Posts Tagged ‘Buying A Home’

How Much Does Home Inspection Cost ?

Posted on: June 6th, 2016 | No Comments

How Much is a Home InspectionPurchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest decisions one makes in life, so it’s essential to be sure you’re purchasing the right one – and avoiding any unpleasant surprises that may come with it.

 

A property inspection is a small investment that plays a big role in your home-buying process. Our thorough inspection services include a complete assessment of the home’s systems and interior/exterior components, also evaluating how these systems are working together and identifying areas that need to be watched, repaired or replaced.

How Much is a Home Inspection ?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), costs for home inspections vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors, typically ranging from $300 to $500. The reported average costs around $315, with condos and homes under 1,000 sq. ft. costing as little as $200 and homes over 2,000 sq. ft. costing $400 or more.

Here is what you should know going into the home inspection process:

  • Inspectors quote inspection fees using different methods. Some charge a flat rate by square footage of the living areas, some by square footage under the roof, or others may charge by amount of time spent on the inspection.
  • Typically, the larger your home is, the more you should expect to pay for an inspection.
  • The age of the home can affect cost as well. Newer homes can usually be inspected in a shorter time than older ones due to repairs, additions and other aspects that come with age.
  • There’s no industry standard for calculating home inspection price, so be sure to ask your inspector up front how much you’ll be charged.
  • Paying the lowest cost doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best value. Inspectors aren’t regulated by the HUD, so inspectors charging the cheapest rates may not be providing the most thorough service.

 

If you’re ready to purchase a home, before you close the deal, Inspect-It 1st! Our pre-purchase inspections will give you the accurate information you need to make one of life’s most important decisions, with confidence. We encourage potential buyers to accompany the inspector, and after our on-site inspection and consultation, you will receive our high-quality, thorough inspection report, complete with color photos and an easy-to-use summary. Contact us today to learn more about the home inspection process and to get started on yours!

 

The Importance of Water Quality Testing This Summer

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 | No Comments

Water quality testing keeps your family safe.Water quality testing on an annual basis or when purchasing a new home prevents unnecessary health risks to you and your family. While the United States has one of the safest and healthiest water supplies in the world, there’s still a chance of contamination. The only way to be sure of the water being delivered to your home is through water quality testing by professionals. Even if you have a water test kit, it’s not something you can figure out on your own. There are contaminants that may escape the detection of anyone who isn’t trained in what to look for and where.

 

Is water quality testing regulated?

Yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates your tap water so that it is safe to drink and use. They create rules for proper water treatment and the maximum contaminant levels of different elements that can safely exist in a public water supply without posing a risk.

 

Companies like Inspect-It 1st utilize the rules and regulations set up by the EPA to ensure public safety. Through a combination of specialized equipment and experience, inspectors test your home’s water directly and determine if anything needs to be fixed in order to maintain a safe and sanitary water supply.

 

What contaminants can water quality testing detect?

There are standards and regulations for over 90 different types of water contaminants, including Salmonella, E. Coli, and disinfectant by-products. In some cases, the presence of a contaminant may make the water unsafe to drink. In other cases, only a very high level of a contaminant will cause concern.

The contaminants come from a variety of places or land conditions. Here are a few common sources for the contaminants detected by water quality testing:

  • Manufacturing processes nearby can pollute the groundwater with heavy metals or cyanide.
  • Sewage systems may malfunction or seep into the incoming water supply.
  • Local land use practices (fertilization, pesticides, livestock) can contaminate local water sources.

Why is water quality testing so important?

While the presence of certain naturally occurring chemicals or minerals may not pose an imminent threat, other contaminants can be seriously hazardous to your family’s health. Health issues from unclean water include reproductive problems, neurological conditions, and gastrointestinal illness. Infants, pregnant women, and the elderly may have a particularly high risk for these health conditions.

If you suspect your home water to be compromised or want to ensure that the water in a new house is safe, Inspect-It 1st. Water quality testing keeps your family safe and allows your mind to be at ease in your new home! Find an inspector near you today.

