Three Big Reasons to Get a Home Inspection

canstockphoto29793303It seems like the list of things to do when you’re shopping for a house is endless. No matter how tempting it may be to skip some of those items, a home inspection is one action that should always be on your must-list. If you’ve been thinking about skipping this step, take a look at our top three reasons to get a home inspection.

  1. A Home Inspection Helps You Avoid Surprises

Perhaps the most obvious reason to get a home inspection is to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. No one likes to get a lemon, and as bad as that might be when you’re shopping for cars, it’s even worse when it comes to a house. Some of the things a home inspector looks for are:

  • Age and condition of roof
  • Age and condition of major home systems like HVAC, electrical, and plumbing
  • Cracks or other issues with the foundation
  • Adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Proper insulation and ventilation
  • Exterior issues like cracks, missing caulk, or water seepage
  • Proper setup and function of all appliances
  1. A Home Inspection Can Give You an Edge In Negotiations

After the home inspection is completed, you’ll get a detailed report that lays out any improvements or repairs that are needed to bring the home up to current standards. This report can be your greatest tool when it comes to negotiating the purchase contract.


  • If major repairs are needed: In the event that something big (an item that is required to bring the house up to code) is discovered during the inspection, you have a few options. You can elect to purchase the home as-is, but reduce the amount of your offer to compensate for the repairs you need to make. Or, you can ask the seller to complete the repairs prior to purchase as part of the deal. Either way, you may be able to reduce the price of your offer accordingly.
  • If minor repairs are suggested: Sometimes inspectors makes  suggestions for repairs or upgrades that aren’t required. This might be something like updating a water heater even though the existing one works and is up-to-code for the age of the home. When things like this come up you can choose to note the input for later or try to use the suggestion as part of your negotiation. Just keep in mind that the seller may be less likely to give you what you’re asking for if it’s a want instead of a need.


  • If no major flaws are found: The good news is that the house you love is in tip-top shape. In this case, the inspection won’t really affect your negotiations, but it can provide peace of mind about the soundness of your investment
  1. A Home Inspection Helps You Protect Your Investment

Buying a home is the largest purchase most of us will ever make, so you want to make a good decision that will pay off in the long-run. A home inspection gives you crucial information to help you make the right choice upfront, plus it also provides a clear idea of what costs may come up in the future.


  • It can give you a way out: If you’ve already initiated the purchase, the results of a home inspection may provide you with a last chance to get out of the deal. This protects your earnest money and the hundreds of thousands of dollars you would be investing in the home over the years.


    • It gives you a roadmap for the future: In addition to letting you know the current state of the home, a home inspection can also give you an idea of what big costs may be coming up in the future—and when you can expect them. This helps you forecast upcoming costs, which lets you decide if you’ll be able to afford the cost of the house now, as well as its upkeep.


  • It can save you money over the long-term: Home maintenance is a key to protecting your investment, and a home inspection can provide insights and tips about regular maintenance habits that can end up saving you thousands over the years.


A home inspection isn’t just one more item on your neverending to-do list. It’s an expert assessment of your home that lets you make smart choices today, and for your future. We know firsthand the benefits buyers gain from an expert home inspection, so don’t move ahead without one.

HOA: Are they worth it?

Homeowners associations (HOA) are essentially small governing bodies over a particular neighborhood or community. The HOA board consists of homeowners in the development or complex. This governing body establishes the rules and regulations that members adhere to along with the amount of dues or fees to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually. Although membership in the HOA is mandatory, there are many positives and negatives that go along with community living.canstockphoto40967861


  • An HOA offers low maintenance. Usually, trash, snow removal and landscaping services are handled by the association and included in the dues. This means less work for the home owner.
  • Many appreciate that the HOA regulates community appearance. Ensuring that your neighborhood will look good. Everyone must meet certain standards, which means no unkempt lawns or peeling paint.
  • Access to amenities including pools, fitness centers, parks and security gates all add to the appeal of an HOA.
  • Having a disagreement with your neighbor? No problem, third party management provides you with a built in mediator. You can easily take your grievances about next doors barking dog to the HOA board.
  • Everyone shares the maintenance costs. Maintenance of common areas, snow and trash removal, of the pool and other areas are shared responsibilities covered by the dues.
  • Living in an HOA reduces your responsibilities. Along with handling landscape, trash and snow removal, HOA sometimes carry insurance on the properties and cover roofing and other costs.


