Category: Real Estate Tips & Resources

7 Home Inspection Items That Aren’t Included on an Inspection Report

Via HomeAdvisor

Hiring a home inspector is a crucial part of buying or selling a home. An inspector will assess the home for potential problems and identify any issues that may affect the continuation or negotiation of a sale in progress. But it’s also important to understand that inspectors don’t cover all of the bases in a home. In fact, it’s possible that an inspector may miss a significant issue. In many cases, you’ll need to hire a specialist to inspect certain areas, and you should always look closely at everything yourself. Here’s the skinny on the “home inspection checklist” and what is and isn’t covered:

#1 Inspectors don’t check for pests.

Home inspectors are not exterminators — their job is to find potential problems with the structural integrity of the house. So if you think you see a cockroach or another pest during a walkthrough, you’ll need to hire an exterminator to take a closer look. Don’t rely on the checklist or final report to yield that information.

#2 Inspectors don’t cover plumbing.

via Flickr MoToMo

Most home inspectors don’t have the qualifications to look at plumbing and can only call out visible issues like a leak or outdated plumbing. This means they probably won’t look at your:

  • Wall or undersink plumbing pipes
  • Swimming pools
  • Septic tanks

There are exceptions in which an inspector will have the qualifications to look at pools and septic systems, but this varies depending on the inspector and where you live. You shouldn’t rely on your inspector for this in any case. If you see serious cracks or dents in the swimming pool, you should probably hire a swimming pool pro to do an inspection. If you think the septic tank is making weird noises, have someone take a closer look.

#3 Inspectors won’t look at landscaping conditions.

While issues with landscaping should be obvious during a walkthrough — dead spots, potential pests, sprinkler issues, etc. — note that they aren’t on home inspector’s radar. If there’s a dead tree in the yard, you’ll be responsible for taking care of it. It probably won’t affect the final price of the house or your ability to negotiate with the seller.

#4 Appliances aren’t part of the inspection.

via pixabay

Home inspectors check only that the following appliances are working properly:

  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Stoves

Most inspectors will run these appliances through just a cycle or two to make sure they work. So, the built-in microwave could have major problems and you wouldn’t know it. Plus, unless a major leak or smoke appears, the appliance is considered to be correctly functioning. If you think there’s a major problem, you should have an appliance technician perform diagnostics and necessary repairs.


Real Estate Appraisals

Guaranteed Rate has a new ebook about appraisals. Lenders always receive a lot of questions from borrowers regarding what the appraisal process is, and what the results will mean for them. To view this resource, click here: Appraisals Explained

(by clicking you acknowledge the poster is not responsible for any errors and acknowledges no known viruses or similar in the attachment)

What to Do Before Home Shopping

Shopping for a home can be exciting. However, don’t let the thoughts of your dream house overshadow what has to be done before you even start looking.


Some people assume they are able to buy a home and that they can afford a specific price range, based on their salary. What not all buyers realize is that their debt may be higher and/or credit score lower than they think. Before you even start your home search, you need to get a pre-approval from a lender. If you are a cash buyer, you will need to have ready a proof of funds. It is not uncommon for some home sellers to request to see a pre-approval letter or proof of funds and Agents don’t show properties without those.


Another thing some people don’t think of is just because you’ve been pre-approved, doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a clear-to-close approval. The loan underwriter can and will question any changes in your financials, which can limit your chance of a loan. With that said:

– Avoid buying any big ticket items such as a car, furniture, etc.

– Don’t change jobs. (they check to make sure you are still employed right before closing)

– Avoid unexplained large deposits into your bank account


For the most part, unless you’ve been in school, and just started working in the same industry you studied in school, lenders will want to see the loan applicant to be on the same job for at least six months at the time of application. If you are self employed or an independent contractor, be prepared to show at least your last two years of taxes. If your numbers are tight, they will also want to make sure you were not making less year over year.