DIY Spring Curb Appeal Landscaping

Posted on: April 12th, 2016 | No Comments

Curb appeal landscaping helps in a house sale.Curb appeal landscaping should be top priority now that the winter months are blowing away and spring is on the horizon. An overgrown or neglected garden may make the first impression in your potential house sale, turning buyers off before they ever make it through the door. That means less money in your pocket as well as a longer time on the market.

 

To remedy the situation, you have options. You may choose to hire a professional landscaping team. This option reduces your net profit on the sale but also reduces the time spent on preparations. However, with a little research and a free weekend, you can turn a drab yard into an appealing green oasis.

 

In getting your property ready to go on the market, utilize these five steps for DIY spring curb appeal landscaping:

  1. Assessment – Start your curb appeal landscaping endeavor by assessing the size and scope of the project. How much ground do you have to cover? Which areas present hazards or need complete revamping? Are there any features that work or should be highlighted, such as a particularly lovely oak tree? Make a plan for each area, but don’t overdo it. You want to showcase the yard as beautiful to many different tastes, and that means letting the buyer fill in the blanks, so-to-speak. Give them some freedom of movement with your choices. And ultimately, showcase the house!
  2. Cleanup – Your yard may include dead or fallen branches and trees to clear away or grass that needs to be ripped up. Maybe the soil should be tilled or weeds need clearing. Whatever green you take away, consider sending it to a green waste recycling facility.
  3. Irrigation – Now that the yard is primarily clear and uncluttered, you may want to assess or upgrade the irrigation system. Are there sprinkles in appropriate places? If not, are they needed? Perhaps you are building a low-maintenance yard or the house is in a dry climate. Take note of these things before proceeding.
  4. Planting – Finally, it’s time to plant! Follow your plan from the assessment step, adding life and color to your yard in a way that would catch your eye if YOU were seeing it for the first time. It need not be an expensive upgrade. A few flowers around a tree, in front of the house, or along a stone path can be a nice, welcoming touch!
  5. Fertilizer and Finish – Step back, take a breather, and congratulate yourself on a job well-done. Observe how the yard develops within the next week or two. If grass, plants, flowers, etc. need a little nudge to get going, add some fertilizer. Also, if your house was already on the market, be sure to ask your realtor to use updated house photos.

Are you ready to sell? Along with proper preparations and staging, don’t forget to Inspect-It 1st! A house inspection by the current owner goes a long way toward encouraging a quick and profitable house sale. Contact Inspect-It 1st today at (877) 392-6278.

6 Things to Avoid When House Hunting

Posted on: June 15th, 2015 | No Comments

House hunting for the perfect home.House hunting can be an exciting experience, but it comes with its challenges. No matter how new the property is, there may still be issues that can lead to large expenses. An Inspect-It 1st home inspector can find issues with a property and inform you about repairs the house may need. Here are 6 problems we recommend that you avoid when house hunting.

  • Foundation issues. The foundation is critical to the structural integrity of your home. The problem is that many foundation issues are not visible to the buyer. Foundation repairs can cost several thousand dollars, and can lead to further issues down the road if not repaired promptly. If your home inspector mentions any issues involving the foundation, your best bet may be to walk away and continue house hunting.
  • Roof repairs. Take notice of any visible damage on the roof. While you’ll still want an inspector to investigate, problems such as missing shingles or other roofing damage can give you an idea of how well the house has been maintained. A damaged roof can also lead to water damage throughout the home. The total repair costs could easily reach over $10,000.
  • Siding replacement. The outside of a home can really take a beating from nature’s elements. Take a walk around the exterior of the home and give the outer shell a critical once-over. If the siding appears to be rotting, damaged, or rusting, be sure to factor that into your house hunting plan.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Another issue that you may not notice until you bring an inspector on board is the HVAC system. Does the home have a ventilation system, and if so, is it damaged? These are important things to note when house hunting. Replacing a furnace, air conditioner, or repairing ventilation can cost you thousands in unexpected costs.
  • Deck repair. If the home has a deck, take a look for rotting or cracks. A deck is a major perk for many people, but a damaged deck can pose safety problems and a hefty repair bill.
  • Driveway. When you’re house hunting, remember that you are investing in more than the house itself. If the driveway is damaged and cracked, it’s likely that a repair or replacement will be needed soon. If not repaired, it can cause damage to your vehicles over time.

