Clogged dryer vents can cause house fires. If you haven't checked your dryer vent this year, check it today!Read More
There's an expectation when you see the phrase "completely remodeled" in a home listed for sale.
Remodel, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary means to change the structure, shape or appearance of something.
When the phrase "completely remodeled" is used in the description of a listing, many homebuyers expect the entire house to be updated.
But in reality, a house advertised as "completely remodeled" could have a number of big-ticket items that are either original or close to the end of their use. In fact, we find this to be true more often than not. So with that in mind...
Here's what you need to look for when you see the phrase "completely remodeled" in the description of a home.
Electrical upgrades- The standard for household power used to be 60 amps. Today modern homes need as much as 200 amps to run all the electrical needs. High definition televisions, computers, air conditioners and home automation devices require lots of power to run. Have a home inspector check the entry cable coming into the house and the electrical panel. If the house has original or outdated wiring, consider upgrading for safety and function purposes.
Roof - Depending on the size of a house and the style of shingles, a new roof can cost between $8000 and $40,000 dollars. The age of a roof is a very important consideration when buying a house. While you are touring the house with your buyer agent, check the roof to see if any shingles are curling. See if there are any cracked or missing shingles. Finally, look for bald spots or areas of the roof where the granules are gone. These are all signs of an older roof. If you move ahead with the purchase of the home, make sure your home inspector gives you an estimate on the age of the roof.
Outlets - This falls under the electrical upgrade category but it's important to pay close attention to the electrical outlets in a home. We still see the old-fashioned 2 prong outlets in houses in the Greater Washington DC area. These older outlets do not have the ground wires to protect people and electrical devices in case of a fault. Today's modern houses should have the 3 prong outlets for safety and function purposes. If you're like me and you don't know how to change out these outlets, hire an electrician.
Water Heater & HVAC - Most water heaters have an 8 to 12-year lifespan. If the heater is an A&O Smith or another higher quality water heater, it may last longer. Take a picture of the HVAC label and google it to determine the age. If the unit has been well maintained, there will be a label from an HVAC company with service dates. Again, this can be done when you are touring a home. If you decide to purchase a house and schedule a home inspection, the inspector will determine the age and condition of the HVAC unit and water heater.
Plumbing - Plumbing problems can be very expensive. When you are touring a house that you like, turn on the faucets to check pressure. Look under sinks for signs of water issues. Look up at the ceiling to see if there are any stains. You can't always see a plumbing problem but it's a good idea to ask the seller if they have a record of plumbing maintenance.
Foundation - Check the basement walls for large cracks or bulges. Look at the house exterior for signs of moisture or cracks. Examine the landscaping to see how well the yard is graded. Water should be moving away from the house, not toward the foundation. Again, this advice is for homebuyers as they tour a property of interest. Once you have a ratified contract and hire a home inspector, he/she should be able to offer excellent advice on the condition of a home.
Completely Remodeled is a red flag phrase for buyer agents. The first thing we do is go into the basement to check the HVAC system. We look for signs of water intrusion. Outside, we walk the perimeter of the house looking for low spots near the foundation. Any place that is not sealed is a place where water can get into the home and compromise the basement and/or foundation. We are not home inspectors! We are simply advocates for home buyers. We always look for what’s wrong and what’s right with a property.
Some days start off bad and get worse
You wake up at 4:15 because the wind triggered your neighbors car alarm. Or maybe you wake up to a pounding headache or hip ache. Sometimes it's just a feeling, left over from a weird dream or drama from the previous day. Whatever it is-some days feel like a struggle.
Like many people, I tend to heap stuff together. The worries, drama and insecurities loop around and around in my head. In fact, my husband jokes that I am the "designated worrier".
He says there's no need for him to worry about anything-I have it covered! Without question, there are life events that are bad. Read the front page of the Washington Post to witness world and local tragedies and bad news. But most of the time, in day to day life events, having a bad day is not necessary.
The truth is-having a "bad day" is really a bad habit.
I believe that giving up on an entire day is an incredibly bad idea. I've worked hard at breaking this habit. Here are a few tips I can share if you want to break your "Bad Day" habit too.
