Published Date 5/8/2018
You get your teeth checked and cleaned and when you remember to do it, go to the doc for a physical. You regularly take your car in for maintenance checks and don’t give it a second thought. But what about your house? It sits unflinchingly sheltering you, and you seem to pay attention to it only when something leaks, the power goes out in the middle of a program on TV, or a toilet backs up.
Think about it. When homes are newly built, homebuilders make sure new owners receive a hefty amount of literature regarding maintenance not just covering the first year of the home’s life, but some great advice about home maintenance. Subsequent homeowners don’t get that orientation, however, and assume all is well when they sign on the dotted line. Think of not getting a home inspection like not checking your car for oil and 5 years and when something goes wrong claiming the car was a lemon.
Especially if you bought a house with experience, a home maintenance inspection should be included in your budget every 3-5 years. It can put to rest your concerns about your roof being compromised, your foundation crumbling, and your hot water heater being on its last legs — all BEFORE disaster strikes, often saving you much more than the cost of the inspection itself.
A home maintenance inspection also gives you a full picture of any below-the-radar repairs that need to be completed before you put your home up for sale. Full disclosure at the point of purchase is required by law (even suspicion of an impending disaster), so dealing with your home’s health preemptively is among the wisest decisions you can make.
Regardless of your intention to sell, however, it’s a prudent homeowner who opts to get their home a check-up. A home maintenance inspection is done by a licensed expert who checks out all the main systems of your home, including roofing, walls, foundation, HVAC, electrical and plumbing and offers you a detailed run-down on anything that might be starting to malfunction or is on it last gasp.
Home inspection experts admit many homeowners may not even notice a problem. But a good inspector can see signs that something is starting to go: small cracks, uneven wearing, or even just appliances such as water heaters and boilers reaching the eventual end of their lives. They can also remind you of the regular maintenance you should be doing on your house. It’s definitely a way to keep little problems from turning into big ones.
The inspector usually quietly walks through the home either with you along for the ride or meeting with you afterward. He or she will show you what was found and explain what each item means, offering you opportunities to ask questions or get clarifications. And, like a doctor who tells you to cut out the sugar and get more exercise at the end of a routine physical, the inspector will point out things you should be doing regularly to keep all of your home’s systems functioning in tiptop shape.
Within a week you’ll get a written report detailing everything the inspector found. That means mentally preparing yourself for a to-do list at the end of this process.
An advantage of a home maintenance inspection is that the inspector provides an unbiased opinion. They have no skin in the game, unlike asking a roofer or a contractor to tell you what needs to be done. That’s why if you do suspect something is in disrepair, it’s wise to call in a home maintenance inspector before a repair company. After all, a home inspector isn’t going to make any money off doing the repairs. Truth is all they try to offer.
Prices for home inspections vary depending on the area in which you live and size of the home, but the average range is $200–$400 — more if you include pool inspections or backyard structural advice (retaining walls, patio covers, etc.) Considering the fee for electrical, foundation, or roof repairs can be three to four times higher, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, MAY 08, 2018
For homeowners considering a move, some experts are recommending they get a home maintenance inspection before they list their home for sale. Such an inspection can provide a full picture of any repairs that need to be done before they become negotiating points in a transaction.
Steve Wadlington, president of WIN Home Inspection, explains how sellers can avoid potential conflict with buyers and gain an edge in negotiations. Read more.
A home maintenance inspection is similar to a home inspection that is done by buyers, says Frank Lesh, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. A licensed inspector can check on the main systems of the home, such as the roof, walls, foundation, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.
“You might not even notice a problem [with your home],” says Lesh. An inspector may be able to spot small problems before they become bigger, more expensive problems. They can also advise clients on the regular maintenance tasks they should be doing on their home to keep everything in tip-top shape.
An inspector can walk homeowners around the property to show them any potential problems they spot. Homeowners will receive a report that details anything the inspector finds as well, which can serve as a to-do list to address, if they so wish.
“Every three to five years, you should have a home inspector come out and do a maintenance inspection,” advises Lesh. “Like changing your furnace filter, you should do it before it gets so bad [that it becomes] a problem. … A home inspector isn’t trying to sell you anything … and isn’t going to make any money off doing the repairs.”
The cost of a home maintenance inspection varies by the size of the home but can average $200 to $400.
Source: “What Is a Home Maintenance Inspection? A Health Checkup for Your House,” realtor.com® (May 8, 2018)
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, MAY 04, 2018
Many buyers are offering more than the asking price on properties undergoing bidding wars, but when the appraisal reveals the true market value of the home, they may find they’ve agreed to pay too much. Home sales commonly fall through when a property appraises for less than the price the buyer offers; the seller may be unwilling to accept a lower offer, and the buyer may decide the deal isn’t worth it.