  • Naturally, the fees required by some associations turn people off. Although HOA dues vary, they can be in the hundreds per month. Make sure and budget not only for your mortgage payment, but the dues as well.
  • HOA rules, restrictions and dictations somewhat ties your hands. Some HOA have restrictions regarding paint colors and any additions or changes you want to make to the property must be approved by the board.
  • You could be hampered by the HOA financial woes. This means that an HOA facing financial problems or a lawsuit could hurt the sale prices of homes and the community and effect your ability to obtain a loan.
  • You might lose some of your freedom. Just as your hands could be tied, you will have to follow the rules and regulations of the HOA no matter how ridiculous you might think they are.
  • Surprise – they can spring assessments on you! The HOA board can decide to impose special assessments when needed for improvements or repairs.
  • They can limit your ability to rent. In order to get a loan for a property in the community the owner to renter ratio must be retained. Different lenders and HOA have differing standards, but these communities prefer that renters live somewhere else.
  • They can foreclose on your home if you get behind on your dues and assessments. This is usually a last resort. However, it can be done.

Making a decision:

First, weigh the pros and cons against your own lifestyle choices. Then, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the rules of the HOA before you buy to avoid surprises. Finally, you may find that HOA living can be equally satisfying and then again, you may find that it’s not for you.

For Sale by Owner vs Using an Agent

With the current huge increase in home costs, this spring may be a decent time to offer your home. The question remains whether to sell it yourself as an owner or use an agent.

One noteworthy benefit of selling yourself is sparing the strong 6% commission expense that real estate agents ordinarily charge to market and expedite an arrangement for your home. So on a home that offers for $250,000, the business expense would be about $15,000. You can abstain from paying this bill altogether in the event that you offer it yourself.

That is a significant investment funds, however since offering a house is something the vast majority of us will likely do on more than one occasion in a lifetime, a large number of us are awkward going through the process.canstockphoto2199400

Be that as it may, is it truly worth 6% of the price tag of your home in expenses to have individual direction all through the procedure? Here are a few things to consider:


Real estate specialists solidly trust they can get you more cash through the specialty of transaction, use of neighborhood information, utilization of fantastic showcasing instruments, and access to a more prominent commercial center and capacity to qualify purchasers.

Real estate agents know how to showcase a home utilizing photos to expand esteem when showing it to imminent purchasers. They know it’s a complicated procedure, and as an outsider, can better deal with that. A decent intermediary can help get potential purchasers set up for a way of life that a house can offer. Likewise, potential purchasers don’t generally put stock in the mortgage holder.

In any case, valuing a house is likewise genuinely simple to do yourself. For about $300-$500, dealers can get an autonomous appraiser to give them an equitable incentive for their home. There’s likewise enough information online to get a sense for what your house is worth.


Good real estate agents will ask for money related articulations to decide a potential purchaser’s credit-value, and, on account of an all-money offer, check the assets. Most dealers would rather not sit around idly demonstrating their home to not really genuine purchasers.

A proficient agent has the foreknowledge and know-how to check precisely where the assets to buy the house are originating from.

Real Estate agents know exactly what buyers are worth investing time in and who are not worth the hassle.


Personally, I wouldn’t have sufficient energy or determination to legitimately sell my home, set up an assessment, and oversee telephone calls from would-be-purchasers and meeting lawyers. Great real estate agents say they can control merchants to lawyers who are reasonable and sensible, so that a dealer doesn’t stall out with one who will increase bills with pointless time and charges.

Picking either option relies on upon your circumstance and that you are so persuaded to go up against the procedure yourself. It’s decent to know there are alternatives and a lot of information on hand.

Saving for a Down Payment

Saving for a Down Paymentsaving

The thought and process for saving a down payment to purchase a home may seem overwhelming at first. Never fear, we’re here to help. Breaking the process into small, actionable pieces might just help you afford a home sooner than expected.

  1. Calculate what you can afford

Your first step in saving for a down payment includes deciding what you can afford what you are looking for in a home. Start by making a list of basic requirements including size, location, school districts, etc. When determining affordability, calculate the potential monthly payment plus homeowners’ association fees, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance and other related expenses. We recommend using one paycheck to cover all homeowner expenses if you’re one half of a dual income partnership.

  1. Determine how much a down payment you need

We recommend saving at least 20 percent of the purchase price. Lenders require 20 percent or more down for a conventional loan. Although, other loan options exist which require much smaller down payments, some as low as 3.5 percent. However, these loans require that you pay mortgage insurance. This insurance protects lenders if borrowers default on their loans. Once you know the price range you can afford, use this down payment calculator to get started saving.

  1. Create savings plan

One tip to help you save includes automating portion of your income. Options vary from choosing a fixed amount to choosing a percentage from either your paycheck or checking account. Whichever option you choose, deposit the portion into a separate cash savings account. You also can try the $5 bill savings plan where every time you receive five dollars as change you set it aside. Also, consider setting aside raises, bonuses and tax refunds. Combining all of these tips will help you get into your new home that much quicker.