Try not to wallow in bad feelings-okay, sometimes life is challenging and difficult. This is absolutely true. People get sick, fired or hurt and when this happens, it takes time to work through it. However, once the event, situation or feeling passes, let it go. The situation doesn't have to define who you are.
Feelings are not always accurate-heard the expression, "worried sick"? Hanging onto negative emotions like hate, jealousy, fear and worry can make you feel sick. Why choose to feel bad? If you are replaying something in your head that isn't making you feel good-notice it and then let it go. If it comes back up again, acknowledge that it's there and let it go again.
The practice of acknowledging and letting go will take the power out of a feeling.
With enough practice, you will create a new habit; giving you the freedom to choose how you feel.
Be grateful-for every little beautiful part of your life. I have a friend who keeps a gratitude jar. On little strips of paper, she writes down everything she is grateful for-honey crisp apples, soft sheets, good health etc. Sure it sounds weird at first but with practice, it makes perfect sense.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else-there is only one You. No one is exactly like you with the same talents, opportunities, personality-why compare? I think about my daughter and her wonderful friends. They are similar but not exactly alike. Each young woman is bursting with personality & power-expressing unique talents and interests that will positively affect our world.
When we were looking for our home, I had a vivid mental picture of what it would look.
My dream home did not include shag carpet and a kitchen with formica countertops.
House after house, I kept looking for my perfect dream home. Working with our exclusive buyer agent, we determined that a well constructed home was our top priority. We did not want a “McMansion” with low quality materials and craftsmanship. We focused on older homes in established neighborhoods where homes were built with brick with hardwood floors on every level.
The first day I saw our house, I walked out saying, "Nope!" The second time, my exclusive buyers agent pointed out all the positives-
hardwood floors throughout
backyard backs to woods & looks like a private park
on a cul-de-sac in an established neighborhood with trees
3 full bathrooms
I walked out of my house again but this time, my husband and I discussed the possibilities. We loved the brick construction, hardwood floors and beautiful backyard and neighborhood.
I couldn't see past the ugly chandeliers, shag carpet and dingy older windows.
The house was stuck in the 70's with a real "Brady Bunch" vibe.
After lots of talking and lamenting about "the perfect house" we bought our home. We've lived here for 22 years-and absolutely love it! Why? Because our house has good bones. We replaced the original casement windows with larger Anderson windows. In the family room, we removed the old sliding glass door and louvered windows. My husband, Marshall installed french doors with beautiful floor to ceiling windows on either side.
The floors were refinished and the entire house was painted. We replaced the old chandeliers with beautiful Pottery Barn style lighting.
Consider the "not so perfect house" when you find a house that meets your criteria that cannot change. This would include things like;
Is the neighborhood a good fit for you and your family?
Does the daily commute work for you? Is the home built well with solid construction?
If a homes needs paint and updated kitchen and bathrooms but is otherwise perfect-give it consideration. My personal home buying experience is no different from many home buyers today. We've all watched way too much HGTV and want, what we want, right now! But if a house has true potential, and needs mostly cosmetic updates, it could become your dream home.
My grandfather used to say; "You Can't Make a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear"
In regard to home construction, this phrase means if something is not built well with solid materials and skilled craftsmanship, it’s not going to be a quality home. We see poorly constructed homes all over the Greater DC area. Many times, these homes will have new granite counter tops, wall -to wall carpet and maybe updated bathrooms.
But the truth is, if the bones of a house are no good-it's a sow's ear!
Ahh-the beauty of the rambler!
Rambler style homes dot the suburban landscape in the Greater Washington DC area. According to Webster’s dictionary, Rambler means gadabout, roamer, wanderer and one who likes to ramble; a perfect description for a home style that flows from room to room.
Because of the rectangular and square shapes of the Rambler style home, it’s easy to alter the original footprint. Bumping out the back of a rambler or adding a second floor are both common and attractive ways to have the rambler grow with your family. The Ramblers in my Silver Spring neighborhood have walk out basements. With two levels, this Rambler design allows natural light into the lower level of the home so it doesn’t feel like you are in a basement.
The Ramblers built after WWII are small; usually three bedrooms and one bathroom. In the 60’s and 70’s, builders showed creativity building walk out basements, double garages and large screened porches. Since the footprint of the Rambler is so simple, the options to expand seem endless.
Is the Rambler home style the right choice for you?
