50 Ways House Hunters Can Get Ready for Home Buying Season

Spring will very soon have sprung — which means “For Sale” signs will be in full bloom — and if you’re hoping to buy a home this year, get ready for a competitive market. Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s continuing rate hike teases and some economic improvements, you can expect to run into plenty of other people while looking at prospective properties.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to help make sure your offer on a new home is as competitive as this year’s hot market. Here are 50 ways soon-to-be house hunters can get ready for the home-buying season.

  1. Make a Wish List

“You’ll waste a lot of time if you don’t know what you want,” Brian Davis, director of education for Spark Rental, says. “Know how many bedrooms you need, which amenities are must-have, and which are desired but not mandatory. Most of all, know your price range and stick to it.”

  1. Consult Your Co-Buyer

If you’re purchasing the home with a loved one “make sure you both are on the same page,” Patrick Gobin, associate broker with District Realty Team at New York Living Solutions, says. “Conflicting opinions makes the process very difficult. Example: One person wants a ranch and one person wants a two-story house.”

  1. Determine Your Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

Here’s how. Remember, a DTI (how much you make vs. how much debt you’re already paying off each month) over 50% or more will severely limit your ability to borrow.

  1. Check Your Credit Score

Because it’s going to play a major role in whether you can actually get a mortgage and what rate you’ll pay. You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com. (P.S. If you have a co-buyer who’ll be on the mortgage, they’ll want to check their credit, too.)

  1. Pull Your Credit Reports

There may be a few things you can do to clean up your credit before you apply for a mortgage. Plus, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any errors weighing your scores down. Speaking of which …

  1. Dispute any errors

Credit bureaus have 30 to 45 days to resolve disputes and remove inaccurate information, so if something’s amiss, now’s the time to address any errors that you may find.

  1. Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Getting rid of big balances can improve your DTI and creditworthiness — and relatively soon, because issuers generally update the credit bureaus on your charges each month.

  1. Continue to Tidy Your Credit

You can find 11 solid ways to soup up your credit here.

  1. Decide on a Down Payment

A 20% down payment is considered ideal, since any amount below that will have you paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI). There are programs out there that help homeowners get a mortgage with much less down, which brings us to …

  1. Know Your Loan Programs

Most homebuyers have two options: a conventional home loan bought and sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or an FHA loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Veterans can also consider VA loans, which notably feature a 0% down payment.

  1. Research Rates

Your interest rate is going to play a big role in determining your monthly payment, so be sure you know what current rate ranges are being offered — and what you’re likely to qualify for, based on your credit.

  1. Prepare for Property Taxes

Yup, you’ll have to pay the government each year for your land — and you’ll want to get an estimate of how much money you’re likely to owe, since it will seriously affect your housing budget. You can find a full explainer on property taxes here.

  1. Account for Closing Costs

They generally run between 3% and 5% of your purchase price, depending on location and other factors.

  1. Feed Your Emergency Fund

Because buying a home is going to put a serious drain on your bank accounts and you don’t want to be down to your last dollar. Experts generally recommend you have at least six to 12 months of income as backup reserves.

  1. Figure Out How Much Home You Can Afford

This will be affected by your DTI, credit scores, prospective interest rate, down payment, property taxes and whether you’ll be paying for private mortgage insurance, among other things.

  1. File Your Taxes

Your mortgage lender is going to ask for at least two years’ worth of tax returns, so it’s a good idea to shore up with Uncle Sam — and print out or download your returns from two prior years.

  1. Pick a Neighborhood

“Location is one of the most important factors when finding a home,” David Lewis, owner of full-service real estate agency The Lewis Group, says. “It’s also the only one that you can’t change. Knowing what areas you’d like to live in prepares you to make the jump when it is time to move forward with an offer.”

  1. Study the Market …

You’ll want to know what you’re in for: What’s the median home price in the area you’re looking to live? Are you in a buyer’s or seller’s market? Are solid homes going for more or less than list price?

  1. … & the Process

Yes, if only the homebuying process were so simple. Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of steps between finding a home and closing on it. Get familiar with all the major steps: pre-approval, home inspection, home appraisal, title search, closing, etc.

