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Tighter (Sellers) market conditions persist!!

Not much has changed since we last posted our analysis late October of 2011.  Over six months have gone by and in fact conditions are now tighter than before. We suspect there will be some consolidation over the summer months as recently more listings have come on the market.  However, it seems that these new listings were "needed" in that consumers of middle class homes had few choices.  Middle class dwellings continue to show tight inventory conditions in the areas studied namely Oakville Milton and Clarkson/Lorne Park areas. The lower the price range the tighter the conditions which doesn't surprise us given the low interest rate environment. Luxury properties (1mm+) continue to underperform the rest of the categories as higher inventory levels exist but even these properties have shown good inventory absorption this spring.  To all the prognosticators calling for a "correction" to the GTA Real Estate, we are going to need one of the variables to change drastically for that to happen any time soon!! 

The table shows months of inventory on offer compared with previous months sales figures. 0-3 months inventory implies a tight sellers market, 3-6 months is considered more neutral, and 6months+ is considered a buyers' market. Feel free to call me to discuss further with no obligation George 905 823 0020

 Months of inventory current (October 2011 in brackets) 

Price Range

Oakville

Milton

Clarkson/Lorne Park

200-399k

1.29(1.45)

0.76(1.29)

1.28 (0.88)

400-499k

1.37(1.79)

1.63(1.29)

2.36(2.40)

500-749k

1.55(2.08)

1.63(3.05)

1.39(4.89)

750-999k

2.09(3.12)

8.5(No sales)

2.50(4.17)

1000-1999k

4.40(5.50)

No sales (No sales)

3.88(7.00)

2000-2999k

7.30(54.0)

No sales (No sales)

10.0 (11.0)

3000k+

13.33(No sales)

No sales (No sales)

26.0 (No sales)

Staging Mistakes


 

You may love your home, but that doesn’t mean that everyone coming through the door will feel the same way. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. Many sellers attempt to stage their home themselves and,in doing so, create mistakes that can actually sidetrack the sale of their homes.

Here are some of the biggest staging mistakesaccording to professional home stagers.

1. Getting too personal: Home staging is meant to create a neutral canvas that will appeal to the majority of buyers. Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a model home look that will appeal to most everyone. This is not the time to bring in your unique style and create a look that appeals to just you.

2. Using dark colors: If painting, you should choose a nice, neutral and warm color, such as beige tones, grey tones, or light blue or pale greens. You’ll be amazed at the transformation a few coats of fresh paint will make on your home.

3. Not taking advantage of natural light: People love natural light, so blocking off any light with heavy curtains or furniture can hurt your sale, especially if the home has attractive views. Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments are one of them.

4. Thinking more is better: Scale down your furniture. The size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it. Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room and to show what will fit where. It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on.

5. Leaving pets at home: You need to remove all traces of animals from the house and make sure Fido or Sunshine is away during showings. Having a pet could kill a sale before someone even steps into a house.

6. Neglecting the outside: People care about the outside space just as much as the inside, so add flowers, make sure the lawn is mowed, the yard is tidy and add a few backyard accessories for the kids.

7. Only dealing with “main” rooms: People are quick to stage living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but don’t forget to spruce up the garage, basement and closets as well.

8. Forgetting fixtures: When staging a home, it’s important to ensure all lights are burning with fresh bulbs, and that all fixtures are working.

Remember, staging a home means showcasing the property’s many features, not concealing its flaws. Make sure your house is in good condition and use staging to cast the home in the best light.

A Deck can make the difference in selling your home!

 

            With spring in the air, the exterior of a home becomes even more important when putting your house on the market because buyers now will spend more time outside looking at your property and envisioning what their summer barbeques and family playtime will look like.

            The addition of any amount of usable real estate to a property increases value. Customized decks and personalized outdoor living areas are a hot trend in home improvement upgrades, and a great-looking deck may entice more people to come see your home.

            Building or updating an existing deck isn’t simply a great investment; it also provides opportunities to personalize your backyard and customize the look to your taste. And with many families staying home this summer to save money, why not think about creating the perfect location for entertaining?

            Deck experts agree that multi-level decks are the most popular now. These are a series of decks connected by stairways or walkways, which are aesthetically pleasing and can be used for different purposes. One level can be used to catch the sun, one level can be positioned for shade and another can be set close to the house for entertaining and barbequing.

