HOME INSPECTIONS – FAQ

Q. SHOULD YOU HAVE A HOME INSPECTION BEFORE YOU BUY?

An inspection of a home before you purchase it allows you to get to know your future home inside and out. You already know certain dominant features about the home that caused you to like it, but do you really know the condition of the roof or whether the house is energy efficient? A pre-purchase inspection can supplement your knowledge with valuable information.

Q. WHY DO YOU NEED A HOME INSPECTION?

You should know exactly what to expect in terms of repair, maintenance and structural soundness. Water marks in the basement may indicate a chronic seepage problem or may be simply the result of a single incident. A qualified home inspector can interpret these and other clues. He then presents his professional opinion as to the condition of the property before you buy, so you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards.

An inspection will also reveal the positive aspects of the home, as well as the type of maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape.

Q. WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTION INCLUDE?

A complete home inspection includes an examination of the house from rooftop to basement and an examination of the garage and exterior grounds. The inspector takes a careful look at heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems, the roof, foundation, walls, ceilings, fireplaces, doors, windows and multiple other components of the home. You can expect the inspection to last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

Q. WHAT KIND OF REPORT DO I RECEIVE?

A formal easy-to-read, written report is issued within 48 hours. Included on the report is an evaluation of all visible home components plus an evaluation of the energy efficiency, security, and maintenance aspects of the home. Some inspectors are providing an secure, online report with photos that is quite easy to use.

Q. IS A PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION EXPENSIVE?

A complete home inspection with a written report will cost approximately $300. to $500. and could save you thousands of dollars as well as help you make a wise and safe investment. Costs vary depending sometimes on the size of the dwelling, multiple living units and additional testing such as radon, mold, etc. It would be a lot more expensive to skip the home inspection, move in and then find out you have thousands of dollars in repairs you did not anticipate.

Has the Home Buyer Tax Credit Really Been Extended?

June 22, 2010 – There is a proposed law in Congress that extends the deadline for closing a qualified transaction from June 30, 2010 to September 30, 2010. First time and repeat buyers needed to have a written contract of sale no later than April 30, 2010 in order to qualify for the $8000 and $6500 tax credits that were being offered by the federal government. This proposed law does not extend the deadline for individuals to qualify for the credit; it does however increase the time to finalize a transaction. This proposal has been approved in the US Senate as part of HR4213 (American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act); it still must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the President. According to the National Association of Realtors web site, it is projected that 180,000 transactions are in jeopardy of not closing by 6/30 and a significant majority of these are new construction and short sales.

What is Multiple Listing?

Multiple Listing, or ML, is the phrase used to describe the cooperative arrangement among all realtors who belong to the same, local Board of Realtors.  This agreement allows realtors from all companies to share access to the properties that have been put up for sale so that agents and brokers from one company can easily access all properties listed by all the other brokers in the event they are working with a buyer. Typically, the seller of a property will pay one real estate fee that is shared by both the realtor that is working for the seller and the realtor that is working for the buyer.

The real estate companies manage this system through governance by a Board of Directors selected from the participating real estate companies. There are rules governing behavior and fair play within the system as well as a mechanism for disciplining those who do not comply with the rules set up for sharing access to all listings.

The multiple listing number, or ML number, is the unique seven digit identifier that is assigned to a particular listing.  When listings are entered into the multiple listing system, the software automatically generates the next highest number to keep things organized.  Sometimes you will see this same seven-digit number with letters attached to it.  The letters have to do with the company’s internal coding. When inquiring about properties, it is fastest and easiest for everyone to reference this number in your conversation, voice mail or email.


Contracts – Do I Just Sign It or Does My Attorney Look at it First?

A joint committee of the Board of Realtors and The Bar Association created the standard residential real estate contract that we use.  This was put together to allow buyers and sellers to sign off on their intentions with the comfort that comes from knowing that your attorney can get you out of it or change something that might be harmful to you.  That is the intent of the attorney approval contingency that is contained in the contract on page seven.

 

Execution Date

The starting point for the contract is the execution date.  It’s best to give an example- the buyer signs the contract to make an offer, perhaps there are some changes and some negotiation that takes a day or two.  Buyer and seller then come to an agreement.  The buyer then initials the changes and gives the contract to the seller.  The actual date that the seller signs becomes the execution date.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a business day, a holiday or a weekend.

Attorney Review Process

The attorney review process is a series of deadlines.

Deadline 1 – Delivery to your attorney. The contract needs to be delivered within two business days to your lawyer.  Delivery can be by fax, personal delivery or US Mail.  We can fax it for you if you’d like.  We recommend deciding who is going to be your lawyer at the beginning of the process when you first put the house up for sale or when you first start looking for a home.

Deadline 2 – Attorney Review Period. The attorney review period lasts for three business days.  It begins on whatever date the contract is delivered.  Weekends and holidays are never considered business days.  It makes sense for you to call your attorney the day after the contract has been delivered.  Most of the time someone at the firm has already reviewed it.

Conditional Approval by the Attorney. Conditional approval means that the contract has been reviewed and there are one or more things that need to be changed.  Until both buyer and seller agree in writing on these changes, either party can cancel this contract.

Mortgage Interest Rates – Are They Really Low or is That Just Hype?

Mortgage Interest Rates – Are They Really Low or is That Just Hype?

We are blasted with so many bogus advertising pitches day in and day out, I think it often desenitizes us to what is really a good deal and what isn’t…..we don’t know what to believe.  I thought I’d take a quick historical look at rates and try to put some facts out there for review.  Rates are currently hovering around 5%. Ten years ago, they averaged out at around 8%. Twenty years ago, they were 10%. If you finance $100,000 at 5% for a 30 years mortgage, the principle and interest for that loan would be $536.32. At 8%, your payment would be $733.76. At 10%, the payment would be $877.57. The answer is that they are a really good deal right now.