  1. Hit the Open Houses

A little window-shopping can do a house hunter good. Visit some open houses ahead of your formal search to get an idea of list prices in your preferred area(s) — and whether your list of “wants” is realistic with your budget.

  1. Get a Pair of Flip-Flops … 

… or some other kind of easily removed shoes, because most homeowners or listing agents are going to ask you to leave your kicks at the front door.

  1. Search for Schools

“If you have kids, carefully examine the school choices and districts available to you,” William Mayben, CEO of consulting firm Wm Mayben and Associates and former division president for National Public Builders, says. There are sites online that can help you pinpoint school ratings, crime rates, etc.

  1. Calculate Your Potential Commute

The length of your commute can seriously impact the enjoyment of your home. How much time are you realistically willing to spend in the car, on the bus or on a train?

  1. Find a Realtor

You don’t have to use one, but there are certainly benefits to enlisting the services of a reputable Realtor or agent. Case in point: They can give you insights into the current market and walk you through the homebuying process. Bonus: The seller pays their commission.

  1. Consider a Specialist

“If buyers are looking for ranches in the Stoney Gardens neighborhood, they should find a realtor who specializes in (drum roll please…) ranches in the Stoney Gardens neighborhood,” Davis says. “The best Realtors know a specific segment of the market inside and out, and can help borrowers who want that specific market segment.”

  1. Vet Mortgage Lenders

Similarly, you’ll want to research reputable mortgage lenders or brokers in your area to determine who you’re comfortable doing business with.

  1. Request Recommendations

For Realtors, mortgage lenders and other members of the homebuying team you’ll need to onboard.

  1. Get Pre-Approved

Once your credit is as good as it’s going to get and you’re ready to start your search, be sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That’ll signal to a seller and/or Realtor you’re a serious buyer worthy of their consideration.

  1. Rate-Shop

Just be sure to do so in a 30- to 45-day window, since that’s how long most credit scoring models will group applications for like-financing (in this case, mortgages) as one inquiry.

  1. Ready Your Bank Statements

Because your lender is going to ask for them. Note: You’ll probably be expected to turn over brokerage or retirement account statements for at least the last two or three months as well.

  1. Request Your Pay Stubs

Most of us direct deposit, but your lender is going to ask for at least two months worth of pay stubs. So, if you’ve been setting and forgetting, now’s the time to track down where to access your paycheck details.

  1. Think About What Other Paperwork You’ll Need

Getting some gift money? You’ll have to document it. Just got a new job? Be prepared to turn over more employment verification. Ask your mortgage lender for a full list of all the major paperwork needed to get your loan fully approved.

  1. Find an Attorney …

Some states mandate a real estate attorney prepare your purchase contract — and, even if yours doesn’t, it can be a good idea to bring one on board. Be sure to research reputable real estate attorneys in your area and get an idea of what they’ll charge you.

  1. … & an Inspector

Yes, the bank is going to do the appraisal, but the buyer is responsible for the home inspection. You’ll need to find a certified, licensed professional and cover their bill.

  1. Learn What to Look For …

It’s not just about your wants and needs. When viewing a potential home, you’ll want to, among other things, check out the furnace, hot water heater, roof, plumbing, windows, insulation, HVAC systems, basement, closets and that old shed all the way at the other end of the yard.

  1. … & What to Ask

You’ll want to ask about the home’s sales history, any renovations the seller has done, monthly maintenance and utility costs and other things.

  1. Brush Up on your (offer) Letter Writing Skills …

Because in some markets you’ll want to write one to the seller when you make your bid. And, yes, while price is most important, a solid offer letter can be the difference between getting or losing out on your dream home. Good offer letters are generally personal, specific and positive.

  1. … & Your Negotiation Tactics

They’ll certainly come in handy.

  1. Keep Those Credit cards on ice …

Big changes to your debt levels can damage your DTI and your credit score — and your lender will check up on those items before closing. That’s why you’ll want to be extra careful about what you’re putting on your plastic.

  1. … & cool the credit inquiries]

Those can also ding your score and jeopardize your mortgage. So, sure, that Home Depot credit card could come in handy — but it’s a good idea to wait at least until after you close to take the retailer up on their offer (and then be sure your finances can handle it).

