Home Inspections & sellers disclosures (part one)

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, October 20th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
Monday, October 22nd , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, November 3rd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room

      1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy …Sunday night

  I love Sundays…  I really do, and especially a drizzly and gray one. Granted I’m only doing laundry and cleaning house, but still …  a gray and drizzly Sunday calls out for pj’s all day, my comfy couch,  a cozy blanket, and football on the TV.  It’s a glorious day I tell you… glorious.  I even took a short nap!  When the day is gray and drizzly, I don’t feel guilty for a ‘down’ day.  🙂

We do have an exciting event coming up though….  Winter Client Appreciation!
Saturday, November 17th, from 3pm-6pm, Chris Berg & I are thrilled to be hosting the NEW, ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them’ movie!!  You know the drill…  let me, or Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com) know how many adults & kids tickets you need….  and yes, there are some 21+ tickets available as well.  Limit of 6 tickets please unless you have talked to me or Chris Berg about it first. We are excited to see you soon!!  🙂 …and Thank YOU.. Thank you for your referrals!  Thank you for recommending us, or the classes to those you know (and on Facebook too), and THANK YOU for letting us to be part of your home adventures. We appreciate you so much

So this week I do want to talk about something that has come up a couple of times recently…  Inspections, Repairs, and what happens AFTER.. What do I mean about ‘after’ though? Well, first let’s talk about Inspections for just a bit…

It is my opinion that you shouldn’t waive the home inspection… it doesn’t matter if the home is brand new, or a 100 years old, you should ALWAYS have a home inspection done.  After mutual acceptance of the offer (where both buyer & seller have agreed to all terms), the home goes into ‘pending’ status, and this is where your timelines start.  In real estate we have a lot of timelines that we need to make sure we are meeting, and the inspection is a BIG one.  From mutual acceptance you have 10 CALENDAR days to have the home inspection done, and to request any repairs from the seller.  ‘Calendar Days’ being the key word words here.  A few things to remember about the home inspection… the home inspector does need to be licensed in the state of Washington, but he’s usually not a contractor.  What this means is that if you have something about the home that you have a concern about, we would want to request a licensed contractor to come look at it.   If you are buying a used car, you would take that car to a mechanic to take a look at it, right?  Is that mechanic going to find everything wrong with the car?  Most likely not, but that mechanic can usually tell you pretty quickly if there is anything seriously wrong with vehicle in the short period they’re checking it out.  As a potential buyer this will help you decide if you want to purchase that vehicle in its current condition, if you want to go back to the seller and re-negotiate, or if you maybe don’t want to buy that car at all.  This is a lot like a home inspection.  You are purchasing a ‘used’ home … nothing more, and nothing less. This is not ‘Holmes on Homes’, and the inspector can’t do anything invasive to the home.  During the home inspection you are having a ‘house mechanic’ take a quick look at the home to see what they can find about it that you can use to decide if you want to continue with the purchase of the home with the home in its current condition, if you want to go back to the seller and re-negotiate for some repairs, or if you want to back out of the purchase of the home inspection.  Just like a mechanic though there are good ones out there and some … well….some not so good.  You can always ask your Realtor if they have any inspectors they could refer you to, or ask family/friends.  I will give you a list of questions to ask too.
Just like a vehicle mechanic though, even with good ones…  sometimes they don’t catch things.  Most inspections are only a couple of hours and again, it’s visual.  You will find more things as you live in the home… just like you find things once you actually start driving the car regularly.  You are going to live in that home differently than the last home owner did…just like you are going to drive the car differently than the last owner did. The goal of BOTH inspections is to hopefully catch anything ‘major’…anything that could affect the health and/or safety of the home or the occupants, and anything that could require the assistance of a licensed contractor.   During the home inspection there is a very good chance the home inspector IS going to talk with you about things in the home that you should be aware of as a homeowner. Some of these items are going to be things to ‘keep an eye on’ for future repair, some of these items may just be things you ‘need to know’…informational things…, and some of these things may be items that need repair now.  YOU should be at the home inspection, and your AGENT should be at the home inspection as well. We can’t help you if we aren’t there… and we are here to help you.   You, and your agent, will talk about the home inspection and what (if any) repair requests you would like to send to the sellers for their consideration.  There are going to be things that you will be needing (or wanting) to do as a homeowner when you move in, so what we’re looking for at the home inspection is anything that (again) is going to affect the health/safety of the home, or the occupants… or that is going to need to be looked at/repaired by a licensed contractor.
After the home inspection (I usually advise my clients to respond with the inspection repairs within 24 hours at the most), you need to decide if you are ok with the home in its current condition and what to continue forward to closing, if you just want to back out of the purchase based on the information from the home inspection,  or if you want to request any repairs from the seller.  In 99% of the cases, this is what happens….  you have talked to the inspector,you have seen the report, you have talked with your agent and you are ok with some things at the home inspection, but there are some items you want repaired.  Your agent then sends that form with the information of those items to the sellers agent to go over with the seller. The seller has 3 days to respond.  The seller may come back and say, ‘we will do no repairs…buy as-is, or back out’, or the seller may say, “we will do all the repairs and we move forward to closing’, or the seller (as usually happens) might say, ” we will repair items 1, 2, and 4, but not 3, 5, and 6…and we’ll do item #7, but changing it to this”.    The sellers agent will send this information back to your agent, and then You and your agent will discuss your response…. Are you ok with the sellers response? Are you not ok?  Do you want to continue forward to closing? Do you want to back out?  …or maybe you want to counter their response?  See…  re-negotiating….   However, if both parties can not come to an agreement then the deal does fall apart and dies. You will get your earnest money back as that is a legal reason to back out (as long as you didn’t waive your home inspection), but you will lose the money you paid to the home inspector for the inspection.