This is one of many questions to consider as you search for a home. Make a list of what you want in your new home. Include things like;
Must have a working fireplace, the backyard has to be private, I have to have a gas range (this could be added later), a master bathroom is essential, must have a workshop and lots of natural light.
You get the idea. Some home buyers don’t know what they want until they get out and house hunt-that’s fine too. If you are house hunting with a significant other, talk about what you expect to have in your new home. Ramblers are great, I live in one but you may find split levels, colonials or another home design works best for you. In the Greater Washington D.C. area, many of the original home styles have large additions that alter the footprint dramatically.
We recently worked with a buyer who purchased a house for sale by owner. The owner was actually a flipper who had hired a listing brokerage to put the property into the Multiple Listing Service. The owner was the point of contact and handled all the negotiations.
Top 5 things to know to protect your best interest when buying a FSBO
THE SELLER DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE DOESN'T KNOW - Every jurisdiction has addendum and requirements which become part of the contract. Several of these addendum are provided by the seller. For example, in Montgomery County Maryland, it's mandatory for the seller to perform a radon test and provide the results to the buyer. The seller is not required to pay for remediation but the test has to be done. If the FISBO hasn't done their homework, they could miss important documents & requirements which are in place to protect the buyer. A good buyer's agent will make sure all required documents are included in the contract.
CONTINGENCIES IN THE CONTRACT ARE THERE TO PROTECT THE BUYER - If you are buying a for sale by owner house, be sure your buyer's agent includes inspection, financing and appraisal contingencies. The home inspection should include the right to negotiate and the right to walk away from the deal. There will be a time period written into the contract that allows the buyer to hire a home inspector and complete the inspection. The inspector writes a detailed report and based on this information, the buyer decides to negotiate repairs and credits or walk away from the deal. The financing contingency is in place to protect the buyer should they not be able to purchase the property through no fault of their own. And if the appraiser determines that the value of the property is less than what the buyer is offering, the appraisal contingency gives the buyer the right to negotiate the price and get out of the deal if they can't come to an agreement with the seller.
THE SELLER IS NOT BOUND BY A CODE OF ETHICS - Real estate agents are supposed to follow the rules and the code of ethics. This includes not misleading buyers, responding as quickly as possible to offers & counter offers and disclosure of pertinent facts and latent defects about the property. If real estate agents break any of the rules they could be fined and/or lose their license. A seller has not agreed to a code of ethics or standard of practice. This leaves room for dishonest people to not disclose all the important details of a property.
SELLER MAY OVERVALUE THEIR PROPERTY - It's not uncommon for a homeowner to overvalue their property. I remember a conversation I had with a FISBO who listed the cost of the back deck and bathroom renovations he had done 10 years prior. He was expecting to be compensated for the expense! Review the comparables provided by your buyer agent. These will show what similar houses sold for over the past 6 months to a year. Look closely at the condition of the other houses. Using this information, you can determine what you want to offer for the house. Keep in mind that you may also be negotiating repairs and/or credit for items found during the home inspection.
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING - Did the seller say they would take the junk out of the backyard? Get it in writing! Everything you have either verbally or via email agreed on, write up an addendum that spells it out and is signed by both parties. If it's not in writing, it's not enforceable.
Here are a few major points to consider before you buy a fixer-upper.
Time had stopped in a house we toured last week.
The in-house speaker system was original and installed in 1958. All the bathrooms had original tile, sinks, and tubs. The kitchen had original cabinets and only the refrigerator had been replaced. The basement had asbestos tiles on the floor and a swingin' Rat Pack style bar that took up an entire wall.
How much do you think it would cost to fix this place up?
Many home buyers love the character, craftsmanship, and detail found in an older home. But before you buy a fixer-upper, seriously consider the following questions.
What projects can you do yourself? Is the house built prior to 1978? Do it yourself projects can quickly grow and take up more time than you planned. If the house is built prior to 1978, it's likely lead-based paint is on the walls, window trim, and doors. If you're removing walls or making any major changes on an older home, you'll need to hire professionals to do the work. Lead paint and asbestos removal is not cheap!According to Home Advisor, it can cost between $200 and $700 to hire professionals to do this type of work.
