Tuesday, September 25, 2018

  Fall is finally here ...

...and it won’t be long before the first frost. 

If you live in Colorado, you should know that it’s a coin toss on whether the first snow will be a drizzle or a blizzard.

Let’s be smarter this year and get ahead of the coming cold weather and prepare for the inevitable winter that’s just around the corner. A little preventative maintenance now and we can enjoy our winter activities without worry later.

Please, please, clean your gutters.

If you were one of my Home Inspection clients, you’ve already endured my lecture of the importance of clean gutters.  It’s the single most effective way of keeping your home in good shape.  Hire someone to clean them – don't risk injury by taking my advice to clean your gutters! Falling from ladders is more common than you think.

Adding insulation and caulking around windows can make your home more comfortable and cheaper to heat.  Now is a great time to do those tasks while the weather is nice – you won’t want to do it once the cold wind starts to blow.

Instead of raking your leaves, consider buying a “mulching blade” for your lawn mower. You'll be amazed at how one of these can turn a pile of leaves into valuable organic matter for your lawn.

It’s time to clean your chimney if you haven’t had it done in the last three years, . If you enjoy frequent fires in your fireplace, or if you burn pine logs, consider having your chimney cleaned every year.

Order your firewood. If you’re new to the neighborhood, ask neighbors for a good firewood supplier.  Hardwood, such as oak, maple, or elm, are your best choices as long as they are seasoned for at least a year. Speaking of firewood, now is a good time to have the trees trimmed. You can have the trimmings cut and stacked for next year’s firewood – but make sure you let it dry for a year before you burn it.

Remember when you bought your home and your Home Inspector recommended an annual HVAC Maintenance contract?

Now is the time you want to schedule your furnace Clean and tune. 

You don’t want to beg for service if your furnace conks out on a freezing February night. There is no better time than now to start a relationship with a reputable HVAC company. Annual service contracts are worth it.

Once you take care of your home, you can count on your home taking care of you.  This winter, let’s enjoy the wonders that winter brings to us and know that we’re prepared to make the most of the season.

Did you find this article helpful? Visit My Website or Like Me on Facebook to follow my blog.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How to Save Money on Your Home Inspection

How to Save Money On Your Home Inspection

You've finally found "The One"
Great home. Great neighborhood. And now the work begins. You still have some hurdles to get over before moving day. Now that the sellers have accepted your offer, you still have to get an appraisal, arrange your mortgage and get an inspection.

But How do You Save Money on the Inspection?

Are you trying to save on the cost of the fee that the Inspector charges, or do you want to save real money? If you want to make sure the home you're buying doesn't have hidden expenses that will really cost you after you move in, trying to find the Inspector with the lowest fee is taking the wrong approach! 

The "cheapest" inspector is the cheapest for a reason. 

They are either inexperienced or they will rush through your home because they have two more inspections scheduled after yours! In either case, there is a real likelihood that they’ll miss important and potentially expensive issues. 

The Best Inspector is a Certified Professional Inspector.  

But even that certification isn't enough. Your Inspector should have a well-rounded construction background. Not just in one trade, but as a contractor that has a working knowledge of all the trades. Talk with your Inspector and make sure they can effectively communicate their findings to you. The most important part of the Inspector's job is to supply your Realtor with the information they need to negotiate on your behalf. An experienced Inspector will know how to put a priority on any issues with your home in terms of how much the corrections are likely to cost you. That's where the real money is.

Where do you find the Best Home Inspector?  

If your Realtor knows an Inspector they trust - and you trust your Realtor - you can be comfortable with their recommendation. Good Realtors really do look out for you. They know the long - term liabilities of hiring a "soft" inspector. Problems with a home will reveal themselves sooner or later, and knowing sooner is best - because you can negotiate a solution with the seller - therefore saving you money! If the problems surface after the sale, that will cost you. You won't be happy with your Realtor and they won't be getting referrals from you. 

If you'd rather find an inspector on your own, make sure that whoever you choose is an experienced Certified Professional Inspector.  You can start with a simple Google search for Inspectors in your area.  

Skip the ads.

Go to the Inspectors with the highest organic results on Google.  They got there by working hard and being recommended - not by paying a fee. If you use a service like Home Advisor or Angie's List, keep in mind those Inspectors pay a hefty fee to be listed on those sights as well. And naturally, the cost of advertising gets passed on to you if you hire them.

Are you hiring a Salesman, or an Inspector?