These are not necessarily a deal breaker for everyone, however avoiding these while on your house hunting journey can save you thousands of dollars. Some issues are visible, but there are many things that may not be so obvious. Although it’s good to check for issues when house hunting, it’s still crucial for every home buyer to get a home inspection before making the purchase. At Inspect-It 1st, our experts provide you with a thorough, honest inspection so you have all the information you need about the property. Get in touch with us today!

Home Buying Checklist

Posted on: May 8th, 2015 | No Comments

 

Home buying checklist for your next home.A home buying checklist can make a huge difference in your search for a new home. How do you know which house is the right house for you? Once you are preapproved for a home loan, the next step is to create a checklist. A well-thought-out checklist can help you make rational decisions based on your wants, and more importantly, your needs. Here are a few items we recommend you keep in mind when creating your home buying checklist.

  • Location: One of the most important points on any home buying checklist is where your future home will be located. The main factor to keep in mind is where the members of the household will need to commute to, for example, work or school. Other things to note are the city property taxes, crime rates, and school district ratings. Sit down and determine that the area fits your situation best.
  • Layout: Now that you’ve determined the area in which you’d like your next home to be, determine what type of layout is important to you. Do you need all bedrooms on one level, or would you prefer to have a master retreat away from the kids? Would you like an open floor plan, or do you prefer clearly separated rooms? These are important details to note on your home buying checklist.
  • Number and size of rooms: How many people will be living in the home, and do they all need their own bedroom? Is a guest room important for the in-laws, or would you rather they stay at a hotel when they come to town? Make sure you have enough room, without buying more than you need.
  • Bathrooms: There’s very little appeal to a ten bedroom home if there’s only one bathroom. Adding bathrooms later can be expensive, so decide how many you need to live comfortably.
  • Windows: When walking through your potential new home, pay attention to the window size and placement throughout the house. Windows let in natural light and help the space feel more open and inviting.
  • Lot size and grade: Walk around the property and take note of the lot. Keep in mind, a large lot will take more maintenance, but a small lot will often result in close neighbors. Also, to help keep water out of the home, you’ll want the terrain to slope away from the home.
  • Parking: An easy-to-overlook detail is the parking situation. Does the home have a garage? Will you need to park on the street? Depending on the area, this could be a major issue.
  • Heating and cooling systems: Depending on the climate of your location, heating or air conditioning could be essential. Take note on your home buyer checklist of the heating and cooling situation in the home.
  • Laundry room location: Seems like a silly thing to put on the home buyer checklist, right? Well, you’d be surprised how important it is. Would you prefer the laundry room to be in the basement, far away from the bedrooms, or would you prefer it to be on the main living level or even on an upper level?
  • Organize and prioritize: You could spend months, or even years, searching for the dream home in your budget. Taking notes on your home buying checklist regarding what’s most important will help you compromise where needed and make a calculated decision.

Finally, once you’ve found the house that you hope to purchase, set up a home inspection to make sure everything is in good condition. When you’re ready, contact the home inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st. Even if everything looks good to the eye, it’s crucial to let a professional look at every aspect of the home to assure that you are making a good purchase. We’ll set you up with an honest top-to-bottom inspection!

Moving Checklist – Where to Start

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 | No Comments

Moving checklistAre you contemplating a move? Already made the decisions to put your home on the market? This is a big undertaking with a lot of moving parts, so being prepared and organized is important. Today, we’re going through the pre-moving checklist. This list outlines everything you’ll need to do to prepare your home for the sales process.