Appraisal issues are still one of the most common causes of delayed settlements, according to March data from the REALTORS® Confidence Index. Real estate professionals report that appraisal issues delayed 19 percent of closings in March, which was the second most reported problem behind “issues related to obtaining financing.” Bankrate.com recently offered some tips for protecting your transactions from low appraisals.
Buyers likely will want to ask their lender to find an appraiser who works regularly in the county where they’re purchasing. Appraisers who know the area are less likely to evaluate properties based on flawed data. Buyer’s agents should be present during an appraisal appointment in order to provide the appraiser appropriate comps and explain any information that could be skewing the comps.
In some cases, sellers are being preemptive—getting an appraisal before listing their home and using that appraisal to set a realistic list price. If they’ve done this, they’ll want to give a copy of their prelisting appraisal to the buyer’s appraiser.
Also, remember that your clients can contest a low appraisal. The appraiser or a supervisor may consider taking into account any new or overlooked information when an appraisal has been questioned.
Source: “How to Avoid a Low Home Appraisal,” Bankrate.com (May 2, 2018)
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2018
California does not dominate realtor.com®’s hottest housing markets list for this month—the first time in years. Each month, realtor.com® ranks the top metro areas where homes sell the fastest and where home buyers are searching the most for listings at its site.
California has continually dominated the rankings. In March, the Golden State had 11 of the top 20 markets. But in April, that number shrank to just six. It’s the lowest number of California cities to make the rankings since 2013, the year realtor.com® began doing its monthly “hot market” tracking lists.
This month, San Francisco dropped from its number-one spot to number three, as Midland, Texas, jumped from number five to the top spot in the rankings.
Nine other states were represented in realtor.com®’s April rankings: Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Idaho, and Wisconsin.
The markets on realtor.com®’s hottest housing list see homes sell, on average, 17 to 40 days faster than the rest of the U.S. The following 20 housing markets were the top performers this month, according to realtor.com®:
- Midland, Texas
- Boston, Mass.
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Vallejo, Calif.
- Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Racine, Wis.
- Sacramento, Calif.
- Stockton, Calif.
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- San Jose, Calif.
- Rochester, N.Y.
- Spokane, Wash.
- Boise City, Idaho
- Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Detroit, Mich.
- Odessa, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Worcester, Mass.
Source: “The Hottest Markets for U.S. Real Estate: Is California’s Reign Over?” realtor.com® (April 26, 2018)
4 Demographic Shifts Worth Watching
The aging of America, more immigrants, and a population that’s heading south are a few big trends to watch that will likely have a great impact on the housing market over the next decade, writes John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, in a column for ATTOM Data Solutions. His team spent more than 9,000 hours researching demographic shifts that will occur over the next decade. In his column, Burns highlighted some of his findings from a book that he and Chris Porter published, Big Shifts Ahead: Demographic Clarity for Businesses. Here are some of the demographic trends Burns says to watch over the next 10 years:
1. More people over the age of 65: Thirty-eight percent of the population will be over the age of 65 within the next decade—the number will hit 66 million people by 2025. Burns says this will spark even greater demand for high-density, low-maintenance living and what he calls “surban” (urban living in suburban environments). Burns also predicts that more of these baby boomers will help their children with down payments on a home in order to keep their children living nearby.
2. More affluent immigrants: Burns estimates there will be 8 million increasingly affluent immigrants over the next decade. “Today’s immigrant tends to arrive on an airplane from China, Brazil, and other countries where the economies have been booming,” Burns writes. “While most expect some slowing in those economies, the pent-up demand to move to the U.S. remains large.”
3. More people head south: Sixty-two percent of the population growth over the next decade will likely be in the South, where already 42 percent of the nation lives, Burns notes. “Plenty of jobs, affordable housing, and warm weather will make Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and surrounding states the growth engine,” Burns writes.
4. More people passing away and leaving a household behind: Burns estimates there will be 25.8 million newly formed households in the next 10 years, and 13.3 million of those will move to a household abandoned by someone who passes away or moves into an assisted living facility. “The record number of people passing away has been one big reason that net household formation has been slow,” Burns writes. “Nonetheless, these 25.8 million want to live differently than prior generations, and will fill their homes up with all sorts of technology.”
Source: “Finally: Demographic Clarity,” ATTOM Data Solutions (March 30, 2018)