electrical system can be expensive, but it’s worth it not to risk a fire.

Plumbing

Look for signs of water damage in the ceilings. This could be a sign that something above, like a bathtub or sink is leaking into the floor or walls. Look around toilets and inside kitchen cabinets for traces of wet flooring or wood.

While external leaks are easy enough to fix, interior pipes might require you to rip up flooring.

Foundation And Framing

Examine the foundation and framing of your home for any structural issues. You’ll want to keep an eye out for cracking in the foundation due to water runoff or settling. Also, look for signs of wood rot or termite damage.

These issues affect the framing of your home and could cause scary structural problems if left unattended.

Roofing

While it’s probably too difficult for you to inspect the roof yourself, just stand back in the yard and see if you can notice any bare spots. Also, check for water damage around the roofline from rain leaking in. Don’t get too discouraged about roof issues. It might not call for a complete replacement, but just a repair on one section.

These common home inspection issues affect both sellers and buyers. As a buyer, you’ll want to keep a eye out for these problems so that you know what you’d be getting for your hard-earned money.

As a seller, it’s good to stay one step ahead of the home inspector so that whatever price is agreed upon goes through.

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A Few Red Flags To Look For When Buying Real Estate

Posted in Home Buyer Tips, Home buying, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on August 7, 2013

A Few Red Flags To Look For When Buying Real Estate

If you’re looking to purchase real estate, keep in mind that the homes you are considering might be in need of repairs or improvements.

In a recent study done by a major home inspection company, at least 40 percent of previously owned homes on the market have at least one serious issue or defect.

When buying real estate, you should have a professional inspection performed on the property to look for any issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye.

It’s better to identify this damage before you buy so that you are not stuck with budget-busting renovations.

Below are a few major red flags you should look for when buying a home.

Foundation Damage

Look at the slope of the yard. If the land slopes towards the house, this could be causing water to run down into the foundation, which will result in moisture damage. Take a look at the foundation for any bulges or cracks that could indicate serious issues.

Faulty Wiring

Your home inspector should be sure to check the electrical wiring — especially if it is an older house. If there are any flickering lights, circuits that don’t work, or warm outlets, these are telltale signs of wiring issues that might be expensive to fix.

Ceiling Stains

This is usually a sign that something in the house is leaking. Ceiling stains are common underneath bathrooms when a toilet, shower or bathtub has a leak. A leaky roof could be an even more expensive repair.

When you are negotiating to buy a house and damage is discovered, you can either change your mind about the sale or renegotiate for a lower price that factors in the cost of repairs. Either way, it is always worth having the home professionally inspected to identify red flags and avoid any surprises.

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Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Home

Posted in Home Buyer Tips, Home buying, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on July 30, 2013

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your HomeImagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!

This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.

When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.

If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.

At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.

Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

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Why It’s Critically Important To Have A Home Inspection

Posted in Home Buyer Tips, Home buying, Home How To, Home Maintenance, Real Estate Tips by southorangecounty on June 13, 2013

Why It's Critically Important To Have A Home InspectionMany home buyers have found the perfect house, signed on the dotted line and may think they’ve watched enough home improvement shows to know if the home they’re getting is in good shape. Unfortunately, some buyers make the mistake of skipping a home inspection in order to save a little cash.

Even if a home has already stolen your heart and you’re ready to pay for it as-is, you need to bite the bullet and hire a home inspector to let you know what repairs and financial repercussions await you.

Why You Should Hire A Home Inspector

You might know a thing or two about home remodeling and repairs. However, most people are not experts on the inner workings of a home. That is why it’s important to hire a professional to search for potential furnace issues, electrical wiring mishaps, plumbing weaknesses or roofing deterioration to name a few.

While a home might look like it’s in perfect condition on the surface, there could be major issues hiding beneath its façade. That’s why it really is imperative for your safety that you hire an inspector to scrutinize the bones of your home. Understanding any imperfections may also help you budget for immediate and future repairs.