 

  • Collect the papers: Utility bills, appliance manuals and even notes on paint colors or swatches for fabrics, all of this information can help to entice a potential buyer. It also gives you a chance to get organized and clean out some of the outdated information you may have been hanging onto otherwise.
  • Start getting repair estimates: Is your washing machine acting up or A/C unit on it’s last leg? Some buyers will want a discount on the overall price of the house to replace such things, while others will want them taken care of prior to signing. Repair estimates give you a realistic number and a bargaining chip to be used in during negotiation.
  • Assess your home’s curb appeal…objectively: We know you love your garden gnomes but potential buyers may not get their charm. We have many blogs with useful information about enhancing the look of your home’s exterior.
  • Start going through the clutter: Go through your entire home and begin to sift through everything. Find something you never knew you had? Get rid of it. Six spatulas in the kitchen, 3 can go. Old clothes in the back of the closet are only taking up room. Consider donating to a local charity or host a garage sale to move the merch and make a little money while you’re at it.
  • Start to put away the personal photos and trinkets: People who tour your home are trying to picture themselves in it, not you. Removing these personal touches may seem strange or cold but it can help move the house toward a sale more quickly.
  • Begin the deep clean: By this point in the sales process, you’ve likely boxed up and moved out the majority of your things. In some cases, you may have already moved into the new home or a transitional housing option. Once the house is essentially empty, it’s time to get on your hands and knees and scour everything. Floors, walls, ceiling, appliances, kitchen, bathroom and even the garage should all be gone over with a fine tooth comb. If you’re unable to do the deep cleaning yourself, enlist some family members or contact a local household cleaning company to help.
  • Take a step back: Once the deep clean is complete, it’s your realtors turn to take over. You’ve gotten through the most difficult part of the process and now you can sit back, relax and let your realtor do their job.

We understand that this list may seem overwhelming to start. Fortunately, you can find detailed moving checklists on our homepage to guide you. Each week has specific tasks and recommendation to ensure a smooth transition into your new home.

 

Electrical Wiring: How To Be Sure Your Home is Up to Code

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 | No Comments

Electrical wiring by an electrician.

From running the dishwasher to powering important electronic devices, electricity runs our lives. But, what happens if there is a problem with the system? Exposed wiring, outdated breakers, and a host of other potential issues could pose dangers for you and your family. So, how can you avoid these pitfalls and ensure the wiring in your home is safe? Here are a few tips from the experts at Inspect-It 1st:

  1. Get your home inspected if it is:
    • Over 40 Years Old: Old wiring and circuits can wear out, become exposed or simply not be fit to handle the amount of energy that is being transmitted along them. Ensure any older wiring is up to par by getting it professionally inspected by a home inspector or your local electrician.
    • Major Renovations: If your home has had any major renovations or additions and is more than 10 years old, it is a good idea to get the wiring inspected. Verify all new wiring was run correctly and that safety standards for adding an electrical circuit meet code requirements.
    • New Home: If you are moving into a new home. No matter what age your home is, it is always a good idea to have the electrical wiring inspected to make sure it is up to code prior to purchasing. Repairs can sometimes be costly, so knowing beforehand is important when assessing your the best purchase options.
  2. Keep an eye out for unexpected power loss, flickering lights, overheating switch plates or outlet covers and other signs of electrical problems. These can indicate faulty or old wiring that can cause electrocution or start a fire.
  3. Check your fuse panel. If fuses are consistently being blown, they may be old and need replacing. Additionally, over fused electric panels can be extremely dangerous. Be sure the electric panel does not contain fuses or breakers rated at a higher current than the current capacity allows.
  4. Label all fuses or breakers in the electrical panel.
  5. Test outlets to ensure all plugs fit snugly and do not move or wobble. If outlets are not snug, they should be replaced  to avoid shocks or potential fires.
  6. Maintain cord integrity. If you find a cord that is frayed or damaged, remove and replace it immediately for your safety. Any exposed wiring can be dangerous because splicing and taping is not a safe, long-term solution.

Maintaining a safe electrical system in your home is important to avoid the occasional shock or blown fuse. It can also prevent larger shocks and electrical malfunctions which could lead to an electrical fire. By inspecting your home’s wiring thoroughly when you move in and maintaining the wiring through proper maintenance and upkeep, you can feel better about the safety of your home for both you and your family.

 

Don’t have a trusted electrician in your area yet? Inspect-It 1st can provide an experienced and trustworthy inspector that will evaluate your home’s wiring system. They can also provide you with the names of electricians in your area that can help fix any present problems.