Will the house need an electrical heavy up and updating for outlets & switches? Most houses today include a 200 amp electrical service. This allows homeowners to run as many circuits as needed. Older homes may have only 100 amp service which is often not enough electricity for homeowners needs today. A licensed electrician should be hired to do a heavy up which usually costs between $1500-$2500. If you're handy, you may be able to replace old outlets with GFI protected outlets but this work takes skill and you'll want to be sure to turn off the main power before doing any electrical work.
What is the condition of the roof, structure & foundation? Depending on the size and condition, roof replacement can be expensive. If the roof is near the end of it's useful life, adjust your offer to reflect the cost of replacement. If there are foundation issues, seriously consider walking away! To avoid buying a house with foundation problems, spend time examining the exterior and interior walls. Last spring, we found large, jagged cracks along the brick foundation of an older home. In the basement of the home, the wall bulged from the cracks in the wall. This is an expensive problem! If you have any questions about the foundation of a property, hire a structural engineer.
Give serious consideration before you waive a home inspection. With the exception of an almost new condominium, we have never advised our buyers to waive a home inspection. We have, in competitive situations, done a pre-offer home inspection. This is done when there are multiple offers on a property and you want to write a contract offer that is not contingent on the home inspection.
Remember, hire professionals to thoroughly evaluate a home. If the house is on well & septic or has a pool, these should be inspected by a professional. The more you can learn about your investment, the more confident you can be in moving ahead with the purchase.
We were videotaped while touring a home for sale!
I was interviewed by a USA Today reporter about being recorded with my clients while touring a home for sale.
A green blinking light caught my eye as I was checking out the kitchen cabinets. As you can see in the picture, this video recorder was plugged into an outlet. My clients thought it was funny but it did feel weird.
And then we found another camera, this time in the family room. Again, my clients took it in stride but we wondered why the sellers would make such an effort. The house was completely vacant, so it's not like the cameras were used to keep an eye on personal belongings. At the end of the house tour, my buyers decided the house was not for them. The layout was odd so they made that statement directly to the camera and we left the house.
The lessons learned from this experience; If you really love a house, don't say so while you are inside. Save that conversation for the backyard or even in the car. Some takeaways from this experience -
Don't talk price or strategy when you're inside a home.
Refrain from touching any items on bookshelves, tables or dressers. You don't want video of you handling personal belongings especially if something goes missing.
Compliment but don't criticize the seller's furnishings. If you make an offer on a house after trash talking their decorating, your offer may end up at the bottom of the heap!
In a 2014 Realtor magazine, there's a list of the specific audio & video recording rules for each State. If you are working with a seller, make sure they understand the recording rules. If you are working with buyers, assume that you are being recorded. It's better to play it safe since this type of recording could be difficult to prove in a court of law.
Real Estate Agents are required to take continuing education classes to keep their licenses active.
At the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors otherwise known as GCAAR, we have an ethics instructor who is a lawyer. He's acted as general legal counsel for the Maryland Association of Realtors since 1984.
The stories he shares come from real life experiences and they are scary!
The #1 way real estate agents get into trouble is failing to disclose material facts. If the seller chooses to disclaim instead of disclose, they still need to disclose a latent defect. (that's a fault with the property that couldn't be discovered by a thorough inspection prior to the sale.)
Listing agents and buyer agents need to be careful how they describe a property. Is the house really in excellent condition? Is the roof/HVAC new? Has the kitchen been updated? These vague descriptions have been the subject of lawsuits filed against real estate agents. Provide dates instead of saying something is "new or updated". And don't say "excellent condition" in a description unless it's 100% true. Here's an example: A house listed as "in excellent condition" was purchased by a buyer. The buyer had a home inspection and several items, one major, were discovered by the inspector. The buyer said, "How can this home be excellent with all these repair items?" So the buyer asked the listing agent to reimburse him for the cost of the home inspection. The listing agent said no. Many months and thousands of dollars later, the buyer won a lawsuit! All because the listing agent wrote "excellent condition" as a description of the property.
Your real estate agent will never say which neighborhood is right for you. Certain details of a neighborhood could violate the Fair Housing Act which was enacted in 1968 to eliminate housing discrimination. A real estate agent can and will provide a home buyer with tools and resources so they can make an informed decision regarding neighborhoods.