When to Schedule the Home Inspection

Once you’ve signed a purchase contract, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection before the inspection period has ended. Even though you’ve signed the offer, an inspector could just find something that you just cannot live with or afford to fix.

While you would normally schedule an inspection after you’ve signed a contract, it’s important to have an inspector or two picked out beforehand. Ask your real estate professional or friends and family for referrals and then contact the inspectors for pricing and a list of what they will and will not cover at the inspection.

Once again, remember that the cheapest price may not be the best deal on home inspections.  Have a good understanding of what, and who, you are investing in.

Even if you do know a lot about the structure, plumbing and wiring of houses, don’t let your ego get the better of you. It’s important to shell out the additional money to hire an inspector and cover your assets. You’d hate to end up with a home that needs major renovations and not have known about it.

For more information on hiring a professional for your South Orange County home inspection, shoot me an email or give me a call.

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Reasons To Attend Your Own Home Inspection

Posted in Around The Home, Around The House, Existing Home Sales, Home buying, Pending Home Sales, Real estate by southorangecounty on January 25, 2013

Be present for your home inspection

As a home buyer in South Orange County , you can get a feel for whether a home’s systems and appliances are in working order. However, you can’t know for certain until after the home has been inspected.

This is why an experienced agent like myself will recommend that buyers hire a licensed home inspectors immediately after going into contract. It’s the best way to really know the home which you’re buying.

By definition, a home inspection is a top-to-bottom check-up of a home’s physical condition and systems, including a review of the structure, and its plumbing and electrical systems. Home inspections are not the same as a home appraisal, which is a valuation of the property.

When you order a home inspection, you should be present for it. Here are 3 reasons why :

Seeing For Yourself 
There’s a big difference between reading a report and seeing “live” what may be right or wrong with a home. With first-hand knowledge of a potential issue, you’ll be in a better position to determine whether a problem warrants contract cancellation, or whether it’s an additional negotiation point.

Discovering The Home
Via a home inspection, you will learn where the systems reside within a home (e.g.; plumbing, furnace, air conditioner, garage), and how to operate them. This is a valuable educational opportunity and most inspectors are happy to share what they know. It’s also a chance to ask questions about maintenance and upkeep.

Better Understanding
A home inspector’s job is to review and disclose the condition of the home. The inspector’s report, however, is just a summary on paper. In being present for the inspection, a buyer will be able to visualize and understand the report’s conclusions more clearly. This can make for more effective re-negotiations with the seller, in the event that damage or distress is identified.

So, what should you do during the home inspection? Your primary tasks are to watch, listen, learn and ask questions. A professional home inspector will welcome your participation in the process. ( And so should your agent.)

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Simple Real Estate Definitions : Home Inspection

Posted in Real Estate Definitions by southorangecounty on June 6, 2012

Get a home inspectionWhen you preview homes as a home buyer, you can get a good feel for the home’s visible traits — its finishes, its room counts, and its landscaping, for example. What you can’t get a feel for, though, is the home’s “bones”.

It’s for this reason that real estate professionals recommend that you have a property formally inspected immediately after going into contract for it.

A home inspection is a thorough, top-to-bottom check-up of a property’s structure and systems. It is not the same as a home appraisal, which is a valuation of the property. By contrast, home inspections are an objective report on a home’s physical condition.

Home inspections are performed by home inspectors who will typically do the following :

  • Check heating and cooling systems for leaks and efficiency
  • Check electrical systems for safety and soundness of design
  • Check plumbing systems for venting, distribution, and drainage

In addition, a home inspector will review a home’s roofing system; its doors, windows and garages; plus, any attic spaces and basements, where appropriate.

A home inspection may also uncover out-of-code electrical work that municipalities required to be fixed by law.

Meanwhile, it’s not just home buyers who can order inspections. Sellers can order them, too.

One recommended tactic is for a home seller to have the home inspected prior to listing for sale so that all required repairs can be made in advance of showing the home. This can speed up and simplify the sales process, and may help your home sell at a higher price. Buyers often prefer homes in “move-in” ready condition.

A thorough home inspection can take up to 6 hours to complete, depending on the size of the home.

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