6 Questions to Ask Your Potential Home Inspector

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 | No Comments

inspector_smiling_while_looking_at_a_water_heaterWhether you are buying or selling, having an inspection is the first step to understanding the condition of any residential or commercial space. This information can influence whether you make an offer or how high or low you set the properties price. Inspections can also point out safety hazards and other concerns. That is why it is important to find an inspector who is going to be thorough, knowledgeable and honest. There are many questions to ask a potential inspector to determine if they will exceed your expectation. Here are six that will give you a realistic expectation for service and hopefully narrow down the field for you too.

 

Are you state certified and compliant?
This question should always be your first. These certifications require extensive training and qualification that are necessary for any inspector to do their job effectively. Being compliant is the second part but just as important . Many inspectors will be certified but do not take steps to renew as this certification expires. An up to date certification means an inspector has proven their knowledge and are providing top notch inspections and reports. Since these reports can make a huge difference in price and buyer consideration, having a certified inspector also adds weight to the inspection report.

 

What was your training?
There are many way to become a home inspector. Unfortunately, online courses that provide certification same week are available. These courses are not recommended as they provide no hands on training. When deciding on your inspector be sure to ask for proof of certification, hours of training completed, field experience and continued education. By ensuring your inspector has all of this, you can be assured they are well qualified and competent to perform a top notch inspection.

 

Do you carry insurance?
There are two types of insurance every inspector should hold. The first is Professional Liability Insurance or Errors or Omissions Insurance. Inspectors occasionally may miss something in the chaos that usually accompanies an inspection. This insurance protects you and you inspector from future costs that may be incurred by these errors or omissions. Additionally, General Liability Insurance protects from damage incurred or injury sustained during an inspection. Ask for proof of both of these insurance to ensure you have an inspector who will stand by their report.

 

What type of report will I receive?
Reports can vary between inspectors. Insist on a detailed report including photographs and descriptions. This will be immensely helpful when it comes time to make the necessary repairs and adds accountability and value to the inspection report.

 

Are you an independent inspector or a franchise?
Independent inspectors may not require as much training or continued education as a franchised branch. Be sure to look into the requirements of your state as well as any companies you are considering using to determine their level of training and education. When choosing a franchised inspector you are more likely to find more rigorous training, continued education and insured inspectors. Franchises also tend to hold high standards of customer service and inspection because they represent a larger organization.

 

Do you have any referrals from past inspections?
The opinions of former customers can mean a lot. No referrals should be a red flag to anyone because even though it might mean they were not terrible, it also means they did not provide a stellar inspection. So, do your research and find out what other consumers are saying about the company, services and employees. These can help you narrow down the last few inspectors and find your winner.

 

You may not have known there were so many steps to choosing an inspector but keep in mind, these men and women are catching safety hazards and other concerns with your home. By asking these questions early, doing your research and insisting on education, certification and insurance you are more likely to receive the most thorough report possible. These reports can greatly influence buyer interest and price so the more information you have the better. Don’t settle for anything less than the high expectations set by the questions above.

 

Having trouble finding an inspector you can trust in your area? Check out the Inspect-It 1st website to locate a franchise near you, research services and get your inspection questions answered all in one place.

 

Home Inspectors and Realtors: Why Getting Along Is Good Business

Posted on: March 29th, 2012 | No Comments

If you’ve spent some time looking at options for home inspection, you’ve probably noticed that realtors and home inspectors don’t always see eye to eye. In fact, some realtors and inspectors verbally bash the “other side” when talking with a home buyer or seller.

 

We think there’s a better way to navigate the housing market. Our ultimate aim is to provide a service for the client that is not only valuable and helpful, but pleasant. Tearing down an industry that may sometimes conflict with your interests creates a negative atmosphere – and it doesn’t give your client a reason to trust you. Create a relationship built on positives instead by emphasizing the value you offer and the openness of your inspection process!

 

In many cases, a home inspector and a realtor have goals in common. They both want the client to be able to sell or buy a house that will keep them happy for years to come. Giving the buyer/seller a sense of security and safety is also a shared goal. Realtors and home inspectors can work together to deliver these crucial services. The realtors know the ins and outs of mortgages, loans, and demographics, and can point you to the style of home you’re seeking. A home inspector understands the inner workings of that home and can ensure it is safe and cost-effective.

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Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

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