  1. Build your equity

After all of the scrimping and saving, you deserve a congratulations for making your home purchase, but the benefits don’t stop there. As you make your mortgage payments each month, you own more and more of the property that builds equity over time. Equity that you can later use for a larger down payment on your next home or for an investment property. Either way, building equity ultimately builds your wealth.

Important Tips To Keep In Mind When Starting a Home Project

With the chill and the snow outside, this is the perfect time to get all those home and other DIY projects done. If you’ve been contemplating finishing your basement, remodeling the bathroom, or doing a more simpler project like repainting your bedroom.confused-880735_640

While you begin your project, take some time to prioritize your to-do list. What do you want to accomplish and by when? Set some goals and bring the whole family in to help and throw out their ideas. This can be a great family bonding moment and having everyone share their suggestions will be fun to see what you can create.

As you plan your projects, you’ll want to determine all the supplies and stuff you’ll need to complete the project. This is good to do to help to avoid any unexpected surprises or plan your budget accordingly so you don’t get sidetracked or unable to finish the home project.

Use a calendar or other time management tool to help  you stick to a timeline so you don’t get discouraged with your project. With a calendar you can set specific goals throughout the project to ensure your staying on track and moving forward. By managing and tracking your time, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments and stick to your remodel goals.

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, taking time to do little projects around your home can help increase your home value and improve the curb appeal. The better you can make your home look and feel, you’ll have a greater chance of selling your home quickly.

Ready to sell or buy? Give us a call today to find out how we can help and to answer all your questions.

2 Questions to Ask Yourself When House Hunting

brick-home-290315_1280Buying home is a big decision and before you enter into home ownership, take some time to do your due diligence. As you research what areas you want to live in, get pre-approved, and start the search for your dream home, here are 2 questions to ask yourself.

  1. Why are you purchasing a home? Harvard University conducted a study about why people buy a home. In the study, they found there are 4 major reasons why people enter into homeownership: 1) good place to raise children, 2) place to feel safe, 3) more space for them and their family, 4) control of the space (place to call their own).  While you move forward in finding the right home for you, these questions will help you decide which home is best for you and meets all your needs.
  1. Where are home values headed? According to a recent survey conducted by a group of real estate experts, economists, and investment and market strategists, they predict the home market values will appreciate up to 18.1% in 2019. If you’re renting, rental prices will increase too. So, why not use that money towards a mortgage or your own instead of your landlord’s mortgage?

As you move forward towards home ownership, what it comes to, in the end, if finding a place where you and your family can make a home. Write a list of features that are important to you and you’re not willing to compromise on. In another column, write down what features you’d like but are willing to compromise on. This will help you as you search for your home.

Do You Really Need An Agent?

tie-690084_640Have you been considering hiring a real estate agent, but aren’t sure if that is the right move? If you’ve been hesitant to hire an agent, here are a few things to know about what an agent can do for you.

With the ever changing housing market, an agent can help you keep up with market changes, negotiations, and paperwork. An agent can also help you navigate through the home buying and selling process.

Curb appeal is important when trying to sell your home and your agent can assist you in staging your home and making it inviting to potential buyers. Agents can help you improve the stage appeal, lightening, and can recommend some professionals for any repairs that need to be made.

Real estate agents are required by law to be licensed (passing a state exam) and must take mandatory classes to stay up on current market trends. In addition, an experienced agent has a lot of inside knowledge, connections, and resources to help you find your dream home.

Ready to buy or sell? Or just have some questions? Give us a call today and let us help you find your next home.

Before You Make An Offer, Ask These Questions

tulips-408726_640Sometimes during the excitement of buying a new home, getting pre-approved, and hiring an agent; some things get overlooked. Regardless of how thorough you are, sometimes things need to be viewed in a new perspective.

While viewing homes, your agent can help you with some questions to ask, but here are some get you started:

  1. Why is the house for sale?
  2. How old is the roof?
  3. When was the roof last replaced?
  4. Have you had any problems with roaches, termites, or any other pests?
  5. What are the monthly utilities bill costs?
  6. Has the sewer ever backed up? Any plumbing problems?
  7. How much installation is in the attic?
  8. How old is the water heater?
  9. When was the water heater last replaced?
  10. When was the last time to home was tested for mold?
  11. What are the neighbors like? The neighborhood?
  12. Does the home have a septic tank? When was the last time it was pumped? Any problems with it?

Buying a home is investment and you want to make sure you choose the best one that fits your family’s needs.