  1. Determine your DIY IQ

“Assess your abilities as a handyman or handywoman,” Gobin says. “Buying a fixer-upper can be very expensive if you can’t even change a light bulb.”

  1. Get a work estimate

If you are looking at a fixer-upper or find a home that has all your major needs, minus one (say it’s missing hardwood floors), research what a particular project is likely to cost you. That’ll help you establish the true cost of the prospective home.

  1. Think about resale value

Even if you’re looking for your forever home, because, well, life happens. That’s why it’s good to at least consider what you’d have to sell the home for in order to recoup what you’re offering to pay. (Remember, too, when you go to sell, you’ll be the one paying a Realtor’s commission.)

  1. Scout it all out

“Visit your target house during different times of day,” Mayben says. “Pay attention to neighbors’ dogs, traffic, parking, the neighborhood feel and culture. Where are parks, shopping, bike or hike trails, coffee shops, etc.?” Asking neighbors about noise and other possible pain points can also pay off.

  1. Map out your move …

Research moving companies — and the costs associated with them — to assess whether your cash reserves are adequate.

  1. … But hold off on the home furnishings

Especially if you’re planning to put those on a credit card. The last thing you want is those big balances throwing a monkey wrench into your credit — and your closing date.

  1. Start staging your current home

“If you have to sell in order to buy, start working on that end of the deal,” Mayben says. “Maximizing the sell price maximizes the replacement price. Declutter your home for sale. Sell, donate, or otherwise get rid of things you don’t need. Develop a clear sense of your house value.”

  1. Get ready to compromise …

“Keep in mind the perfect home doesn’t exist unless you build it yourself,” Gobin says.

  1. … & be disappointed

Because you may not get the first, second or even third home you bid on. “Multiple offers are very common these days,” Dorothy Mazeau, sales representative at Royal LePage RCR Realty, says. “You may be competing with one, two, or even twenty other buyers. Houses frequently sell for thousands over their list price.”

  1. Stay the course

Still, don’t get discouraged and/or recklessly ramp up your budget. “Know what you can afford and stick to it,” Mazeau says.

Buying a home is a huge financial commitment. If you’re looking for ways to reduce the red ink post-purchase, check out our roundup of 50 ways to stay out of debt.

 

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Important Information about Smoke Detectors

Imagine your car air bags deploying randomly when you hit a pothole or speed bump but failing to deploy over half the time in a collision. That is the stark reality with the smoke alarms that are most often found in North American homes. Like most, I had always assumed that a smoke alarm was a smoke alarm. What I now know is that there are two basic types of residential smoke alarms sold in the U.S.: ionization and photoelectric. In real-world fatal fires, these two types of alarms behave very differently. In this case – different is not good. Understanding the difference could very well save your life.

“A smoke detector that sounds approximately nineteen minutes after smoke reached its sensing chamber is like an airbag that does not deploy until nineteen minutes after
a car accident.”
- Judge David E. Schoenthaler, Mercer v. Pitway/BRK Brands (First Alert)

Over 90% of U.S. homes have ionization sensor smoke alarms installed. Around 5% of U.S. homes have photoelectric sensor alarms installed. Approximately 4% have no alarm of any kind installed. (footnote 1) Back in the 1960s, residential smoke alarms were almost unheard of and the fire death rate was about 7 to 8 fatalities per 1,000 U.S. home fires. Between the mid-70s and now, we have gone from about 10% of U.S. homes having smoke alarms to 96% of U.S. homes reporting having at least one smoke alarm. (footnote 2) Surprisingly, after installing smoke alarms in over 100 million U.S. homes over 30 years, the odds of dying in a fire remain about the same. Perhaps it’s just me, but that doesn’t make sense.

Between 1977 and 2009 the number of U.S. home fires and fire deaths have fallen by roughly 50%. However, the risk of dying when a fire occurs today is only slightly lower than in the 1970s. Over the period, the rate fluctuates considerably up and down between 6.5 and 10 deaths per 1,000 fires. This brings into question the value of installing hundreds of millions of ionization alarms.