Real estate agents should be careful to present a true (honest) picture when advertising. Apparently, this is another common issue when agents get into trouble. All advertisements should disclose the Broker's name and/or company name with the office telephone number. In other words, it should take no longer than 15 seconds for someone to know an agents Brokerage. This includes all correspondence, anything that's mailed, business cards and newsletters.
Continuing education classes give us the opportunity to check ourselves. Are we acting ethically every day with every client? Are we staying in the scope of our expertise? Are we acting solely in the best interest of our client/principal?
When buying a single family home, you don't want any surprises.
Many of our new home buyers have asked us if they really need to pay the extra money to get a property survey.
Buying a home is the most expensive purchase most of us make in a lifetime.
And you are not just buying the house, you are buying the parcel of land that the house sits on. So the short answer to the question above is, "Yes! You should seriously consider paying for a survey when you are buying a home."
A land survey is a map showing the legal boundaries of a property. The surveyor measures the property and identifies buildings on a property.
In some cases, like when we had our property surveyed in Maryland, the surveyor drove flagged metal stakes into the ground to identify the boundaries. Sometimes surveyors put concrete markers into the ground when the house is built. We found one of these when our surveyor came out to determine the line between our neighbors' property and our property line.
A house location drawing is not a boundary survey.
A house location drawing is fairly accurate and indicates where the house sits on the property.
It does not, show the property lines. To have a true understanding of your property size, we recommend paying for the boundary survey. Depending on the lot size and location, a boundary survey can cost between $500 to over $1000.
You will save yourself a lot of trouble if you get a boundary survey. In our case, we paid for a survey and erected a privacy fence. Our neighbor, who was an original buyer from 1961 complained that we had built the fence on his land. However, he was mistaken. He had long thought our side yard was his yard. The fence set the record straight and we were glad to regain the use of our land.
- Keep a copy of your boundary survey. If you want to build a shed or plant trees or bushes near your property line, you may need to provide the survey to your County or other local officials.
Your settlement attorney or title company should answer all your questions about boundary surveys. Remember, you are not just buying the house, you are buying the property. You will want to know what land is yours. Someday, if you decide to sell your house, a buyer will want answers to these questions. If there are any issues with easements or encroachments, you will have a problem.
Happy House Hunting!
Maryland Residents are required to replace the 9-volt battery operated smoke detectors that are 10 years old with new smoke detectors.
Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law applies to both hardwired and battery operated smoke alarms. The date will be on the back of the smoke detector. If you don't see a date then the smoke detector is probably over ten years old.
The new law emphasizes the use of sealed smoke alarms with long-life batteries and silence buttons. Below is an outline of requirements.
- In existing homes, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires a smoke alarm outside of bedrooms and one on each level of the home. However, it also recommends that existing homes be equipped with at least the same number of smoke alarms required in new homes which includes smoke alarms present inside all sleeping rooms.
- For new construction, Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Law has been updated to match with the International Residential Code and National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. An AC powered, battery back-up smoke alarm is required in every bedroom, in the common area outside of the bedrooms and on every other level of the dwelling unit, with all of the required smoke alarms being interconnected. The requirements for smoke alarms vary depending on when the residence was constructed.
This new law is meant to protect people from house fires. Since the battery operated smoke detectors are easy to dismantle, many homeowners would take batteries out if they were triggered by cooking. The homeowners would then forget or neglect to replace the batteries. This has resulted in house fires where firefighters find no batteries in the smoke detectors. The new smoke detectors have a hush feature that allows you to temporarily turn off the smoke detector while cooking.
For more information about Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law, read this article from the Baltimore Sun
A Pre Drywall Walk Through Is One of The Most Important Steps
Of Buying a Brand New Home
At this stage of the home building process, the Builder or Site Manager walks through the home with the homeowners. The framing, heating and air ducts, electrical wiring, plumbing and possibly tubs and shower pans will be in place.
Before the drywall is installed, it's easier to make changes to the electrical outlets, lighting, plumbing and/or framing.
What To Look For in a Pre Drywall Walk Through
- Take pictures of electrical wiring, plumbing, and air ducts. On a recent pre-drywall walk through with our clients, we asked the Builder to move two recessed lights and an electrical box for a ceiling fan. He agreed. Our client took pictures showing the current location of the lights and electrical box. The pictures document the conversation.
