Post Inspection: 7 tips for What To Do Next

Post Inspection: 7 tips for What To Do Next

It’s the day (or night) after the inspection. Anxiety levels are running high on both sides the transaction. As the buyer, you’re waiting on the report and are bout to be shocked by the sheer length of the report regardless…., and the sellers and their agent are hoping they don’t hear more than a 👍🏼

A typical inspection will last a couple hours, the inspector will take a lot of notes as well as pictures to ensure the report is thorough.

Inevitably, (good or bad) the report hits your email like a ton of bricks. After sorting through the disclosures you remember signing, disclaimers and all the print/pics of 50-plus pages of descriptions, photos, subsections and educational primers of each part of the house, you (the buyer) is left to try to make sense of this document and determine what in the hell you’re supposed to do from here. Now is the stage most people have these questions:

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The Home Inspection: 7 Common Questions

Oh the home inspection. You just were so excited because you found the perfect place, you made an offer, negotiated just like they do on the TV shows (HA) and ratified on the house (aka everyone agreed to price/terms). Now your friendly agent strikes fear in your heart immediatly by reminding you its time to schedule the daunting home inspection…

Oh the horror….

Just like when having any doctors visit, we might not like smell of the hospital, needles and surgery, but when the process is explained, we start to understand, and likely the fear dissipates a bit.

The same goes for home inspections. Here are 8 questions you’re bound to have going in (and should) help explain the why, how and what of one of the most important steps to getting from contract to close…

1. What is an inspection?

Think of an inspection as a physical check-up for a home. The inspector will use an array of tools to help assess, detect and diagnose the home’s condition. They’ll likely point out important items (like where the electrical panel and water shut off valve is) and/or suggest repairs or evaluations be done by contractors.

Unlike an exam in school, an inspector does not issue a “pass” or “fail” for the inspection, but rather an objective report outlining their findings of each area in the home. After the inspection you’ll have better idea of condition of big ticket items like the roof, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems. You’ll also be made aware of any possible leaks (active or inactive), deferred maintenance or systems that could impact your insurance.

2. How does it work?

The home inspector will evaluate the home on the inside as well as the outside.

This will include:

  • Checking the roof (they will a do visual observation and climb onto it to evaluate the roof’s condition)

  • Examining the exterior of the home, the attic, any decks, balconies or fences, the electrical and plumbing systems

  • Checking/testing all faucets, plumbing fixtures, toilets, showers and tubs

  • Checking the home ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system

  • Checking the state of the water heater, fireplace(s), appliances and windows

  • Examination of the crawl spaces, garage floors, patios, lentils, decks and pools, if applicable

Depending on what the home has, there could be more than one inspector needed. It depends on the different areas of expertise needed.

A separate pest inspection (called the CL-100 Report) is common in the low country and typically done after the initial inspection. This will look for any wood destroying organisms like termites, fungi or powder post beetles.

3. What happens?

No matter how well-kept or maintained in appearance a home may be, it is completely normal to expect the inspector to find items that will need repair, replacement or attention of some kind. They will also likely recommend areas for improvement, such as adding gutters, etc.

In other words, there is no home that is in “perfect” condition. Keep in mind that just because an inspector finds items needing to be fixed or recommends some enhancements does not mean that the home is a bad house or that the seller can or will fix or upgrade things.

The report can be used as a tool to assist in repair requests to be made by the seller, or in renegotiating a price adjustment, or concession toward closing costs in lieu of repairs or some combination thereof.

4. What’s the difference between major and minor problems?

It is important to understand what items may be found that are major versus minor, as well as potential costs to repair and/or replace.

A roof nearing the end of its life is a major concern (mainly due to cost). Typically, replacement is an expensive proposition. It all depends on size of the home, number of stories and the pitch and slope to the roof.

The age and condition of the HVAC system is also something to be aware of, as the cost to replace that can be substantial. A water heater is much less expensive to replace versus a roof or HVAC system, but the cost involved also depends on whether it is electric or gas, the size and the number of them.

Foundation issues are typically costly to fix and involve major work. In order to qualify for homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance policies increasingly require what is known as a “four-point inspection” on homes that are more than a quarter of a century old. This typically includes inspections of the aforementioned HVAC, electricity systems, the plumbing and fixtures, and the roof. It depends on the company and the state you’re in.

Minor items may be window springs that need to be repaired, a broken sprinkler head that needs replacement or sprinkler heads that need adjustment. There may be wood rot on a door jamb, windows or mold on the tile. Cracks or gaps may need caulking. Torn screens may need mending.

5. How long does it take?

An inspection is a significant undertaking, and is a time-consuming process. Expect it to take a few hours or more, depending on the size of the home and the extent of components that need to be inspected.