Overall for the 1977-2011 period, the number of home fire deaths decreased from 5,865 in 1977 to 2,520 in 2011 for a decrease of 51%. The number of home fire incidents also declined steadily for an overall decrease of 49% for the same period. When the death rate per 1,000 home fire incidents is looked at (Figure 1), there is no steady decline, but rather the rate fluctuates considerably up and down. In fact, the death rate per 1,000 home fires was 8.1 in 1977 and 6.8 in 2011 for a decrease of 16%. These results suggest that even though the number of home fires and home fire deaths declined similarly during the period, the death rate did not, and when there is a home fire, the fire death rate risk has not changed much for the period.

The smoke alarm industry points out that all alarms and detectors must meet the standards developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). U.S. residential smoke detectors must meet the UL 217 standard. Alarms in Canada have a somewhat different UL-Canada (ULC) standard. For years the major smoke alarm manufacturers–UL, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Institute for Standards and Testing (NIST)–maintained that either ionization or photoelectric alarms meeting the UL standard afforded adequate protection in most fires. Beginning circa 2006, their recommendations changed. After decades of saying that either alarm was adequate, they started to recommend that we have both types of alarms. The reason for this abrupt shift was never explained.

Most industry studies infer that all fires carry an equal risk of death. An analysis of the underlying data published by these same organizations does not support this position. In general, cooking/fast-flame fires account for a large percentage of fires and injuries but only about 15% of fire deaths. Bedroom and general living area fires are predominantly smoldering fires. This group accounts for only about 12% of fires but over half of all fire deaths and a third of injuries. (footnote 3)

Current UL alarm standards are essentially the same as those developed in the 1970s. Smoke alarm response requirements are defined in the UL 217 standard. The UL tests use a set of standard test scenarios and materials. One scenario is a “fast flame” fire, the other is for smoldering fires. A fast flame fire is the flaming/last stage of a smoldering fire or one based on accelerants, such as gasoline, cooking oils, grease, paper, etc. Fast-flame fires produce large quantities of sub-micron/small fast moving particles. A smoldering fire occurs in the early stages, before open flames develop. Smoldering fires produce slow moving particles. The smoke particles are much larger and tend to be fewer in number but more dense.
The UL smoldering fire test standards were developed when most home furnishings were natural materials such as cotton, wool, etc. To simulate a smoldering fire such as one in upholstered furniture, UL smolders Ponderosa Pine sticks on a hot plate at slightly over 700 degrees with a fan blowing the smoke. Today virtually all furnishings and a large percentage of building materials are synthetic or engineered materials. The behavior and type of smoke produced by burning natural materials is radically different than those produced by burning synthetic ones. Yet the UL standards have not substantially changed for decades.

Under UL test conditions, ionization alarms consistently respond about 30 to 90 seconds faster to open or “fast-flame” fires than photoelectric smoke alarms. However, the vast majority of residential fire fatalities are due to smoke inhalation, not the actual flames. Nearly 2/3’s of fire fatalities occur at night while you sleep. Ionization alarms respond on average between 15 to 50 minutes slower in a smoldering fire than photoelectric alarms. Studies by UL,4 NIST, (footnote 5) Texas A&M (footnote 6) and others found ionization alarms may completely fail to activate in 20 to 25 percent of fires.

Let’s look at testing conducted on smoke alarms by one of our top universities. During 1991-1994, a research team at Texas A&M University, Department of Construction Science, conducted extensive testing on residential fire detection devices. The research project was titled “Full-Scale Research and Testing on Fire Detection Systems in a Residential Structure.” (footnote 7) The Texas A&M study concluded that, during smoldering fires, the probability of a fatality was 55.8% with ionization alarms but only 4.06% with photoelectric alarms. The study also concluded that, in fast-flame fires, the probability of a fatality was 19.8% with ionization alarms but only 3.99% with photoelectric alarms. This testing was based on a fault-tree analysis design developed by Bell Labs for the U.S. Air Force. The Texas A&M research clearly demonstrates that when all factors are taken into account, such as how often each alarm gets disabled due to nuisance alarm problems, to how they respond in actual testing across the full spectrum of fires, photoelectric alarms have a clear advantage.