- Check placement for electrical boxes in each room. Before the pre-drywall walkthrough, the Builder and home buyer meet for a design meeting. This is when you decide the location of electrical outlets, ceiling fan wiring and cable lines for your home. During the walkthrough, make sure these items are in the proper location. Now is the time to make changes to things that will soon be covered by walls and ceilings.
- Be sure the air registers are placed properly in each room. All the rooms of the house should have registers. The ductwork connecting the registers shouldn't be dented or blocked in any way.
- Your washing machine should have a washing pan. If the pan is not in place, make sure it's on the Builder's checklist. The pan catches overflows if the washing machine leaks or overflows.
- Are the doors, windows and garage doors the style & design you've chosen? During our pre-drywall walk through with clients last week, we discovered that the Builder installed the wrong patio doors. He agreed to make the correction and we took pictures to document.
- Ask the Builder to show you the location of the cleanouts for the plumbing. Sometime in the future, you, or a plumber, will need to access the cleanout. Take notes during the walkthrough so you remember where clean outs are located.
Finally, we recommend hiring a licensed independent home inspector.
This will be an additional cost, but it's well worth the expense. Home inspectors evaluate the foundation, floor, walls, framing, electrical, plumbing, roof structure, windows, doors and rough-in components. The home inspector will answer all your questions and provide a detailed report.
This inspection would be in addition to, not instead of, the Builder's walkthrough and home inspection.
Here are more sources for you if you are buying new construction.
Buying new construction? There is much to learn in the pre-drywall home inspection! This inspection gives the home buyer an opportunity to see the electrical, plumbing and framing before the dry wall is installed.Read More
Graph from Urban Turf
Is buying a home a good idea for you, right now?
With mortgage rates at the lowest rate in 10 months, it may be time for you to stop renting and consider buying your own home. As Exclusive Buyer Agents with Buyer's Edge, we specialize in the home buying process. With us, you never sign a dual agency agreement. We advocate for you from the home search to the settlement! Since we are an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage, we do not have listings to sell. We have access to every home for sale, listed by a real estate brokerage and also homes for sale by owner.
Freddie Mac reported 3.78% as the average for a 30-year mortage
We help home buyers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Since the market is competitive for condos and single family homes in the District, we suggest meeting with us to develop a clear home tour strategy. This frequently means not waiting to see homes until the weekend. Marshall and I have had success for our buyers by being the first ones into a home when it comes on the market. Being pre-approved, by a local lender, is part of the winning strategy. For home buyers in Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs, the housing market is a little less competitive. Generally, the closer you are to Washington D.C., the more competition for condos and single family homes.
Search for a home using the search engine at Buyer's Edge.
Fall is an excellent time to find a home in the Washington & Baltimore area. If you have questions or would like to meet with us to talk about your specific needs, email me at Victoria@buyersagent.com or call 301-922-1677. We look forward to meeting you!
Exclusive Buyer Agents represent buyers 100% of the time
Exclusive Buyer Agents are fiduciaries of home buyers with no conflicts of interest and loyalty to the home buyer in every real estate transaction.
Buyer agency is a real estate business model dedicated to buyer representation. Buyer Brokerages never take listings and never work for sellers.
Learn more about Exclusive Buyer Brokerages
in the Washington D.C. area
Last November, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a listing agent who participated in a 2007 sale of a Los Angeles home owed fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer as well as the seller because both the buyer & seller were represented by the same brokerage. Realtor magazine says the case could have widespread implications for the real estate industry when it comes to dual agency.
Buyers & Sellers need to understand real estate laws and regulations in their state before they enter into an agreement with a real estate professional.
The Market is Hot and Investors are Flipping Houses
Flipped houses can be great IF the flippers hired licensed contractors to do the structural, electrical, plumbing and the major changes in a home. If you're checking out a flipped property, ask to see the permits for work completed. If the workers didn't pull the proper permits, consider turning around and walking away.
Steve Carpenter-Israel, Broker & Owner of Buyer's Edge was quoted in a CNBC interview about a flipped house that was a flop. Steve said, " It's literally putting lipstick on a pig. "They're just doing cosmetic stuff and actually covering up problems, and that's scary because it's very difficult to figure it out."