The entire process may take a few days. It depends on how many inspections need to take place. Coordinating with all involved is often a delicate dance of fancy footwork.

6. How much will it cost to fix problems?

This is always the million-dollar question when inspectors point out flaws. The best way of figuring this out is to consult contractors. They’ll be able to provide an idea of cost and options for repair and/or replacement. This will give the buyer an idea of what items to approach the seller about and what items they may prefer to handle on their own after closing.

7. How much does an inspection cost?

This is also another common question. It often depends on the size, age and scope of the property. A condominium for example, where a buyer’s ownership rights remain inside the property, is likely to cost less than a single-family home with several bathrooms and a pool.

Nevertheless, do not choose an inspector by price alone. Cheapest is not always best. In fact, it could cost you more money in the long run if the inspector cut corners or minimized some findings that should have been more thoroughly evaluated. For a typical home it will be a few hundred dollars.

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Ultimately it’s important to remember that while this step is an essential hurdle (and usually the first step in closing process after you have ratified a contract), if you are buying a pre-owned home there are bound to be items that appear. No home is perfect and if you have done your job in finding a quality agent and inspector, they will help explain, guide and inform on how to handle.

Charleston Home Round Table

My longest form piece of content I’ve ever done (apologies in advance). Gathered up 3 people I love to take a leap of faith and discuss all things Charleston, Development, Design, Local Business. Needless to say our conversation ran the gambit, but trust these people’s insight, opinion and expertise in Architecture, Building and Design. Having them provide commentary on this discussion was an invaluable insight for any type of person that’s enthralled with Charleston. Whether you’ve lived here, moved here or vacation here, I hope there’s a nugget of value in here for you.

(don’t worry topics are bullet pointed to the second below so you can skip around)

We can all agree that Charleston has been subject to a lot of change in recent years and this video discussion was geared around talks I find many of us are having privately. The post (linked above) has been bookmarked by topic so you can skip ahead to any you find most intriguing to you. Topics included:

Minute Markers

  • 1:28 - Design, Trends and Pros Insight

  • 16:34 - The Affordability Problem and How to Fix it

  • 23:29 - Small Business Question: Is Segmenting the Holy Grail?

  • 28:01 - Who is Moving to Charleston & Why?

  • 31:15 - ‘Charleston’s Development Problems are as Old as It’s History’

  • 36:10 - Container Building

Joining me and providing their thought leadership were Interior Designer - Jesse Vickers (Owner of JLV Creative), Builder - Rick Rockwell (Owner of Rockwell Construction) and Architect - Nicholas Rehberg (Owner of ADO) for participating. If ever you're in need of their services you'll get a resounding thumbs up (and not just because they jumped in front of camera, but they're each incredibly passionate and qualified). Each, as local business owners within the home space, brought incredible insight to this macro discussion.

My hope is that regardless of your station in life, your relationship to Charleston or what you do, that there is some tid bit of insight within this that resonates with you or helps answer a question you have.

2018 Thank You

My very small thank you for all you fine people who make doing what I do possible.

I have no lengthy, pontificating, version of this post other than to say: Thank you.

From me, to You and Yours a very Happy and Safe Holiday.

Cheers

Local Spotlight: Yous Guys

If there’s a spot that ‘gets it’s when it comes to the Hoagie Game, it’s Yous Guys in James Island. When I moved to Charleston one of few cons was there wasn’t many good pizza spots and NO great Hoagie joints. That’s where Yous Guys saved the day.,..

If you’ve never been, but are a hoagie expert, literally try anything. If you’re a rook or just grew up around Charleston and your carbs of choice were biscuits and not delicious soft on the inside and crunch on the outside rolls,…. repeat after me…. I will get the Roast Pork Hoagie. For real, it’s that good and takes me back to Reading Terminal Market.

If you’re a true PA ex-pat, like me, they also have: Utz Patato Chips, Tasty Cakes and root beer at all times. Oh and my man Don will be 10x friendlier if you can knowledgeably talk Philly Sports, like any true Fishtown transplant would. #flyEaglesfly

Ya welcome.

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Click for The Bites & To Order

 

Local Spotlight: Helen Hall (Hustle Smoothie Bar)

A sit down with Charleston Smoothie Queen, inventor of the Blender Bomb, owner of Hustle Smoothie Bar and friend, Helen Hall. We discuss Helen's rise, passion for all things health and (of course) how to make the perfect smoothie. 

 

Where & Why: Huriyali

This episode of 'Where and Why' highlights not just the passion, but the growth of a passion into a thriving business in downtown Charleston. Huriyali fuels locals with amazing juices, smoothies, bowls and now a full breakfast/lunch menu full of healthy bites.  During my sit down with one co-owner, learned whats fueled their passion for health, their experience growing a business in Charleston, and what made them decide uptown Charleston was the no-brainer spot to get started.

