Thursday, December 26, 2013

How Do I Select a Good Home Inspector?

Experience, skill and personalities of inspectors vary greatly, so we recommend you do your diligence before hiring an inspector, and verify the following information:
Is the inspector properly licensed and certified?

Make sure the inspector is state-licensed (if required in your state) and/or certified by an appropriate national professional association, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Does the company carry General Liability (GL) and Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance?

Appropriate risk insurance protects businesses, clients, and property owners.   Do not assume that the inspector has the appropriate insurance, as some inspectors may not carry insurance.   Check the inspection company’s insurance status before signing a contract with them.

How and when are the inspection reports delivered?

Inspection reports should be clear, concise, easy-to-read and available quickly. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of the condition of the home prior to the expiration of the contingency period of your real estate contract.   Ask whether they deliver the reports on site or via e-mail soon after the inspection.

Does the report provide a summary of defective items and pictures?
The report should provide a summary of defective items &/or concerns about the property (as often they are not “defects” but possible items to be addressed as a preventative measure, etc).   This “summary ” allows you to easily see what functional &/or safety concerns exist with the property. Additionally, digital cameras allow inspectors to effectively illustrate their reports, especially items that are difficult to describe.   No other item has so positively affected communication of reports in recent years as the digital camera!

What is the inspector’s experience and background?

Inspectors should have attended an in-depth training course to learn how to perform home inspections. They should also have an excellent experience base and ideally be part of an organization with a strong continuing education program.   Find out how long the inspection company has been in business, and what education, certifications, and experience the home inspector that will be conducting your inspection has. 

Can you order more than one inspection at the same time?

Check to see if the inspection company can save you time by offering multiple types of inspections on the same day, such as radon, mold, and termite inspections.

Is the fee too high?   Is the fee  too low?

Some inspectors will attempt to compete based on price, particularly if they are new to the inspection business.   Although price is a concern, all inspectors are not “created equal.”   The $25, $50, or even $100 price differential to hire the “right” inspection company is minimal compared to the thousands of dollars it could cost you if you hire the wrong inspection company.   Be careful though - pricing is not a true indicator as to the competency of the inspector, so do not make the assumption that an inspector is under-qualified because they have a more competitive price than another, or that an inspector is “better” because they charge more. 

Does the company encourage you to attend the inspection?

Attending the inspection is a great opportunity for you to learn first-hand what is included in the inspection and about the systems and components in the house you are purchasing.   Be wary of inspectors that do not include you in the inspection process.

Is it a well-established inspection company?
Well-established inspection companies have more availability for inspections, especially for those needed immediately.   Additionally, they have the resources to provide ongoing training to their inspectors, and comprehensive post-inspection customer service to you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting Periods to buy a new home after a Short Sale or Foreclosure

Good Afternoon Homebuyers! 

We are frequently asked the same question by people who lost their home due to a short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy: "When can I buy a qualify for a new mortgage?" The answer is it depends... But don't be discouraged, our friends at W.J. Bradley Mortgage created this easy to understand flyer on when you may qualify for a new loan. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to get the process of finding you a new home started today!

Monday, November 18, 2013

5 inexpensive ways to prep your home for sale

Neutralize it:  Bold colors can look great, but it limits your appeal to certain buyers.  Having an Artichoke colored kitchen may go wonderfully with your theme, but it could make the buyer feel a little green at the thought of staring at it every day.  A coat of paint in a neutral color can go a long way to broaden the number of people who enjoy the way it looks and may propel them to write an offer. ($30-$100)

Give it the white glove inspection:   When it comes to preparing your home, a clean home will sell faster and for more money every time.  Buyers want to see pride of ownership and they want to see how much space they’ll have, not how small the closets are because you have 10 shirts laying on the bed. Vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning anything that shines, sparkles, or reflects (Faucets, counters, mirrors, windows, etc) is a fast and easy way to keep the buyers looking. ($0)

Make it Beautiful:  The exterior is your homes handshake to the buyer.  It is both the first and the last impression a buyer has of your home, so it’s important to have it looking it’s best.  Cutting back trees, pruning bushes, raking leaves, and cutting the grass will improve the buyer’s opinion of your house even before they set foot inside.  For extra points, planting a few flowering biennials in the winter months is an inexpensive way to add a fresh touch to a dormant yard in the middle of winter. ($0-$30)

Fix it:  Be proactive; fix the leaky faucets, running toilets, squeaky doors and broken light switches before listing your house.  Don’t think the buyers won’t notice, because they, their agent, or the inspector will. ($0-$150)

Stage it:  The potential buyer will visualize their furniture where yours is now.  Get rid of unneeded pieces of furniture, by selling them, hosting a garage sale, or donating them.  Move the furniture around, see which orientation makes the room feel most open and inviting.  Clean up the garage (this is often an overlooked area) by renting a storage unit or asking a family member to stow excess items for a few months.  ($0-$50)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Does Your Neighbor's Pool Resemble A Swamp?