In 2007, UL published the “Smoke Characterization Study”. This study tested both types of smoke alarms using current testing standards and materials; they also tested the alarms using UL test criteria integrating a variety of synthetic materials. The alarms were tested with burnt toast as well. The results are frightening. Ionization alarms failed the UL 217 test 20% of the time using required test materials. This is the test that the alarms must pass to even be offered for sale in the U.S. When tested using synthetic materials, ionization alarms Did Not Trigger (DNT) in 7 out of 8 synthetic test scenarios, for a 87.5% DNT rate. In the one test where the ionization alarm did trigger, it activated almost 43 minutes after the photoelectric alarm and at a level exceeding the maximum allowed under the UL 217 standard. Understand, this is UL running UL tests and showing that ionization alarms did not respond in 8 out of 8 smoldering test scenarios.

In the same UL tests, photoelectric alarms activated in 5 of 5 tests, or 100% of the time using the standard UL 217 test materials. Photoelectric alarms activated properly in 8 of 8 synthetic material tests, a 100% activation rate. The ionization alarm outperformed the photoelectric in only one case, the burnt toast test. There the ionization alarms responded 22% faster.

It should be noted that there were three test scenarios where neither alarm activated. The researchers determined that the sample size used was too small to generate sufficient smoke. (footnote 8) Those materials were retested using larger samples, and the results included in the above eight test scenarios.

The issue with ionization alarms is far more than just the slow response to deadly smoldering fires. Ionization alarms are notorious for nuisance tripping. They frequently go off when you cook, burn toast, shower, etc. When alarms nuisance trip, people become frustrated and intentionally disable them. This leaves their families completely unprotected. Several CPSC and NFPA studies report that 97% of all nuisance alarm activations are from ionization alarms.9 An Alaskan Public Housing Study shows that about 19% of ionization alarms were disabled within six months of installation; 10 other studies indicate that the percentage may be higher.

“Considering photoelectric smoke alarms are deter-mined by industry experts to be significantly less prone to nuisance alarm and potential disabling of the batteries by consumers, we support and encourage fire service administration and lawmakers that are moving toward the use of photoelectric smoke sensing technology.”
– BRK/First Alert Letter to Vermont fire departments,
July 17, 2008

Remember, about 96% of US homes have at least one smoke alarm. Nearly two-thirds of all residential fire deaths occur in homes that are unprotected. Roughly 50% of homeowners with nonfunctional alarms cite nuisance tripping as the reason for disabling their alarms. To complete the picture, many of the remaining 1/3 of residential fire deaths occur in homes where an alarm sounds, but it sounds too late for the occupants to escape. Over the years a number of government, university and manufacturer research studies, many going back to the mid-1970s, clearly show that ionization alarms are slow to react in deadly smoldering fires and account for the vast majority of nuisance trips.

It has taken decades, but there is finally a growing public awareness of this issue. On October 3, 2012, the NBC Today Show and NBC Nightly News aired a “Rossen Report” investigative segment on this issue. On July 7, 2012 with a follow-up report on August 1, 2012, Huntsville, Alabama TV station WHNT aired “A Taking Action” investigative report featuring ASHI President-Elect Bill Loden. On November 16, 2012, San Francisco CBS 5 “ConsumerWatch” aired a segment with Albany, California retired Fire Chief Marc McGinn and me demonstrating the poor performance of ionization alarms.

The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) is the largest firefighters union in the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 300,000 members. During the IAFF 2008 conference, they adopted an official position recommending that only photoelectric smoke alarms be installed. The IAFF position also commits the organization to working for changes in the law and model codes to require photoelectric technology alarms. Further, the IAFF position specifically states that combination type alarms are not acceptable. In July, 2010, Albany, California became the first city in that state to require photoelectric smoke alarms in new construction and remodels. In California, the cities of Palo Alto, Orange and the Sebastopol have enacted ordinances requiring photoelectric technology alarms. Shaker Heights, Chagrin Falls and several other cities in Ohio have enacted similar ordinances.

In 2011, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) became the first home inspection organization to take a stand when it adopted a position mirroring the IAFF position. At the January 2013 Board of Directors meeting, ASHI became the first national home inspection organization in the world to take a stand when it adopted a pro-photoelectric alarm position. At this time, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Iowa have laws that require photoelectric technology alarms in residential construction. Similar action is under consideration in several states. Cincinnati, Ohio recently became the largest U.S. city to enact a photoelectric ordinance. The ordinance covers rental housing. Six smaller cities in Ohio have photoelectric ordinances. New York City is currently considering a photoelectric ordinance. The Northern Territory in Australia recently adopted a photoelectric technology law.