            Wood decks have always been the most popular, but caring for them is tough. They will rot over time, are subject to insect infestation and require a great deal of maintenance to keep the wood from fading. Accordingly, people are embracing composite materials for their decks, which cost significantly more but will last longer with less maintenance.

            For those homes that already have a deck, it’s important to make sure that it’s still in good shape and adds to the attractiveness of a property. You can change your deck’s appearance with interesting balusters to match other decorative accents on your house or in your yard and really add unique touches to make the deck a personal haven. Meanwhile, railings offer a good opportunity to pull in color and ornamental detail that complements the house.

            By designing your deck with accents, lights and unique accessories, you can transform your backyard into an outdoor retreat one will never want to leave. Whether you’re catching up with friends over a grilled dinner in the evening or are curled up with a book in a lounge chair on a sunny afternoon, a deck is the perfect place to be.

Lawn Care and Selling your Home

 

 

            Spring is in the air and that means that homebuyers are going to be paying just as much attention to the exterior of a home than the interior. Those shopping for a home want to envision their kids playing in the yard, their friends coming over for barbeques and the lazy Sunday afternoon laying on the lawn.

            While people are inclined to bring in flowers, paint the deck and work on the curb appeal, often the lawn itself is neglected. The positives of a well-maintained grass yard are many and it’s important to get your grass in tip-top shape before showing your home.

            When it comes to growing grass, consistent care is key and failure to invest in long-term turf care can open the window to any number of problems in your lawn.

            It’s also important to give your grass the fertilizing lawn care and control treatments it needs based on the season. Lawn care for growing grass as we enter May has different needs than what is expected in late summer and fall.

            The way you mow your lawn can either make growing grass easier or harder. In the spring, you need to keep the grass high. You never want to remove more than one third of the total blade height when mowing, or you could chop off the food-producing parts of the grass blade and end up with a brown lawn instead of a green one.

            You should also leave grass clippings on the lawn to help recycle important lawn fertilizing nutrients.

            Lawn care experts share that growing green plants is the best thing you can do to clean the air and grass is considered to be better than most other plants or trees at removing carbon and other impurities from the atmosphere. Through the process of photosynthesis, grass takes carbon from the air and stores it in the ground.

            “A grass lawn enriches the soil by providing a home for beneficial micro-organisms and insects that eat nature’s leftovers—decomposing grass clippings, plant leaves and other vegetation—and recycle nutrients back into the soil,” said Michael McDermott, a lawn care expert in Larchmont, N.Y. “It also pollinates plants and serves as food for other animals, making grass an important part of nature’s cycle.”

            An important component of growing grass is to properly water it, and it is better to water deeply (down to a depth of 6 inches) and less frequently, than lightly and more often. If your lawn dulls in color or begins to wilt, then your lawn needs water. Make sure to sweep any fertilizer that lands on driveways and sidewalks back on to the lawn.

            Grass also acts like a natural air conditioner that cools the air as it releases water vapor through its blades. The water evaporates and draws heat, cooling the air in the process. As a result, lawns are a safer surface for children to play on and provide the cool comfort we desire on hot days. Those are selling points that can help any home sale.

Inspect for Code Violations Before you Sell


 

 

Code violations can extend the home-selling process or halt it altogether. Therefore, it’s good business to hire a home inspector before placing your home on the market.

A quality home inspector is well-versed in all local codes dealing with electrical,plumbing, building/structural and more, and can help sellers understand any code violations and the steps and costs necessary to meet codes.

Code violations have a way of popping up in paperwork.When the city records a code violation, a fee is assigned to the property, but because the violations don’t appear as a lien on a title search, it can be difficult to ascertain whether a sanction has been assessed that will delay closing.

According to Code Violation Services Inc., Windsor, Colo.,violations can include the presence of garbage in a yard, maintenance issues, overgrown lawns, non-sanctioned improvements, safety issues or other dangerous items needing repair in a property.

Here are some of the most common inspection problems:

Bedrooms -- All rooms listed as bedrooms must have an operating window with 30 square inches of clearance for fire escape. Bedrooms also must have heat. If a home is listed withthree bedrooms, and one does not meet both these requirements, it cannot be legally called a bedroom.

