What to Expect During a Home Inspection

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The first thing you need to know about home inspection: 

There’s the excitement — the inspection could be the longest time you’re in the house, after the showing.

Right behind that comes … anxiety. What if the inspector finds something wrong? So wrong you can’t buy the house?

Then there’s impatience. Seriously, is this whole home-buying process over yet?

Not yet. But you’re close. So take a deep breath. Because the most important thing to know about home inspection: It’s just too good for you, as a buyer, to skip. Here’s why.

A Home Inspector Is Your Protector

An inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t hiding anything before you commit for the long haul.

A home inspector identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). Hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. To find a good one (more on how to do that soon), it helps to have an understanding of what the typical home inspection entails.

An inspection is all about lists.  

Before an inspection, the home inspector may review the seller’s property disclosure statement. (Each state has its own requirements for what sellers must disclose on these forms; some have stronger requirements than others.) The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value.

The disclosure comes in the form of an outline, covering such things as:

  • Mold
  • Pest infestation
  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation damage
  • Other problems, depending on what your state mandates.

During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks — to:

  1. Identify problems with the house that he or she can see
  2. Suggest fixes
  3. Prepare a written report, usually with photos, noting observed defects

This report is critical to you and your agent — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller. (We’ll get into how you’ll do that in a minute, too.)

The Inspector Won’t Check Everything

Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.

Inspectors also won’t put themselves in danger. If a roof is too high or steep, for example, they won’t climb up to check for missing or damaged shingles. They’ll use binoculars or a drone to examine it instead.

They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.

Finally, home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include a thorough evaluation of:

  • Swimming pools
  • Wells
  • Septic systems
  • Structural engineering work
  • The ground beneath a home
  • Fireplaces and chimneys

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, for instance, most inspectors will open and close dampers to make sure they’re working, check chimneys for obstructions like birds’ nests, and note if they believe there’s reason to pursue a more thorough safety inspection.

If you’re concerned about the safety of a fireplace, you can hire a certified chimney inspector for about $125 to $325 per chimney; find one through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

It’s Your Job to Check the Inspector

Now you’re ready to connect with someone who’s a pro at doing all of the above. Here’s where — once again — your real estate agent has your back. He or she can recommend reputable home inspectors to you.

In addition to getting recommendations (friends and relatives are handy for those, too), you can look for professional inspectors at their trade association websites. The American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool lets you search by address, metro area, or neighborhood. You can also search for inspectors by state at InterNACHI.

You’ll want to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. During each chat, ask questions such as:

  • Are you licensed or certified? Inspector certifications vary, based on where you live. Not every state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and licenses can indicate different degrees of expertise. ASHI lists each state’s requirements here.
  • How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience — it indicates more homes inspected.
  • How much do you charge? Home inspection costs range from $260 to $399. The costs vary according to your location and the size of your house.
  • What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
  • What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others.
  • How soon after the inspection will I receive my report? Home inspection contingencies require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted — normally five to seven days — so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
  • May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how he or she explains problems.

Sometimes you can find online reviews of inspectors on sites like Angie’s List and Yelp, too, if past clients’ feedback is helpful in making your decision.

Show Up for Inspection (and Bring Your Agent)

It’s inspection day, you and your agent should be present. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings later on, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.

Block out two to three hours for the inspection. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure; leaks in the attic, plumbing, etc.; if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of a structural issue); if electrical wiring is up to code; if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working; if appliances work properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and drainage.

The inspector might also be able to check for termites, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. Because these tests involve more legwork and can require special certification, they come at an additional charge.

Get Ready to Negotiate

Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent.

Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. Be prepared to pick your battles: Minor issues, like a cracked switch plate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. You don’t want to start nickel-and-diming the seller. 

If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs that includes a copy of the inspection report. Repair requests should be as specific as possible. For instance: Instead of saying “repair broken windows,” a request should say “replace broken window glass in master bathroom.”

  • If the seller agrees to make all of your repair requests: He or she should provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made. Then it’s full steam ahead toward the sale.
  • If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer: He or she will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer, or void the transaction.

At the end of the day, remember to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling about all of this. You need to be realistic about how much repair work you’d be taking on. At this point in the sale, there’s a lot of pressure from all parties to move into the close. But if you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.

