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January is Radon Awareness Month!

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is in every home in some capacity. According to the EPA, radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer. Keeping radon levels in homes low is incredibly important, but most homes do not have a radon reduction system, and few home owners are aware of this problem. The EPA recommends periodic testing even in homes that have radon reduction systems. Along with residential and commercial inspections, Pro Spex offers Radon testing.

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How to Avoid "You told me to hire them"...

Whether new construction, or a historic gem, the home buying process can be an emotionally charged life event. Having a home professionally inspected can provide peace of mind to excited buyers. Ideally, a dedicated and experienced agent or realtor can guide clients through the inspection with minimal obstacles, but ever so often, there are issues that arise.

The client/agent/inspector relationship can be maintained by providing comprehensive information and realistic expectations when it comes to what to look for in an inspector, the scope of the inspection process, and potential solutions for lingering questions.

When clients want to hold an agent responsible for the inspector they hired, its usually an issue of trust. Agents can technically recommend a specific home inspector but we advise against it. States such as Massachusetts even prohibit agents from recommending an inspector. To help ensure impartiality, agents provide their clients a list of options from the Board of Home Inspectors. As a result, inspectors have no stake in agents’ financial interests such as commissions.

How to help the client avoid issues with the inspectors

1. Get the Client involved early in finding an inspector.
Its is Very important at this stage to ensure to ensure that the client knows the decision to hire an inspector is entirely theirs and that your role is to advise. the sooner the client starts the search the better. impress upon the client the need to ask A lot of questions, check referrals or references review contracts and check out sample reports. a client that does this level of due diligence it is highly unlikely to come back and point fingers at the agent if something goes wrong.

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Newly Built Home Inspections...

Imagine, your client just fell in love with a new construction, four-story townhouse. Its ultra-modern look is what convinced them to make an offer. The area is lively and the neighbors have only great things to say about the community. The listing/seller’s agent informs you that there will likely be a bidding war and insists that your client make the absolute best offer possible to secure the unit. The listing agent asks if your client is willing to forego a home inspection. What should you do? It is new construction and other units appear to be in perfect condition. On the other hand, what if something goes wrong after your client closes?

A new home should be free of defects right? Ideally, yes but as a realtor, you likely know this is not always the case. An ultra modern townhome may appear shiny and perfect but looks can be deceiving. In fact, common issues that arise for new homes involve plumbing, loose flooring, sticky windows, and even framing issues. These things may not be immediately visible, especially if they are not expected to be a problem. However, they can potentially be covered under a new home warranty (typically one year in duration), but they must be discovered in time.

Example: DelRay Beach HOA Sues Builder

If you are ever asked by a listing agent or your client whether skipping a home inspection is advised, think of the potential consequences. When construction goes wrong, homeowners can get caught up in contentious legal battles. Some builders are responsible for the construction of hundreds of homes meaning it is quite possible that things may be overlooked or improperly finished.

To illustrate, consider the case of Seven Bridges Homeowners Association and their suit against luxury home builder, GL Homes. The builder completed construction of 701 single-family homes, in 2019. It was just one more addition to their excellent reputation and impressive portfolio of builds. Does this mean they are immune from making costly mistakes? Absolutely not. Some of the issues addressed in the HOA’s complaint include: damaged stucco, exposed wiring, and water intrusion. Thus, no matter how large, reputable, and experienced the builder is, an inspection is appropriate.

Why New Home Inspections are critical - Save money and hassles.

If a new home is under warranty, homebuyers benefit in key ways:

● Save the expense of future repairs. For example, a roof leak will typically be covered by the builder. Considering that roof repairs can range from $400 - $7,000 depending on the mitigation needs, this is something a buyer will want covered by warranty.

● Consider your client’s health. The same issues that plague older homes can affect new ones as well. Mold for example, can present itself no matter how old the home is or where it is located. Other considerations include proper natural gas connections as well sealed barriers to block insect and rodent infestation.

● Protect the investment. Help keep your client’s resale value in tact. Homes with a laundry list of unresolved or major issues can potentially affect negotiations when it comes time to sell the home.

The earlier an inspector gets involved with the homebuilding process, the better. Ideally, it is recommended to have a newly built home inspected three times. The initial inspection should be the foundation inspection, followed by the Pre-drywall inspection to help ensure the framing, electrical, plumbing, etc, is properly framed. The subsequent inspection should occur upon completion of the home to evaluate all systems are functioning properly.

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Top 5 Myths about Home Inspectors...

According to Forbes Home, 40% of homeowners of a OnePoll survey reported skipping the inspection process because of pressure to obtain a lower home buying price. In addition, housing shortages and a sellers’ market, means buyers are trying to find ways to stay competitive. With this arises myths about home inspections. Is it a necessary cost? Will it kill the deal? Who do they actually work for? Addressing common myths about home inspections will help your clients make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing a property.

Myth 1. Home inspections are deal killers
A comprehensive home inspection provides buyers with the necessary information to have an informed discussion with their agent before making a final decision. Without sound information in a format they understand, clients cannot be expected to make a well informed decision.

Every agent wants their client to make a decision that is their best interest. A well executed home inspection and report should aid that process.

Myth 2. They work with/for Agents
Unlike Appraisers who are paid by the customer but work for the banks, home inspectors work exclusively for the home buyer in most cases, at times (rarely) they may be hired by the seller. The agents roles are to ensure that the home is ready for inspection before the inspector arrives. Some inspectors may prefer to have the client with them as they inspect, others prefer to have the client attend close to the end. This is a discussion the client should have when choosing an inspector. At times that agent may shadow the inspector as the observations are being made in order to get a clear understanding. In many states, to avoid a conflict of interest, agents are required to provide at least 3 names if asked for an inspector recommendation.

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Benefits of well Written Report...

When searching for an inspector, few ask to see a copy of the report before making decision. Many focus on price or simply rely on what someone told them. Real estate transaction benefit when information is provided in a format that is both easy to understand, and prepared in such a way that the reader can get a clear sense of significance of each issue in order to have an informed discussion with all parties.

Benefits of a well written home inspection report.

Reduces Home Buyer Anxiety:
Every well written home inspection report takes into consideration the context within which the subject property exists. that context could be the time of construction, the conditions at time of inspection, or the location. By understanding the context the report can be read and understood clearly, placing emphasis where it should be. The report is written for the customer, not for the inspector to show how much they know. We strongly recommend customer review sample reports before selecting an inspector to see how well they interpret it.

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New Construction? How to Prepare the Home Buyer

Set Expectations - Old vs New:

Buyers of newly built homes often have higher expectations than buyers of resale homes, and rightly so. Those expectations however, may not align with the type of service being provided by the Home Inspector. Depending on the company, the Home Inspector may restrict all of his inspection comments to only those that he or she believes are faulty practices or code violations. There are some companies that go a step further, and will indicate areas of concern that aren't necessarily due to code violations. For example, if a door rubs on its frame when it's closing, this door would need to be adjusted. This is not a code violation, and for all intent and purposes, does not prevent the buyer from utilizing the home in any way. Some companies will note this in their report, while others may not.

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