The New York Senate and Assembly are currently considering a photoelectric smoke alarm tax credit referred to as Averyana’s Law. (footnote 11) As part of the justification, the law states: “On March 11, 2012, two year old Averyana Dale tragically lost her life due to smoke inhalation in a fire in Auburn, NY. “ It was later determined that the fire was a smoldering fire, which produces a significant amount of smoke but very little actual flame. Averyana Dale and her godmother most likely lost their lives because the ionization smoke detector that was present in the home did not alert to the fire until it was too late. If a photoelectric detector had been in the home, it is considerably more likely they would have been alerted to the smoke significantly sooner and would have made it out safely.

“Nationally, the percentage of people dying when the smoke detector works, but works too late, is approximately 40 percent.”
– Jay Fleming, Boston Deputy Fire Chief,
CBS Boston Interview, 2007

WHICH TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY DO I HAVE? It is not always possible to know. In general, if the label says anything about radioactive material, Americium-241 or the model number has an “I,”—then it is almost certainly an ionization alarm. If you have any doubt, there is over a 90% chance that the alarm you have is an ionization unit. Photoelectric models often have the word “photoelectric” or the capital letter P printed or embossed on them. To be safe, simply replace any unknown units with photoelectric-only alarms. Any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older should be replaced regardless of type.

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Home Inspection Checklist Items Sellers Should Fix

If you have a choice, it is smarter to hire your own contractors and supervise repairs. Before issuing a formal request to repair, consider the seller’s incentive to hire the cheapest contractor and to replace appliances with the least expensive brands.  Although CRI does not disclose repair costs, call a contractor to determine the scope and expense to fix minor problems yourself. No home is perfect. Every home will have issues on a home inspection. Even new homes.  A repair issue that will be be a deal breaker for a first-time home buyer, causing the buyer to cancel the contract, will not faze a home buyer versed in home repair. Talk to your agent, family, friends and call a few contractors to discuss which types of defects are minor. Perhaps a simple solution is available such as replacing a $1.99 receptacle, which can resolve many outlet problems.  Pat yourself on the back, too, for getting a home inspection. Some buyers feel a home inspection is unnecessary, especially if they are buying new construction. If a light switch doesn’t work or the air conditioner blows out hot air, those are problems you can see and test. The problems that aren’t readily identifiable to you such as code violations, a furnace that leaks carbon monoxide or a failing chimney, are the types of defects a home inspector could identify in a new home. Builders’ contractors make mistakes, too.

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What is Included in a Home Inspection?

  • Structural Elements.
    Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation.
  • Exterior Evaluation.
    Wall covering, landscaping, grading, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles.
  • Roof and Attic.
    Framing, ventilation, type of roof construction, flashing and gutters. It does not include a guarantee of roof condition nor a roof certification.
  • Plumbing.
    Identification of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. including condition. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps. It does not include a sewer inspection.
  • Systems and Components.
    Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning, duct work, chimney, fireplace and sprinklers.
  • Electrical.
    Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, grounding, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Appliances.
    Dishwasher, range and oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal and, yes, even smoke detectors.
  • Garage.
    Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof.

CRI home inspection reports do not describe the condition of every component if it’s in excellent shape, but it will describe every item that is defective or needing service. The serious problems are:

  • Health and safety issues
  • Roofs with a short life expectancy
  • Furnace / A/C malfunctions
  • Foundation deficiencies
  • Moisture / drainage issues

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Do You Need a Home Inspection?

Your new home needs a thorough inspection.

Don't buy a home without having it thoroughly inspected by CRI.

Buying a home can be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about any newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

If you already are a homeowner, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and suggest preventive measures that might help you avoid costly future repairs.

If you are planning to sell your home, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information can save you thousands of dollars. Often, if major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.

Please contact me by email with any questions you might have about how I can help you, or just call 650. 571.5300 any time from 8AM ’til 10 PM, Monday through Friday, and 9AM ’til 6PM on Weekends and Holidays.

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