Furnaces and Compressors -- Rust in the heat exchange is a common problem that shows up on inspections. So is missing insulation where required by code at the time the house was built or improvement or replacement was installed.

Electrical -- Common electrical code violations include junctions not enclosed in a junction box, a lack of GFCI outlets in bathrooms and kitchens or reverse-polarity on outlets. These are inexpensive fixes that can hold up a sale.

Life-saving Equipment -- Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are required by law in most states, and by not having them—or having the proper kind—it will be considered a code violation.

Plumbing -- Violations can include everything from dripping faucets to loose toilets to improper drainage.

Structural -- While these can be more expensive to fix, if they aren’t taken care of properly, they can prolong or even cancel a sale. Common code violations include rotting woodtrim around windows and doors, rotten or delaminating siding and missing flashing on roofs orabove windows and doors.

Extra Rooms -- Many who renovate basements or add sunrooms do so without permits. For the safety of everyone involved, be sure your improvements and additions are backed by the proper permits and resulting inspections.

Don’t hurt your sale because of code violations that can be easily fixed. Get an inspector, make the changes and enjoy the comfort your efforts bring when the closing comes to fruition.

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Working Kitchens Catch the Eye of Aspiring Chefs
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It’s astonishing how many people believe they are the next Mario Batali and have taken to the kitchen in a serious way.

            Ratings for cooking shows are at an all-time high as viewers are enamored with the idea of being culinary masters. Home sellers are upgrading to professional-style kitchens to capitalize on the craze, and their investments are paying off in more potential buyers and attractive returns when their homes sell.

            One of the easiest steps appealing to today’s tastes is adding stainless steel appliances and sinks, as sleek stainless resists scratches and is easy to maintain. Cast iron is another attractive choice for sinks, as they add color and are large enough for the pots and pans most chefs require. Still another popular amenity for the kitchen is pot filler, which serve as extendible faucets and can be installed next to your stovetop or prep sink for easy water access.

Granite and quartz countertops are among the favorites of home chefs, who require proper working space and cool surfaces for rolling out dough. The surfaces attractive, durable and popular. Consider adding moveable cutting boards, rinsing baskets and various trays. These features are not too expensive and will help open the eyes of potential buyers.

            Take advantage of the gourmet explosion with kitchen upgrades that appeal to the home chef. Your effort and investment may yield some tasty results.

 


 

           

Sellers: Leave your Home for showings!


 

Should I stay or should I go when my home is showing?

Gently put, most agents say that when potential homebuyers come to see your home, it’s best that you leave the premises.

Perspective buyers don’t want to see owners hovering or milling about. When they do, they get uncomfortable and feel as if they are intruding. This often causes buyers to look quickly without gaining a proper feel for the home.

The reason sellers give for sticking around is that they believe home shoppers won’t be able to find everything, and the sellers want to point out the important features. Another is thatowners feel they can help “sell” the property by talking about the positives.

Rest assured your real estate agent is well trained in showcasing your home, and inreading buyers and knowing when its best to relay information to them. If you bombard a seller with too much information all at once, you are going to leave a less-favorable impression. Youmight even hurt your cause by calling attention to something buyers aren’t interested in.

Let buyers discover your home’s features themselves at their own pace.

Some sellers choose to wait outside in their car or on the patio, which is better, but still not ideal. Again, if prospective buyers feel like they are being rushed they are going to move on to the next property on their list quickly.

Face it, there are some parts of selling a home that can be challenging and vacating the home is at the top of that list—especially when there are kids to care for, dinners to cook and work to be done.

However, you want buyers to spend as much time as they want in your home, envisioning the possibility of living there someday. So go to a neighbors home, the library or shopping. The inconvenience will be worth it in the long run.

Spring Staging


Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principals remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But that doesn’t each season comes without its own brand of staging magic.

For spring, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throwpillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole housenot just one or two roomsstaged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

The Smell of Success


 

Home sellers do everything they can to make their house look as beautiful as possible, yet appealing to home buyers’ other senses can be just as important --  especially when it comes to the sense of smell.

While you may not think your home has a smell to it, freshening the air and filling the home with sweet aromas can do wonders in making a favorable impression.