Steve Carpenter-Israel, Marshall Henderson & Stephen Mercer are members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org)
At a recent home inspection of a flipped property in Baltimore, our inspector turned on all the water to check the pressure. I followed him into the living room as he continued with his inspection. As he turned an infrared camera to the ceiling, he yelled, "Oh (expletive)" and I looked up to see water stains forming along the crown molding of the living room ceiling!
- If you are buying a flipped property, ask if the flipper used licensed contractors to do the major work
- Work with an experienced real estate agent. Your buyer's agent will be looking for what is wrong with a house as much as what is right with a house.
- Hire an excellent home inspector. An inspector will evaluate electrical, plumbing and the structural elements of a home. If there are major issues, a good inspector will find them.
- If you have a chance to talk to the neighbors, do so! One day I was checking out the backyard of a home for sale. I chatted with a neighbor who told me how the previous owner (the owner who sold the house to a flipper) struggled for years with a wet basement. Once inside the home, I saw the flippers had installed not one but two sumps pumps. They had also installed an interior french drain . My client moved ahead with the home inspection and the inspector determined the work was done well and the basement would stay dry.
For more information on Flipped houses, townhouses & condos
Who are Millennials?
Is their approach to buying a home different than Gen X'ers or Baby Boomers?
Millennials, according to Pew Research, are 18-34 years of age in 2015. These men and women overtake baby boomers as America's largest generation-according to population estimates by the Census Bureau. Immigration adds more numbers to this group than any other. By the year 2036, Millenial population is expected to peak at 81.1 million.
So what are Millennials looking for in a home? Are they confident, city dwellers with expectations that are wildly different from previous home buyers?
Not really-they have the American dream of owning their own home, just like home buyers before them. Here's a breakdown of the survey done by the Responsive Home Project,
- 83% of Millenials want space in a less populated community
- 85% of Millenials buy a home to build personal equity
- 86% of Millenials want outdoor space for entertaining and plenty of space in the home
- Walkability ranks very high for most Millenial home buyers. They want to be close to parks, grocery stores and schools with community activities close by too.
Millenials are searching for homes, on their own, more than any other generation of home buyers. Mobile apps make it easy and fun to learn about schools, communities, and home prices in neighborhoods. And finally, Millenials are more likely than other groups to interview several Realtors before choosing someone.
Buying a home is an expensive adventure...and it should be fun! If you're buying a home or just thinking about getting started, here are a few things to do-
- Interview several Realtors and trust your gut instinct. Are they listening to you? Will they promptly respond to your texts & phone calls?
- Review their Buyer Broker agreement. Can you really break up with them or are you wedded to their company? At Buyer's Edge, you can end your agreement by email. Again, trust your gut before signing with a real estate company.
- Are they showing you houses & condos that you want to see or houses they want to sell? Remember, you are the one financing this transaction. You deserve to be fully represented by a qualified professional who will guide you through the home buying experience.
Resources for Home Buyers
A home inspection is a vital part of the home buying process. We recommend several home inspectors who are licensed, experienced and highly qualified but remember it's always the home buyers choice.
Last summer, one of our buyers hired a home inspector we didn't know. The inspector, Glenford Blanc, is with Pro-Spex. We were impressed by Glen's knowledge about homes. He patiently answered all of our buyers questions and showed him what was right and wrong with the home. He also uses a drone during home inspections when roofs are too steep to climb. Pro-Spex made our "cut" and the company, which employs about 8 home inspectors, is now on our preferred home inspectors list. We also recommend Jeff Pearce with The Pearce Group who is licensed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. In addition to being a licensed home inspector, Jeff has a background in HVAC installation.
Bobby Mayberry owns RPM Home Inspect. He is licensed in Washington D.C. and Virginia. Bobby stars in our video titled, "Inspection of a Crawlspace"
Marshall and I enjoy working with Bobby because he goes through the house with our home buyers explaining how everything works. He encourages buyers to ask questions and like our other preferred home inspectors, he provides a detailed home inspection report. If you are buying a home in the Greater Washington D.C area, consider working with exclusive buyer agents with Buyer's Edge. We are licensed in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. and advocate for home buyers through the entire home buying process.
Thank you for watching our video on the inspection of a crawlspace. Watch other videos on our YouTube Channel and have a great day!