The most important things to remember during the home inspection? Trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.

Search for homes like an agent 

By: HouseLogic

TIPS FOR STORING WINE AT HOME

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Love Wine?

Learn some tips on storing wine!

If you are a big wine connoisseur or just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Follow the guidelines below!

 

Temperature

To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor.

Moisture

Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.

Positioning

Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.

Timing

Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it!

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

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Painting Tips

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

DIY interior painting can be a money-saver if you know what you’re doing. While saving a few dollars is definitely worth trying out painting yourself, it is important to avoid mistakes often made in the process. Here is how to avoid them!

Mistake #1: Not Using The Correct Applicator

If you are willing to pay for premium paint, you should be willing to invest in a good applicator. Invest in good brushes or rollers up front to avoid hair on the wall or lumps of roller lint under the paint.

Mistake #2: Not Preparing Correctly

You always want to do repair work first so that your walls are smooth, clean, dry and free of loose debris before you begin painting. A repair will be much less obvious if it is done before a new coat of paint!

Mistake #3: Overextending Your Brush Dips

One of the most frequently made mistakes by DIYers is that they often continue applying a dip of paint until the brush or roller is dry. When you overextend each dip, the paint can dry in the brush bristles, and the fabric on rollers can mat down. You want to maintain a smooth line of paint. Once you can see the paint starting to break up, it’s time to re-dip.

Mistake #4: Not Taking A Break

It is ok to take a step back and review your work. Get a glass of water, have some lunch and take a break. When you allow yourself to get fatigued, your work can become sloppy.

Mistake #5: Allowing Paint To Dry Out

Touch-ups are not ideal if your paint has dried out. To extend the life of water-based paint, place a piece of clear plastic wrap directly on the surface of the paint, then reseal the container. For oil-based paint, add about a half-inch of water on the surface before resealing.

Bottomline, do some research or ask some questions at your local store before you get started.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Design Trends for 2021

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2021 Design Trends

What are the design trends for 2021?

It is hard to believe that 2020 is almost over. Many of us are thinking “Thank Goodness!” With a new year approaching quickly, now is the time to start thinking about how you want to update your space in 2021. If you’re wondering how the design trends are looking for the new year, here is a great place to start!

Less Is More

Take the time to check each space in your home and ensure your decor is intentional. Make sure all of your belongings have a place and that they all serve a purpose.

Scandinavian and Japanese style

Both cultures celebrate minimalism while also encouraging functionality. With white shades dominating spaces in this style, you will also find natural woods and materials in large spaces that are open and bright.

Personalization

One of the most marked trends in interior design is focused on the personalization of your space. Take into account what you already love when creating spaces in your home without worrying about what others consider stylish or up-to-date. Let your creativity shine through your space.

A Touch of Color

Neutrals are great in most settings, but a pop of color allows you to add personality to your space. Yellow shades add warmth while blue shades give a sharpness and can be used to enhance certain elements of a room. If you want to introduce a little color, use colors inspired by nature.

It is also a great opportunity to clean out areas as you go. Donate, give away, sell or possibly refurbish. Have fun and enjoy your space!

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

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Credit Score - Good to Know

Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

If you’ve seen a change in your credit score recently, you may be wondering why. There are a number of factors that contribute to a dropping credit score and it is important to know what may be causing that! When buying a home, it is important to maintain your credit and not make any major purchases that could impact your score. Here are the top 5 reasons for a drop in credit:

YOU MADE A LATE PAYMENT

Accounting for about 30% of your total rating, your payment history has a big impact on your credit score. If you make a loan or credit card payment more than a month after the due date, it could cause your credit score to drop. A payment 60-90+ days late will have an even greater impact on your score.

YOU MADE A LARGE PURCHASE

Your credit utilization ratio can largely impact your credit score. Your ratio is how much of your credit you use in relation to your total available credit. The goal is to have a lower ratio so if you’ve been using more of your available credit lately, you may see a drop in your score. If for any reason your credit limit is lowered, it can impact your credit utilization ratio and impact your score.

AN ACCOUNT GOES TO COLLECTION

Timely payments on all accounts is an important part of your credit journey. Late payments on credit cards, loans, to medical facilities, student loans and utilities can be sent to a collection agency, which could in turn show up in your credit report.