Many Inspectors use gimmicks or "freebies" to entice you to use them. They may offer 90 day guarantees to make you "feel good" about hiring them. Any warranty that a Home Inspector can offer you for "free" isn't worth the paper it's written on. There are good Home Warranty programs, but the ones that will actually offer a degree of protection will cost a bit more than "free" - and usually can be obtained through the seller or your Realtor. Don't be tricked by a worthless warranty. Hire an Inspector that sells Inspecting.

You've come this far, Let's finish strong.

I know you've been negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals. Don't stop now. Don't skimp on the Home Inspection.  What an Experienced Home Inspector can save you in costs far exceeds the fee that they charge.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Inspection

Getting a Check-up For Your Home - Before You Buy

When you go to the doctor for your annual physical, you get professional feedback on your health. You learn if you have any medical issues that need to be fixed. A home inspection is like a physical examination for a house. An Inspection Report simply describes and identifies what might need repair or replacement in the home you want to buy.

The difference between a good inspection and a bad inspection is the Inspector – not the condition of the house. The house is what it is – and you will find out what its condition is sooner or later. Sooner is better.  Later is a surprise that you don’t want to have.

But How do You Find the Best Inspector?

There are 3 types of inspectors. New inspectors are enthusiastic, hungry, and cheap. If you’re lucky, they have some training and at least follow a Standard of Practice, but often they’re employees of a larger company and what they're trained to do is run through a house as quickly as possible and get to their next job – because they're expected to do 2 or 3 inspections a day! New inspectors come with two strikes against them: 1) the likelihood that they’ll miss important issues because of their inexperience, and 2) the very real possibility that they will misidentify things as problems where none exist. Bad information from a new inspector could cause you to miss out on the Home of your dreams.

Then there is the Over-zealous inspector.  Often, they specialized in a trade before becoming inspectors. They have a nasty habit of making mountains out of molehills – especially in the trade they used to be in. Many don’t have a holistic understanding of homes and how the various systems interact. They tend to only focus on their one area of expertise and they often miss the “Big Picture”.

The Best Inspector is an experienced Certified Professional InspectorThey have a well-rounded construction background  and the ability to effectively communicate their findings to you. They won’t miss a thing and they’ll supply your Realtor with the information they need to negotiate on your behalf. They’ll get you the facts that will help you to make a good decision now – and be comfortable with that decision in the future.

How do you find the Best Home Inspector?  
Your Realtor knows who it is! But why do so many Real Estate agents not give you the name of that best Inspector? It’s because of a very persistent myth. Realtors are terrified of a Negligent Referral lawsuit. The most common way Real Estate agents protect themselves against this unlikely event is they give you a list of three home inspection companies because they've been told it reduces their liability. But the reality is, the chance that referring an experienced Certified Professional Inspector will result in a lawsuit is about the same as being struck by lightning the same day you win the lottery. 

I understand where this seems to make sense. If they tell you to hire an inspector that disappoints you, it can come back to bite them in the form of a lawsuit. But Realtors actually create liability for themselves in referring three Inspectors instead of the best one they know. They’re asking you to play the lottery when they already know the winning number!

Do you trust your Realtor? If you don’t, fire them and get another one.  If you do, ask them who the Best Inspector is that they know, and trust in that Realtor's expertise and the Inspector they recommend will be the best choice to work hard on your behalf.

Your Realtor is like a General going to battle for you.  The Inspector you hire is their Forward Observer who gathers intel so they can best fight that battle. If you get the home you want for a price that is fair, you will be their customer for life. Of course they will help you pick the best Team to serve you.

What do you hope will be the best outcome of your home inspection?
You may hope that the inspector finds nothing wrong with the house, the negotiations go smoothly and you live happily ever after. One can dream, right? Yes, I’ve found that 4-leaf clover. If there’s nothing wrong with a house, I turn my focus to showing you how to maintain and monitor your home to keep it good condition. 

But almost every home has some issues. Honestly, the best outcome is to find and identify all the issues with the home, and to document them in a fashion so your Realtor can negotiate skillfully on your behalf.

What do you fear could be the worst outcome?
Buying a home is always stressful, especially at the time of the inspection. You’ve invested so much time and energy to find this home and now you worry that the inspector will find a “show-stopper” like a bad foundation or a sacred burial ground in the basement and the deal will be killed.

These are even rarer than the “perfect home”, but they do happen.  Sometimes it’s best to run – not walk – away from a home with serious problems. That’s why you’ve hired a Realtor you trust. That's why you insist on the Best Inspector.

You’ll find a better house, and when you get through the inspection and finally settled in, you can sleep well, because you know that you hired the best team that wasn't afraid to go to battle to find The Perfect Home for You.