Most people know the old trick of baking bread or cookies to entice the noses of those looking around a home. That fresh bread smell is achieved by slicing open a large loaf of bread, dropping in vanilla essence and popping the loaf into the oven at medium heat for half-hour before the showing.

REALTORS® also recommend the smell of cinnamon, French vanilla, butter cream or coffee filling the air to perk up those looking around.

“Scent impacts the atmosphere,” said Michelle Bardwell, an aroma therapist in Dallas, Texas. “You can create a delightful but subtle, aromatic space by using therapeutic grade essential oils.

Bardwell recommends using cardamom essential oil in the kitchen to create a sense of warmth, lavender essential oil for the bedroom to evoke thoughts of relaxation, and acombination of eucalyptus and ravintsara for the bathroom.

“This will give the bathroom a fresh, clean aroma, and simultaneously kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air,” she said. “Put several drops directly on surfaces and wipe down, and you can even put a few drops on the shower floor and in the toilet.

Scented candles are another way to achieve a fragrant aroma in the air, but there’s not always time to let them burn before a home showing. Electrical plug-in products with fragrance and potpourri pots also are effective. 

Of course, pets odors must be addressed and be sure to check for smells coming from your refrigerator and garbage cans.

“You want to send a positive image about every aspect of your home,” Bardwell said. “Kitchen trash does not send a positive message.”

Scents register in our brain and frequently remind us of our own experiences. Createpleasant aromas throughout the house to help the homebuyer make a positive connection and a faster sale.


 

Setting the Stage in Selling Your Home

 

“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

This saying strikes a chord in the real estate industry, where many buyers are quick to jump to a conclusion about a potential home after just one glance. That’s why an increasing number of homeowners are employing professional home stagers to prepare their homes for sale.

“Much of what staging accomplishes happens on a subconscious level,” said Carla Grammatica, a consultant with Stage Setters in New York’s Westchester County. “You are trying to create a positive association between your house and the prospective buyer. Anyone can change a paint color after they move in, but first impressions are difficult to undo.”

With 91% of buyers searching first on the Internet for homes, MLS photos and virtual tours are extremely important in the selection process. Staging, as a priority instead of as a last resort, will give sellers key advantages.

Stagers help eliminate clutter, give advice on adding colors, help in rearranging furniture and bring in various items to help spruce up a home.

“One of the most important things is getting rid of things that look messy,”Grammatica said. “Life can get messy, especially with kids and storage issues, but you have to pretend that’s not how you live. You have to pretend your house is [always] neat and well maintained.”

That means picking up shoes from the hallway, removing papers from tables and furniture and even taking down personal items—such as diplomas, pictures and trophies.

—that clutter the walls.

Professional stagers take into account buyer demographics and buying psychology, and they use design elements in planning out the rooms, space and lighting. “Some people think that staging is simply cleaning and packing up some of your things, but it is so much more than that,” said Linda Barnett, a certified staging professional with Indianapolis–based Home Matters. “Understanding traffic patterns and highlighting the positive attributes of a home while downplaying its negative features, all go into play.”

One tip homeowners can do to stage their home themselves is to pack away unneeded items—such as seasonal clothes and old books—and put them in storage.

It’s also important not to overwhelm potential buyers with wild colors and furniture, even if you think it makes your home “special.”


Vacant Homes
 

 

Today’s housing market makes it tougher to get the price for a home and, often,sellers can’t wait around while their homes are on the market. They may have a new job in a different location, may have already bought their next house or need to move to their new location so the kids can starat their new schools.

If sellers already have a new home, it’s likely that they’ll take all their furniture and leave the property empty during selling process. The U.S. Census Bureau’s most current data shows that more than 2.2 million for-sale houses in the U.S. were vacant in 2008, and that number has risen over the last few years as more homes fell into foreclosure or short-sale status.

Yet it all comes down to perception for buyers, who understand that vacant homescan suffer from a wide variety of ills due to neglect and deferred maintenance. Moreover, vacant houses pose unique challenges for showcasing and selling because many buyerscannot see beyond an empty home. They’re looking to buy a “home, as opposed to a “house, and without furniture, wall art, rugs, lighting and décor, there are few emotional connections. 

Plus, with no furnishing to focus on, a potential buyer will be on the lookout for imperfections, such as floor scratches, nail pops, chipped grout and other imperfections.