Valuable Info to Gather Before You Sell Your Home

10 Pieces of Valuable Info to Gather Before You Sell

  1. Gather your receipts for improvements and repairs – This is excellent information that will help you fill out your State Property Disclosure and will also disclose any repairs made to the property. Your Property Disclosure is an opportunity to show buyers the extensive improvements that have been made to your home.
  2. HOA rules and regulations – Have a copy of your Home Owner’s Association Rules and Regs so this can easily be shared with interested buyers or provide buyers and their agents with a link to the HOA website for up to date info.
  3. Mortgage documentation and info about any Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) – When you obtain a contract on your home, the closing office will need all of the information about your mortgage and any additional loans on the property (mortgage company name, loan #s, etc.).
  4. A 1-page home “brag sheet” – List any improvements you have made to your home whether major or minor including redesigns of rooms, new flooring, bathroom updates or anything else that you can “brag” about your home.
  5. Warranty information – If any major improvements have warranties this could be very desirable to a buyer.  For example windows with lifetime warranty or a roof with a 25 year warranty.
  6. Provide your Realtor with details about outdoor features – Pool, landscaping, irrigation systems, outdoor kitchens, fireplace, etc. These items have become very important to buyers and the more information they are given, the more excited they get about your home.
  7. Tell the story of your neighborhood – The neighborhood website, walking trails, etc.
  8. Remember how it felt when you first bought your home – You wanted as much information about the home as possible.  Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and try to provide as much documentation as possible.
  9. If you are having trouble remembering any issues or repairs made to your home, walk through each room – A tour of each room and the exterior will help you remember any changes and repairs or issues that have come up while you lived there. If you have had any Homeowner’s Insurance claims, be sure and provide all documentation to your Realtor.
  10. Always remember:  disclose, disclose, disclose – Be sure not to withhold any reports or information about your home. What may seem minimal to you may seem major to a buyer.  Oversharing is always good practice when selling your home!

Also, given the snow and weather, please read this post on safety during showings.

Originally posted here.

Checklist: Nine Steps to Stress-Free Home-Buying

Are you a first-time home buyer? Or maybe it has been a while since you’ve bought a home. The process does not have to be stressful. Being prepared, organized and knowing next steps will help. LearnVest has a great checklist for those looking towards home ownership.

home with keysSTEP ONE: Before you even contact and Agent and start looking at properties, know what you can actually afford. You will need a loan pre-approval first (from a bank/lender showing your max purchase price, type of loan, etc.).

For more information on the loan process and to see the other steps to home buying, click here to go to LearnVest.

Five Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes


1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.

Source: Real Estate Checklists and Systems,


Home prices are on the rise, interest rates are low…this fall may be busier than expected. The end of November and December, with the various holidays, usually is a slower time of year for home buying. If you are a seller or a buyer looking to make a move before the new year, check out these tips from American Home Shield on how to best prepare:



Real Estate is Local

We’ve mentioned before, there really is no such thing as a national real estate market. To say / think that would be to think that all communities/cities/states and supply and demand in these are all equal. Real Estate is highly local. In the real estate industry, one of the first things we are asked is: how is the market? My question thereafter is: what town?

Nationally, markets like those in California, Florida and Las Vegas have made national headlines over the years. Chicago, and the suburbs, have been overall more stable, with less drastic upswings and downswings. However, each market, even within the Chicago region, is different. The downtown Chicago market and that of the western suburbs has, overall, been booming, with properties that are priced well for condition and location selling (on average) quickly. In the southwest suburbs in which we work, where we have a lot more available inventory and new construction. Properties that are priced well for condition and location are moving, however.  The newer properties and availability of new construction and shopping/dining options, to name a few, have been just some of the reasons that people have been moving from other suburban regions, or the city, to the southwest suburbs of Chicago. This has been a great week for us as we have five new listings and offers within a few days of being on the market. The local market is doing well – better with each recent year.

Being Realistic on Market Value (and List Price)

Imagine yourself in their shoes. If the seller were the buyer(s), they too would want to get the most property for a fair market value. If the buyer imagined themselves as the sellers, they wouldn’t want to make an offer that is below fair market value.

The changes in the market should in no way affect the seller’s (or buyer’s) opinion of fair market value. Fair market value is a finite number and what one paid for the property alone does not alter that number. Sure, well done upgraded features and amenities may. A home is worth what the closed comps show it is worth – and it is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. Therefore, whether the owners paid a fraction of the list price and are original owners, or whether they purchased within the last decade when prices were higher, does not make a difference. Market value is market value and that is the truth.

With that said, here are the dangers of being unrealistic on market value and pricing too high:

Importance of price


I Want to Sell My House. Don’t I?

Shopper’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse. Seller’s remorse. It could happen. Before you even contact a Realtor, list your house, get it looking in its best condition possible and accommodate showings, make sure you indeed want to sell your home! 

Once in a while, once an offer arrives, a seller(s) decides that he or she (or they) no longer want to sell.  Why list your home if you do not want to move or sell? On the flip side, if you are a buyer, why start looking at properties before you even know if you are approved for a loan, let alone for how much?

I am not one to waste anyone’s time, and with that being said, I respect people’s time, money and efforts. When I spend time, money and our efforts doing my job (bringing buyers/offers for our seller) when people haven’t made sure they indeed want to buy or sell, or finding buyers homes that they ultimately learn they can’t afford, it hurts. That isn’t how I work.