Scottsdale Home Inspections

You’ve had your home for sale for some time and finally got an offer you accepted. But wait, it’s not time to celebrate yet. What if the home doesn’t appraise for what the buyer offered?

Almost every day a sale falls through because of low appraisals. What’s even worse, the house goes back on the market, and you now have to lower the price, or you’ll find yourself in the same situation when the next acceptable offer comes, if it ever does.  So what to do?

Consider staging your home for appraisal.

Staging your home for an appraisalStaging for the appraiser is just as important as staging for a new buyer, maybe even more so. Sellers should get a physical inspection for the property being sold which gives them the opportunity to get any safety items addressed ahead of time. (This actually should have been done before even putting the house on the market).

The home needs to be decluttered inside and out, looking in tip top shape, as if you are showing the home for the first time with no offer on the table. Make sure your lawn and shrubs are trimmed neatly and watered. Have your front door and entry clean, free of cobwebs.

The appraiser will be looking for any defects the lender will require fixing. Replace missing kitchen cupboard doors, malfunctioning drawers, broken windows, etc.

Ceiling stains from an old roof leak will draw attention. If the problem has been repaired, follow up with the necessary cosmetic work such as painting the previous problem area. If you have a leaky roof you will want to get it repaired with proper documentation to pass on to the new owner. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and working. Both of these are now lender required safety items.

The appraiser will need to see inside the garage and have access to the entire home and yard. By making sure everything is out of the way, you can eliminate the need for the appraiser to revisit the home.

Generally, the appraiser will ask you questions about the home, so be prepared to provide him or her with a list of any upgrades you’ve done, a list of appropriate comps (if you can get your agent to help you with that) and anything else you think may help your appraiser justify a higher value for your home.

If the appraisal number for your home doesn’t come in high enough, the buyer’s lender will not approve the loan, and you may lose the sale. Consider the appraiser’s visit just as important as the buyer coming in for the first time.

In today’s tight real estate market, lenders are very cautious about making loans, especially concerning the property valuations from the appraiser. This is why staging your home for the appraisal is so very important.

A recent Angie’s List poll found that more than half of homeowners who built a home during the housing boom found that their homes were filled with problems after construction was complete. Hiring a home inspector can help you identify any issues your home may have before they become a disaster…

Questions or comments about this video report? Just use the comment link below to ask away!

Home Inspections – Your Best Way To Avoid A Money PitAs a buyer, one of the smartest things you can do is get a home inspection. It’s arguably more important than getting an appraisal, because a proper inspection will prevent you from buying a money pit – at least not intentionally.

A good home inspection will identify both major and minor problems in the physical condition of the home. For example, the inspector can identify issues such as structural problems, (termite damage), mechanical problems (heating and air conditioning) or construction defects.

The home inspection report will identify the problem areas, explaining what needs to be either repaired or replaced, and it will give you an estimate of the expected lifetime remaining on the major systems in the home.

A home inspector will begin with a review of the home as a whole and then break it into sections, checking each area carefully looking for signs of wear and tear which is above the expected, normal wear and tear.

As a buyer, it may be very tempting to require the seller to do all of the repairs on the home before you buy it, however there are no hard and fast rules about who should pay for repairs in a home sale.

One rule of thumb suggests that anything which will require you to hire a professional, have the seller pay for the costs, either as a reduction in the sales price or before the sale takes place. It’s up to you as a buyer, but if there’s a long list of items which you need and/or want to do which can be done easily enough by yourself, don’t bother asking the seller to do the repairs. Wait until you’ve bought the home and do the repairs yourself.

Showing the sellers a huge list of things you want fixed may cause them to balk at the request and the sale could fall through, leaving you with the tedious task of continuing your home search, on top of the cost for the inspection you just paid for.

Obtaining a home inspection from a qualified home inspector is not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong. In fact, one thing that catches many first time home buyers by surprise is just how much more it does cost to be a homeowner – after all, you don’t have a landlord or “super” to call when your sink springs a leak – you are the “super!”

Every Home has DefectsWe’d all like to buy the perfect home. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. Even new homes have defects. That’s why it’s important to have any home you buy inspected by qualified professionals-even if it’s brand new.

You’ll undoubtedly discover defects during your inspections. In fact, you should hope that any significant defects are uncovered before you remove your inspection contingency from the purchase contract. It’s far worse to be surprised after closing by unanticipated repair expenses.

Armed with a complete assessment of the current condition of the property, you can make an informed decision about whether to purchase the property in its present condition. Or, you may want to renegotiate the terms of your contract with the seller. If defects are incurable, you may want to withdraw from the contract altogether.

Your purchase contract should set guidelines for how inspection defects are to be handled. For example, the seller may have had a “termite” inspection completed before marketing the property. If so, the contract might specify which party-buyer or seller-will pay for the required corrective work.

Not all inspection contingencies are the same. Some specify that the buyers have the unilateral right to approve or disapprove inspections. In this case, if the buyers disapprove the inspections, the contract may be cancelable at the buyer’s option.

House Hunting Tip: Even if your contract allows you to withdraw due to inspections, carefully consider before electing this option. You will already have spent considerable time, effort and money finding and inspecting the property. If the defects are correctable, it’s usually worthwhile to try negotiating an agreement with the sellers rather than starting the process over again.

Some inspection contingencies provide for buyers to give the sellers the opportunity to correct defects, rather than just walk away from the deal. In this case, the terms of the contract often become subject to further negotiation.

Before asking a seller for inspection-related concessions, make a list of the significant defects you discovered during your inspections. Then find out how much it will cost to repair these defects. When you make your request, put it in writing and include a copy of your cost accounting list along with the reports and estimates on which you’re basing your request.

You may find the seller is not willing to negotiating over items that were disclosed to you before you made an offer to purchase the property. It still may be worthwhile to point out the cost of the previously disclosed items in addition to the newly discovered defects which alter the amount you can reasonably pay for the property.

Sellers are wise to consider any reasonable proposal from a well-qualified buyer. If the inspection-related defects are significant, they are likely to be a concern to other buyers. Depending on the law in your state regarding seller disclosures, you may have to provide copies of the buyer’s reports to future buyers who are interested in the property.

There are several ways in which sellers can participate in buyers’ repair requests. They can have the work done by closing, if time permits. Often contractors will accept payment at closing.

Or they can credit money to buyers as long as the credit is called a credit for buyers’ nonrecurring closing costs. Lenders usually limit the amount of such a credit to 3 percent of the purchase price or equal to the actual amount of the non-recurring closing costs, whichever is less.

The Closing: Some lenders will allow money from the seller to be held in an escrow or trust account so work can be completed after closing.

Home inspection advice from Consumer ReportsAn issue of Consumer Reports® has a relevant investigation of defects in homes. Importantly, the article gives excellent advice regarding how home buyers can take steps to avoid trouble.

The Consumer Reports® article states “Be proactive. Consumers should never buy a house without first hiring a real-estate attorney and a home-inspection engineer.”

It is important for home buyers to understand that the credentials of home inspectors vary widely, some are licensed engineers, some are non-engineers, some claim to be professional home inspectors, some claim to be certified, some claim membership in a home inspector group. Some certifications can be obtained by almost anybody, a high school diploma is not a requirement and certifications can even be obtained by joining a trade group.

The Consumer Reports® article states “Hire a qualified home inspector. Preferably, the inspector should be an engineer or architect.”

If you have questions about why you should hire a qualified home inspector, contact us. We’ll provide you with complete details.