The easiest fix for a vacant home is to bring in a home stager, who can give theproperty a comfortable, lived-in look, enabling potential buyers to better visualize how they would use the home.

When a home buyer perceives flaws and can’t see a home’s potential, there will be fewer offers, greater price reductions, more days on the market, higher carrying costs and less profit.  

A vacant home can also hurt your negotiating power. If buyers know that you are already out and most likely paying another mortgage, they will figure you are moremotivated to sell and will likely present a low-ball offer.

By staging a vacant home, you will create a proper vision for the property and achieve a quicker and hopefully more profitable outcome.


The Trouble with Mold


 

The last thing anyone wants to hear when they buy a house is that there’s a mold problem, but these sneaky little spores aren’t always easy to detect.

Mold is a fungus and although some molds are visible and even odorous, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics. Mold flourishes in water-soaked materials (paneling, wallboard, carpet, paint and ceiling tiles), and can survive in almost any damp location.

There have been thousands of disputes over mold between sellers and buyers through the years, so both parties should protect themselves up-front. A wise seller should put a specific mold disclaimer into the real estate sales contract and encourage in the sales contract that the buyer hire and rely upon the buyer’s own independent mold inspection and testing of the home by a certified mold inspector. Conversely, a buyer should ask the seller about mold and hire an inspector who can seek it out.

While it’s not the inspector’s job to look for mold, most home inspectors will mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold. And, because the inspector will poke around in spaces you might not, he or she may see things you wouldn’t. Don’t be shy to ask whether the inspector saw signs of mold or potential mold dangers.

In some states, real estate agents or brokers have a duty to disclose problems they know exist. Appraisers should also notify you of any obvious sign of a mold problem if the value of the property can be affected.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.

Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. 

Mold spores are very easily aerosolized and once they are disturbed, hundreds of thousands of spores can fill the air within a short period of time. Because of this, containment procedures are necessary to prevent contaminating the entire house or building.

Preventing water damage is one of the keys to stopping mold. Many indoor mold problems begin with an aging, weathered, leaky roof that may allow water to enter the home.

If you know your home or property has a water, mold, or other environmental problem, or if you have a reasonable suspicion that there may exist such a problem, you would be wise to remedy the water problem, mold infestation, or environmental threat prior to even offering the property for sale and prior to even listing the property for sale with a REALTOR®.

Remember, if you are house hunting, you should learn how to detect mold in homes, get the seller to disclose mold issues, and negotiate around any mold problems that come to light in the course of the sale.


Lawn Care  


Spring is in the air and that means that homebuyers are going to be paying just as much attention to the exterior of a home than the interior. Those shopping for a home want to envision their kids playing in the yard, their friends coming over for barbeques and the lazy Sunday afternoon laying on the lawn.

While people are inclined to bring in flowers, paint the deck and work on the curb appeal, often the lawn itself is neglected. The positives of a well-maintained grass yard are many and it’s important to get your grass in tip-top shape before showing your home.

When it comes to growing grass, consistent care is key and failure to invest in long-term turf care can open the window to any number of problems in your lawn.

It’s also important to give your grass the fertilizing lawn care and control treatments it needs based on the season. Lawn care for growing grass as we enter May has different needs than what is expected in late summer and fall.

The way you mow your lawn can either make growing grass easier or harder. In the spring, you need to keep the grass high. You never want to remove more than one third of the total blade height when mowing, or you could chop off the food-producing parts of the grass blade and end up with a brown lawn instead of a green one.

You should also leave grass clippings on the lawn to help recycle important lawn fertilizing nutrients.

Lawn care experts share that growing green plants is the best thing you can do to clean the air and grass is considered to be better than most other plants or trees at removing carbon and other impurities from the atmosphere. Through the process of photosynthesis, grass takes carbon from the air and stores it in the ground.

“A grass lawn enriches the soil by providing a home for beneficial micro-organisms and insects that eat nature’s leftovers—decomposing grass clippings, plant leaves and other vegetation—and recycle nutrients back into the soil,” said Michael McDermott, a lawn care expert in Larchmont, N.Y. “It also pollinates plants and servesas food for other animals, making grass an important part of nature’s cycle.”

