Monday, September 12, 2011

Q: We are getting ready to put our home on the market and wonder about adding granite counter tops.

Everyone seems to expect that but we don’t want to spend anything that won’t get us a better price.

A: I wish no one had ever heard of granite counters! They can be burned, they can be cut and scratched, they are cold, and they are just rock for heavens sake! They will be “out” soon enough and some other ridiculous thing will be touted by all the folks waiting to make money off of everyone by convincing us that we must have this newest thing! (Sorry, but this is really one of my hot buttons)

If you really want to do something worthwhile, have a home inspection done by a licensed and certified home inspector. Fix everything. If you can’t afford to fix anything, then put it all in your seller’s disclosure (you are required to fill these out) and say right up front that you won’t fix those items. Then price the place

I can’t tell you the number of homes I’ve shown with beautiful kitchen remodels but with rotting decks, leaking roofs and faulty electrical systems. You need to know what a potential buyer’s inspector will find and fix it. You could save your sale.

Buyers often walk away from a house with too many things wrong. During a recent inspection, my buyer and I admired the lovely floor tiles in the bathroom but discovered when the inspector went under the house, that the bathroom sink and tub leaked. They had been leaking so long the floor was rotted out. That means those lovely tiles will have to come up and the entire floor replaced.

These kinds of problems can be avoided by getting a complete inspection before you list your house. Be sure you get an inspector certified to do the pest inspection too. It should be no secret that we all have rodent roommates. Get them taken care of before the buyer has to hear about it from their own inspector.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Q: We had a home inspection done on a place we wanted to buy.

It was really scary! There were some plumbing leaks and reverse electric plugs and rot in the decks. The crawl space had been infested with rats at some point, and all the insulation was pulled down. We decided not to buy that house. 

We are new to this and want to know how we can tell ahead of time when a house is such a fixer. We can just afford the bottom price range. Is that why the house was in poor shape?

A:  You may not realize it but those items you listed are really minor. They are common to most homes that have been lived in and all of it is easy to repair or fix. Almost all homes, particularly in the Northwest, have some rodents in their crawl space or attic. There are effective ways to deal with that.

Mot homes have plumbing leaks that the owners overlook and they are easily repaired.Wood will rot over time if not kept up very carefully  but a few rotted boards are easily replaced. The reverse electrical plugs refer to reverse polarity and even brand new homes can have these and they are very simple to correct.

Perhaps you need to educate your selves more about home ownership and just learn more about the systems of a house and their care.The list of repairs you brought me from your inspection would probably amount to less than a day of work for a contractor or handy person and the cost would be low.

You'll find these same  problems in most of the houses you are looking at. But there are such issues even in very high end homes. While it's easy to say that less expensive homes receive less care, I've seen real deal breaking problems in expensive houses too.

There are serious defects in many houses, of course, and finding those is the mail reason for having a home inspection. Deferred maintenance or small, easy to fix problems shouldn't keep you from home ownership.