The goal at Huriyali is to make healthy choices simple; increasing the happiness, healthfulness, and performance of our customers.

It’s quite simple - What you put in, is what you get out. We believe nourishing and taking care of your body in turn nourishes your soul.
— Ruchi, Owner

Where & Why: Cannonborough Collective

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with two local entrepreneurs, Mimi Striplin and Liz Martin of Cannonborough Collective. It's since become a favorite place for client and family gifts due to some of their beautiful and unique offerings. Currently the only balloon & gift shop located on downtown Charleston's Peninsula, right in the heart of Cannonborough at 185A St. Philip Street. The space offers a shared space that allows local brands to rent space to sell their merch. After hours, Cannonborough Collective occasionally serves as a crafter’s workshop catering to locals and bachelorette parties.

Check out the video to see what these two are up to or pop in to one of the most inviting shops you'll find around town!

"Cannonborough Collective is a place that’s for locals by locals, and we want to share the space with other Charleston makers. We’re not business moguls, just two regular gals who were spending so much time at markets and pop ups that we wanted to have a space to call our own.  We love the existing shops and eateries in the neighborhood and are so thrilled to have joined the Cannonborough/Elliotborough community.

- Liz Martin & Mimi Striplin

5 Things Under $100 to Sell Your Home for More

Spring is here and a lot of you are getting ready to sell your homes. Many of my listing appointments I end up imparting a lot of the same advice to folks looking to sell there homes. Here’s a few handy tips on how to make your home more appealing to buyers for under $100.

1.) Double Check the Curb Appeal
    
Whether you like it or not perspective home buyers will be flipping through 100s of properties and occasionally driving by them so the curb appeal is going to be the first thing they notice and draws them in. So make sure it’s photo ready!

Spruce up exterior, power wash, fresh pine straw, potted plants, clean/paint front door and swap any dated hardware

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2.) Light Bulb Check
    
Whether seem like minutia, but if you want your home to tell perspective agents and their buyers you didn’t take good care of the home, give them subconscious  hints like dirty lighting fixtures or burnt out bulbs. Simple fix that will go a long way in to alleviating any surface level concerns and negate the question, ‘if they didn’t tend to the small things we can see, what may be hiding under the surface?’

3.) Paint and Spot Touch Up
    
Want to know every Agent’s trick to fixing something that looks old and tired? Spot touch ups and neutral paint go a long way into breathing some life into a pre-owned home regardless of how hard a certain space has been used.

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4.) Deep Deep Clean and Declutter
    
There’s no quicker way to turn off a perspective buyer entering home than a dirty space, w/ odd smells or cluttered rooms. Buyers will decide within 15 seconds of seeing a home whether they’d buy it or not. So don’t give them a reason not to in the last 5 when they open the door. Clean the baseboards, appliances, swap the air filters and deep clean the bathrooms/kitchens where. Also if you’re living in the home, that’s fine, but you’re going to be moving so it’s time to put a lot of the excess in boxes so buyers can focus on the space and not your family vacation to Wyoming 2014.

5.) Organize the Garage

You know why i love selling homes for engineers and mechanics? Most of the time their garages are the most organized space in the house. Most use it as the space where they store excess and becomes cluttered quickly. We’re going to keep playing on the buyer subconscious here, in that a clean and tidy garage says ‘I’ve kept up the space where most keep the dirtiest/disorganized, so clearly I've kept the rest of the home in tip top shape’. Think about it, at this point the other homes prospective buyers have seen will be the place of dirty lawn mowers, boxes of Christmas decorations thrown haphazardly on a shelf, and tools thrown about. If this one space stands apart from the rest, it's yet another reason to choose your home over another.

These are some of the most common I find from home to home that will help set yours apart and cost you mostly time. There are (of course), many more things you can do to prepare your home for sale (and should), but these easy tips will set you apart from most and get your home sold just a bit quicker.

For More Tips and Ideas on your home email, text, DM or follow me at any of the following...

 
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A Rant: Millennials and RE Culture

A Rant: Millennials and RE Culture

We've all got our favorite home show/s, but as an agent here's what I've heard on the ground level from my clients, friends and family that I'm constantly correcting. Your home is a commodity first and (maybe) an investment second... and please don't believe everything you hear on HGTV.

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Where & Why: Hamby Catering & Events

Where & Why: Hamby Catering & Events

A catering and events company located in West Ashley with a storied history and bright future. This sit down offers some insight to why Hamby Catering & Events has flourished as a business and delighted it's customers with incredible bites by simply listening.

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Short Term Rentals. Progressive or Pest?