An important component of growing grass is to properly water it, and it is better to water deeply (down to a depth of 6 inches) and less frequently, than lightly and more often. If your lawn dulls in color or begins to wilt, then your lawn needs water. Make sure to sweep any fertilizer that lands on driveways and sidewalks back on to the lawn.

Grass also acts like a natural air conditioner that cools the air as it releases water vapor through its blades. The water evaporates and draws heat, cooling the air in the process. As a result, lawns are a safer surface for children to play on and provide the cool comfort we desire on hot days. Those are selling points that can help any home sale.


Understanding Home Inspections


 

There’s no denying that purchasing a home is one of the biggest thrills of your life, but it can also quickly become overwhelming. While the home you choose may appear to be the perfect house, hiding underneath the dream could be serious unknown defects that can make your investment a costly one.

Enter the home inspector. A home inspector performs a physical inspection of the structure and systems of your prospective home. This means that while you may love the beauty of the living room’s wood floors, your inspector can tell if the floor will truly last. 

The home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. The inspection will determine not only the condition of the home, but also help foresee any immediate unnecessary additional cost that may go unnoticed by the untrained eye.

Home inspections start at around $200 depending on the size of the home, its age and overall condition. It’s money well spent if you’re serious about that particular property.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.

John Prohaska, owner of J&P Inspections in Des Moines, Iowa, compares a home inspection to getting a physical from your doctor.

“When problems or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation or remedies,” he said. “A home inspection summarizes the condition of a property, points out the need for major repairs and identifies areas that may need attention in the near future.”

The inspection will show the positive and negative aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection, both parties have a much clearer understanding of the value and needs of the property.

Knowing about an issue before closing gives you the upper-hand at the negotiating table. A home in good working order may have been worth $350,000, but if $20,000 of work needs to be done to replace rotted wood or bad plumbing, the price should drop.

Before any sale is complete, you will need an inspection to look over the good, the bad and the ugly of what your new home really offers.

Remember, even if a house needs repairs or has hidden problems, it shouldn’t always be the catalyst for getting out of a sale. No house is perfect and as long as you know ahead of time what needs to be done and can possibly change the purchase price based on the information, the home inspection will give you a great starter list of what needs to be done to really make moving in that much easier.


Home Sellers: Cut to the Chase in Home Repairs and Enhancements


​As more homes come on the market this spring, home sellers must be on their toes to give their homes maximum appeal. Not only should sellers complete the home repairs they know must be made, they should also hire a certified home inspector to thoroughly and impartially evaluate their properties.

If this inspection results in a fix-it list, review the list with your real estate professional to establish necessities and priorities. Depending on your budget and objectives, you may want to repair only items that could cause significant deterioration toyour property, such as a leaky roof. Ideally, the closer you can get your home to “move-in-ready” status, the more likely you are to attract today’s cautious and discerning buyers. 

Among the most common repairs and enhancements yielding immediate buyerappeal include:

Paint inside and outside in neutral colors
Steam clean or replace carpets
Polish or replace hardwood floors
Clean or re-grout kitchen and bathrooms
Replace light fixtures
Change light bulbs throughout and replace wall-switch covers
Repair dripping faucets
Fix sticking doors
Repair broken fencing

Home sellers wanting to do more should consider the findings of Remodeling magazine’s 2010-’11 Cost vs. Value Report, released in December 2010. The survey used input from REALTORS in 80 cities to rank home remodeling projects according to those that bring the greatest cost recovered at sale.

Many of the top projects focus on exterior replacements, as replacements are generally less expensive than other types of projects and they add all-important curb appeal – essential for today’s competitive market or any other.

The Top Five projects in the Cost vs. Value Report include:

No. 1 – Entry door replacement (steel)

No. 2 – Garage door replacement (four-section door, reuse existing motorized opener)

No. 3 – Siding replacement (fiber-cement siding)

No. 4 – Kitchen remodel (minor: new cabinet doors, drawers and hardware, plus new energy-efficient appliances, flooring, counters, sink and faucet)

No. 5  Deck addition (wood)

When the dust clears and projects are complete, be sure that you and your real estate professional document your repairs and enhancements, and share the report with prospective buyers. Walk prospects through the enhancements and include their costs.

A home in good condition demonstrates pride of ownership. Taking the time tomake enhancements helps ensure your home is presented in its best-possible light, primed for sale.