Is there a swimming pool in your neighborhood that resembles a swamp?  Is it breeding harmful bacteria, mosquitos, and possible diseases?  If that is the case, notify your local health department.  In Clark County, call Code Enforcement at (702) 455-4191.  They will look into the matter and take the necessary steps to keep your neighborhood safe. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's HOT HOT HOT out there! Hot weather, hot all around!

Heaven help us, it's HOT HOT HOT out there!  Hot weather, hot all around!


Hot weather......   Just a reminder to pay close attention to the signals that your body may be giving you about the temperature outside.  It's important to drink more fluids, wear sunscreen, dress in light weight and light colored clothing, wear a hat and sunglasses....  all the things your parents always told you to do!  Some people are more susceptible to heat-related illness than others, but in particular infants, those over 65, and those with certain conditions such as high blood pressure can succumb to the effects of the higher temperatures very quickly.  Many of you may know that I am a volunteer for the Girl Scouts and have been a leader for many years.  These types of safety tips are exactly what I try to impress upon the adolescents that I work with in order to help them live healthier lives.  There was an unfortunate (and avoidable) incident last week involving one of our local scout troops that went hiking in the Lake Mead area - the troop leader who was chaperoning the hike suffered a heat stroke and passed away before help could reach them.  My heart aches for the children who witnessed this and their families, whose lives will undoubtedly be forever changed.  Please take the proper precautions to protect yourself and those around you from falling victim to our extreme temperature conditions!  We live in the desert, and it's a beautiful place to be as long as we respect Mother Nature and take the precautions necessary to stay safe and healthy.


Hot market....  I'm sure you have all noticed the rising prices in our area!   The low inventory of available homes continues to drive prices upward, which is good news for those interested in selling.  We aren't experiencing the "crazy" market of years past, but it is still the most positive movement that we have seen in a long time.  We can expect higher inventory numbers toward the end of the year that will likely stall the upward pressure on pricing, but I don't think it will be a "flood".  We may have a small spike lasting a few months when various banks initially start releasing more properties for sale in our area, but overall we are going to be looking at a steady influx of properties being placed on the market over a period of years, which will hopefully contribute to stabilizing our real estate market while we finish turning over the remainder of the "bad debt" in this area - after which we should see a normal rate of appreciation again.  That's good news for everyone, buyers and sellers alike!


Please call or email me anytime if you would like more information.   You will notice that included with this letter is information about a free seminar that I am co-hosting with Chase Bank and other real estate related professionals dedicated to educating the public regarding the current market and what options are available for both sellers and buyers.  Please RSVP if you would like to attend, as space is limited to 50 attendees.  If you are unable to attend but would like a copy of the materials that will be provided at the seminar, please let me know.  My office is open 7 days a week for your convenience, and we are looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year

Dear  Friends,


Happy New Year!  I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season!   May all of your New Year's resolutions be a success....


As the New Year begins, many consumers appear to be in a holding pattern, waiting to see how the economy reacts to the different demands both here and abroad. Yet with steadily increasing sales and record-breaking affordability, now is the time to take advantage of these opportunities to buy or sell a home.


If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to sell your home, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Although the traditional home-buying season starts in the Spring, there are some reasons why starting to market your home now, rather than waiting, could prove to be a smart decision:

  • On average, the number of home sales in January drops almost by half from the previous year’s peak.  A house that is priced right and staged well will stand out even more with less competition.
  • Lenders, home inspectors, movers, and other vendors also see a seasonal dip in transactions. This could mean a quicker, easier, and possibly cheaper time to sell and move.

Even if you’re not ready quite yet, now is a great time to start the conversation with me about setting up a personalized marketing plan that will help you achieve your goals.  I can give you pointers on which repairs and preparations to tackle first, and which ones may not be necessary, saving you time and money.  Starting now can help you capture qualified buyers before the busy season.


My office is open 7 days a week for your convenience, and we are standing by to assist you with all of your real estate needs.  Whether you wish to sell, buy, or lease a property, my qualified staff and I will assist you with all of the details.  Please call me to discuss your options - I'm looking forward to hearing from you!