Short Term Rentals. Progressive or Pest?

If you live in Charleston, this is likely a topic you're aware of. As Condé Nast's top city for several years, of course people want to come visit. Tourism has and always will be a big part of the Charleston economy, but a city that has allowed the build of mega-hotel projects (and thus altered the landscape and culture of downtown) is now slapping some of the harshest planned policy regarding short term rentals.

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Where & Why: Park Café

Where & Why: Park Café

The Park Cafe is a European style cafe located in the Wagener Terrace neighborhood of Downtown Charleston, SC. Coffee creations, eclectic toasts and special events are just a few things this neighborhood cornerstone does so well. In the first interview of a series I'm calling 'Where & Why', Managing Partner, Xan McLaughlin, sits down to tell us what make this place so special, what keeps people coming back and why Wagener Terrace was the perfect place for them to be.

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Market Update: February 2018

Market Update: February 2018

This quick update will help answer questions like: whats the median sales price currently in Mount Pleasant? Has the West Ashley pricing peaked? What are the available number of homes in James Island? And much, much more...

If you own a home in the Charleston area or considering buying one, this data will help you with decision making.

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Top 5 Ways to Prep Your Home For a Freeze

The rare Charleston freeze is something that most dont consider until it's too late. So, with one snow storm under our belt and another possible, make sure you prep a little to avoid a big unnecessary expense to your home:

1. Pipe insulation
Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees or below. Pipe insulation provides your first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. If you live in Charleston you know this isn’t the norm, but many older homes tend to lack any form of insulation especially in crawl spaces w/ old copper piping. I’d take extra caution and Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. A hardware or plumbing supply store should have the insulation and tools you need. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes. Measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube. Take extra care with pipes that have frozen during previous winters or have been repaired in the last 12 months, as these pipes are more susceptible to damage. Wrapping pipes in heat-tape prior to insulating adds an extra layer of protection, but make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions when using heat-tape to avoid damage.

2. Keep a dripping faucet
On days when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip. This eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.

3. Open cabinets
You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach the pipes

4. Fix exterior cracks
Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.

5. Seal off crawl space
Pier and beam homes with ventilated crawl spaces should be sealed against the cold weather. Cover your vents with heavy-duty pieces of cardboard cut to fit the vents, duct taping the cardboard in place. Don't forget to seal off access to the crawl space. Check for worn or missing insulation around garage and utility doors. Reducing the amount of cold air in the area minimizes your pipes' vulnerability to freezing.

2017 Year In Review - Charleston Housing

A big thank you for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Charleston Trident Association of Realtors for putting forth the data to give all of us a comprehensive overview of this past year in the market. The data below and referenced in the the podcast reflects the entire year of 2017.

The Raw Data:

Sales: Pending sales increased 5.4 percent, landing at 18,726 to close out the year. Closed sales were up 3.1 percent to finish 2017 at 18,381.

Listings: Year-over-year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 14.0 percent. There were 4,673 active listings at the end of 2017. New listings increased by 4.5 percent to finish the year at 24,054. Home supply was once again lower than desired in 2017.

Showings: Demand was high throughout 2017, thus showings were up. Homes for sale received, on average, 3.2 percent more showings. There were 13 showings before pending, which was unchanged compared to 2016.

Distressed Properties: The foreclosure market has dwindled from its peak several years ago. In 2017, the percentage of closed sales that were either foreclosure or short sale decreased by 8.1 percent to end the year at 5.7 percent of the market.

New Construction: New home building has improved acrossthe country but is not yet at a level to help sustain a balanced market. Locally, new construction months of supply finished 2017 at 3.8 months. While previously owned homes have seen months of supply drop from 6.0 to 2.8 months over the last five years, new construction supply has seen less change from a 2014 peak of 5.6 months.

Prices: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 4.7 percent to $251,333 for the year. Prices are expected to rise at a slow rate in 2018. Single-Family home prices were up 5.9 percent compared to last year, and Townhouse/Condo home prices were up 4.5 percent.

Client Testimonial: Kyle Dicke

Kyle Dicke, owner of Outline (a Charleston Based design studio, web and PR company) chose to call Charleston home over 6 years ago. With business booming, Kyle wanted to lay some serious roots to Charleston by purchasing a home in addition to some Investment property.

After initially helping Kyle purchase a cash flowing rental unit, we found him a new, turnkey home in James Island just a couple years later. The investment property quickly became a 'cash cow', generating positive returns immediately. The new build we dealt with several challenges of building a new home; unreliable sub-contractors, elusive completion date and quality control. However, navigated through to end up with two great deals for Kyle's portfolio.

I'm honored to call a two-time client, but more so a friend! Thanks buddy!