YOU OPENED A NEW LINE OF CREDIT

When you apply for new credit, you are giving lenders the permission to access a copy of your credit report, which is known as a hard inquiry on your credit. If your credit report indicates that you’ve applied for multiple new credit lines in a short period of time, your credit score may be impacted.

YOU CLOSED A CREDIT LINE

Closing a card means losing available credit, which could increase your credit utilization ratio. As a result, your credit score may drop. If closing a card helps you stop spending, it may be a good idea. Otherwise, it is usually wise to keep lines of credit open. The length of time you’ve had accounts open shows that you have a solid payment history, so that could be another reason to keep that card you’ve had awhile open if you are using it wisely!

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Lake County History – Average Sale Price Last 5 years by month.

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Avg Sale PriceClick on the link below to pull up a PDF – Lake County History of Average Sale Price per month.  If you are into statistics or even if you are not, you will likely find the information very interesting. Sale prices in Lake County have continued to increase month after month beginning 2016. The shortage of inventory and multiple offers has certainly been a factor in increasing prices.  If you have any questions or would like to know a particular area, please let me know. I am happy to help.

 

Lake County Ohio Sale Price Average

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Active Listings In Geauga County Ohio by Month – Last 5 years

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Active ListingsThe chart shows the number of active listings on the market in Geauga County by month over the last 5 years.  Click on the link below to see the entire chart.  While the market is moving quickly, it is still a great time to buy. Interest rates are still very good!  The process of selling your home or buying a new one can be made easier with the experience of agent. Let me help guide you or someone you know through the process.  Here is a little snippet for month of December over the last 5 years.

Month of December:

2013 – 1016 number of active homes on the market

2014 – 921 number of active homes on the market

2015 – 873 number of active homes on the market

2016 – 724 number of active homes on the market

2017 – 673 number of active homes on the market

Number of Active Listings in Geauga County

I will be sharing Lake and Cuyahoga county as well. Or if you would like some statistics by a particular northeast Ohio city, please let me know?

Looking to find out what your home is worth, let me provide you a free market analysis for your northeast Ohio home.

Great information for buyers – check it out my e-book 10 Things buyers need to know before they buy.

Search for homes on the market. Most accurate information available to buyers.

Jody Finucan 440 221-6383 jodyfinucan@gmail.com

Key Professionals in a Real Estate Transaction

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When you are buying or selling a home there are a number of individuals you will come in contact with.  Here are some of them:

  1. REALTOR® – A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent and a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  They also belong to their state and local Associations of REALTORS®.
  2. Listing Agent – A listing agent or broker forms a legal relationship with the homeowner to sell the property.  The listing agent’s responsibility and fiduciary duties are to the seller.
  3. Buyer’s Agent – A buyer’s agent or broker works with the buyer to locate a suitable property and negotiate a successful home purchase.  The buyer’s agent’s responsibility and fiduciary duties are to the buyer.
  4. Home Inspector – A home inspector can be hired by the seller before they put their home on the market or by the buyer when an offer has been accepted.  The inspector provides a comprehensive analysis of a home’s major systems and components.
  5. Loan Officer – A loan officer is a representative of a bank or financial institution.  They help customers identify their borrowing options and help them understand the terms of the loan.  A seller should also meet with a lender before putting their home on the market so they know the “big picture” of their financial situation.
  6. Appraiser – An appraiser works on behalf of the lender and provides a market analysis of the subject property. An appraiser’s finding is subjective and combined with market data of sold properties within the surrounding neighborhood.
  7. Insurance Agent – An insurance agent helps a home buyer determine the coverage needed and finds the right insurance policy for the home.
  8. Real Estate Attorney – In some states, real estate closings can only be conducted by an attorney.  They can give advice on all legal aspects of a real estate transaction. Such as drafting and reviewing contracts, help with how to take title and assist with the closing process.
  9. Escrow/Closing Officer – An escrow or closing officer is a non-biased third party who works with all participants to facilitate a successful closing of a real estate transaction. At the closing, the closing officer will collect the purchase money funds from the buyer and settlement costs from each party.  The will prepare and record all necessary documents to transfer ownership of the property.
  10. Title Company – The title company will search the title and provide title insurance policies to produce clear property titles and enable the efficient transfer of real estate.

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