One thing you want to talk about with your agent before the home inspection is the sellers disclosures.  The sellers disclosures are a 6 page form where the sellers are ‘supposed’ to disclose everything they know about the home during their home ownership.  Again… key words.. ‘during their home ownership’.  The sellers are supposed to disclose anything that has happened, and been repaired, and/or anything that they are aware of… during their ownership of the home.  If it is, or was, something that was prior to their ownership?  Well…  should they disclose?  Yes…if they are aware of it, but one thing to remember is that most sellers do not really know anything about their home.  The sellers disclosures are filled out by the sellers, and their agents can’t really help them fill them out.  Personally,  when I am listing a home, I explain what the sellers disclosures are, and what the questions mean.  Many sellers disclosures are just randomly filled out by the sellers who have no idea what they are doing.  So look at the sellers disclosures, ask questions about it.  Your buyers agent can ask the sellers for more information on anything, and as always, you can ask the home inspector to take a look at anything that you have concerns about.  Sellers disclosures are difficult because sometimes… a lot of times actually… they are not filled out correctly.  I have had  to send them back to the sellers agents a couple of times requesting they be filled out correctly, and/or asking for more information from the sellers. This is frustrating for the sellers, and for the buyers…and yes, for me as well.  As with ALL legal forms, and yes, Realtor forms used when buying and/or selling a home, ARE legal forms… don’t fill out, or sign anything without being certain what you are signing. Ask questions….ASK for clarification…ASK, ASK, ASK…  Your Realtor is here to help you. I am going to talk about sellers disclosures more next week because we have had some issues with them recently after closing….

So, home inspectors and home inspections…  remember that this wet and rainy weather is a GREAT time for home inspections!  We get a lot of rain here so this weather is the best time to see if there are any water/moisture issues in, or UNDER the home.  

When hiring a home inspector some good questions to ask them are:
How long have you been licensed?
    Licensing for home inspectors in the State of Washington has only has only been required since September of 2009. Many inspectors were in business, unlicensed, before that. Some inspectors took the initiative and were licensed way before that. Your inspector should be bonded, insured, and carry E&O (errors and omissions) insurance.
How long will the inspection take? How much is it?
    The average home inspection should take about 2-3 hours. The average cost is about $400-$450…now to be honest, you can get an inspection for cheaper, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Make sure your inspector is inspecting what is important to you. Remember, as a buyer, the inspector works for you…not the buyers agent, the sellers agent, or the sellers. YOU, the buyer, are hiring this contractor to perform a service for you. Ask the inspector what their inspection entails, and what is included…or not.
What does your home inspection entail? What will you do?
    A home inspector should be walking and checking the roof. A roof must have 2+ year certificate for state or government grants/loans, VA loans, and FHA loans. A home inspector should be walking around the exterior and checking the siding, and looking at the housing vents for broken/missing screens. The home inspector will also be looking at vegetation around the home, and look at the water meter on the curb for current activity.
Inside the home, the inspector will crawl the crawlspace looking for leaks, groundwater, evidence or signs of current, or past animal activity, etc. The inspector should also be checking the atticspace for signs of current or past leakage and/or mold.
    The inspector will also be looking at all water faucets and toilets for leakage, drainage, and more. The inspector should also be checking all windows, electrical outlets and the main electric box for safety hazards, vents and heating units, and more.
Do you (the inspector) have a water reader?
    Some inspectors have a water reader that reads moisture 1 inch into a surface, be it wall or floor. These are wonderful for finding such things as leaking wax seals in toilets (very common), moisture in a wall around a window that hasn’t had its’ weep seals cleaned, moisture in walls or flooring around such places as washer/dryers, fridges, dishwashers, showers, toilets, and bathtubs.
What paperwork will be included at this cost?
    Some inspectors will charge you extra for a FHA Dry Rot and Pest Report, or for a print out of your inspection. You will need a FHA Dry Rot Pest Report for the state loans, VA loans, and FHA loans. Make sure your cost includes a copy of this. Also, ask how the inspector will get you a copy of your inspection, in what form will it come to you, and how soon can you expect it. The average cost for a home inspection is around $400, but the cost can vary with the size of the home you are purchasing.

Some other inspections that you might want to consider is a sewer scope.  This is where a plumber comes out and puts a camera down the sewer/septic lines to make sure they are clear of obstructions.  It is an additional cost of usually about $150.   If the home is on septic, request a septic report/inspection that is one year or less of age.  Another inspection you may want to consider (especially in a home with a basement, or any part of the home under ground like a split level, or daylight basement) is a radon test.  Many people ask me why there aren’t more homes with basements….and there are 2 reasons why that is…. water/moisture and radon.  Most of Clark County has a high water table …not like New Orleans or anything… but we do have a lot of moisture in the ground and clay….which holds water.   There are many areas of Clark County where homes will have sump pumps, or extra drainage in the crawlspace to help with this, but if a home has a basement, or some form of it…that is an area you want the inspector to be checking out.  Then there is Radon… radon is a gas that comes from the ground that can make people very sick.  Some areas have high levels of radon and some areas…not so much.  I have a client buying a home right now with a very high level of radon read in the daylight basement.  There are contractors who come out for radon remediation, and they are having that done.   Lots of information this week… sorry!  Part 2 of this will be coming next week or so. 🙂  

Information is power,  and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure.
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 ….disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
Upcoming Topics:
What happens AFTER the home inspection?
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg, Pinnacle Mortgage)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,

What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?
Last Week:  Pre-Approvals… what, why…and getting one 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).