It's More Important than Ever to Encourage home inspections
Fall is upon us! Time to sip some crisp apple cider, take in the excitement of football Friday nights, and give it our all for the homebuyers and sellers in the markets we serve. What does fall 2022 mean for the housing market nationwide? Will home-selling prices remain high despite a slight rise in inventory and other factors (e.g., higher mortgage rates) that should have tapped the brakes on rising home prices? Like you, the team at A-Pro can only guess where the market is headed.
The truth is, for some time now, sellers have been comfortable testing homebuyers with well-above-market pricing—often finding an eager prospect willing to do whatever is necessary to win the property at any cost. But it appears buyers are becoming more wary of the higher prices in relation to the overall state of the homes being sold.
As one real estate professional noted recently in Forbes, “Buyers are starting to balk at the condition of the homes they're finding in their price range.” This suggests that the seller's market has created a troublesome recipe—higher-priced homes in less-than-ideal condition mixed with buyers willing to forego the home inspection, resulting in a greater likelihood of dissatisfaction down the road. The importance of making sure a home inspection is part of the process, whether as a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection for the seller or an inspection for the buyer, has never been greater.
As always, the team at A-Pro appreciates your efforts in guiding your clients to get an inspection for the benefit of all. We also continue to be dedicated to helping real estate professionals impart to their clients the information they need to make wise decisions about getting an inspection, including the articles found in this latest issue of From the Rafters.
With 2022 beginning to wind down, A-Pro wishes you all the best in the days ahead and the year to come. While market conditions are unpredictable, what we can assure you is that when your clients need a world-class home inspection from a certified inspector, you can trust that the team at A-Pro will deliver high-level service that will reflect well on you. This is our pledge, whether it's fall or any season. Let's make it a great fourth quarter!
All the best,
Greg Mangiaracina President and Founder a-pro home inspection
Four Ways to Get the Most Value from a Home Inspection
As a conscientious real estate professional, you understand the importance of recommending that your clients include a complete inspection as part of the home-buying process. But what happens when they still say “no”? You can take your recommendation a step further by explaining some of the ways they can add value to their experience with a professional home inspection provider. Here are four things to remind your home-buying clients prior to an inspection (or to convince them if they are on the fence about whether to have an inspection or not):
Attend the Inspection: This allows your client to ask questions and receive pertinent information as the inspection is happening. It's a huge opportunity to pick the brain of an expert about the good, bad, and ugly of the house they are interested in purchasing. It's a significant advantage to be able to receive informed answers on the spot: Should I be concerned about this basement wall crack? How old are these windows and when will they need to be replaced? Can you tell what might have caused this ceiling stain? Is this peeling paint a sign of a larger issue? While asking questions is certainly valuable, remind your clients to give the inspector the opportunity to perform his or her job without distraction, so be patient and make inquiries when it's appropriate. Your clients should expect friendly, patient answers—clearly and impartially delivered without confusing jargon. Also, tell your clients they shouldn't hesitate to follow up with the inspector if they have further questions about the inspection report.
Read the Entire Home Inspection Report: It seems like an obvious step, but there are some homebuyers who pay for an inspection and may only skim the home inspection report. Remind them that purchasing a home is a huge investment in money and time; getting a complete picture of the house should be paramount. The report provides a wealth of information about the home, so be sure to tell your clients that it's more than a keepsake—it's a valuable document that can help them negotiate a fair selling price as well as provide a benchmark for the condition of the home at the time of purchase. This can be a major benefit to homeowners who can use the report to monitor systems/defects in the home as the structure ages.
Added Benefits: Not all home inspection providers are the same. Detail to your clients some of the extras that come with a traditional foundation-to-roof inspection, such as A-Pro's free foundation-level survey and the 90-day “If We Don't Report It, We Repair It” guarantee. By recommending providers who offer added benefits and explaining these perks, you may be able to persuade a client to have an inspection rather than skip it.
Establish a Valuable Relationship with a Home Inspector: For many homebuyers, a home inspection jumpstarts a trusted relationship with a home inspector that can span decades. Right off the bat, the inspector can provide other valuable services beyond the traditional inspection, including radon, mold, lead paint, and asbestos testing; wood-destroying insect inspections; video inspections of the main sewer line; swimming pool inspections; and others. Plus, the next time your client is in the market for a home and needs an inspection or if they're building a home and want a New Construction Phase Inspection, finding the right person to handle the job will be easy.
Real Estate Question Corner
Are there any advantages to having a home inspection in the fall?
A-Pro performs home inspections throughout the year, from the hottest day in the middle of August to the coldest day in the depths of winter with few changes in what is delivered to the client. Of course, some conditions may make it difficult to perform parts of the inspection, such as ice on a roof or deep snow around the perimeter of a home. Low temperatures (below 60 degrees F outside) will restrict the operation of the a/c unit or heat pump since this will risk damaging equipment. While this may affect a fall inspection on a particularly chilly day, the inspector will still be able to perform a visual inspection of the A/C system, checking for physical damage and installation issues. On the positive side, it's no secret that cooler temperatures are more conducive for an inspector to check a home's heating system.
One of the possible advantages to a fall inspection—in certain regions of the U.S.—is the ability to better detect drafty windows and doors. In addition to checking windows and doors for gaps between the frame and siding/brick or wall, damaged glazing, framing rot, and failed weather-stripping or decaying caulk that may be letting in cold air and allowing treated air to escape, the inspector often finds that cooler temperatures provide another level of evidence that windows and doors are not as energy-efficient as they could be. Drafts near windows and doors will be noted in the report, along with drafty conditions in other vulnerable areas if possible (around attic hatches, vents, crawlspaces, et. al.).
Additionally, extra services like infrared thermal imaging inspections can also be performed in the fall (or any season) to detect air leaks that could cost the homeowner in higher heating bills.
Let Your Clients Know What They Might Be Missing: Exterior home inspection checklist
One of the best ways to convince your clients to get a home inspection is to remind them of just how many systems/components are evaluated by a professional inspector who is trained to spot safety concerns and defects that could cost many thousands of dollars. Even the handiest homebuyers who feel they can do the inspection without any help are liable to miss defects that a trained inspector would point out in the report. As we've learned over 27 years of performing inspections, a large number of consumers are simply unaware of the scope of a home inspection. For this issue of From the Rafters, we've put together a quick checklist of just some of the problems A-Pro home inspectors routinely discover during the exterior portion of an inspection:
- Foundation: Bulging and leaning walls, exterior wall cracks, and pooling water
- Retaining Walls: Rotting, cracked, and loose materials; poor drainage; walls bulging or leaning away from a hillside
- Decks: Rotting wood, cracked framing members, missing or loose guardrails, failing ledger board, missing and broken steps, and inadequate handrails
- Porches: Sagging roof, decaying floorboards, bowing porch columns, rotting piers, masonry piers with cracked mortar joints, broken or crumbling front steps, and loose or missing railings
- Patios: Sunken slabs that direct water toward the foundation, uneven surface area, and patio covers pulling away from the house
- Gutters and Downspouts: Sagging and separation from the roof, insufficient gutter slope, standing water in the gutter channel, leaves and debris blocking flow, missing or disconnected pieces, cracks and holes, and misdirected downspout termination
- Grade: Negative grade that directs water toward the foundation rather than away from it
- Windows: Exterior gaps that allow water and air penetration, wood rot, damaged weather-stripping, lack of window flashing, cracked glass, and condensation between double panes (stuck windows and other issues may be noted during the interior portion of the inspection)
- Doors: Poor sealing; out of alignment; damage to wood, hardware, and glass
- Driveways: Crumbling pavement, cracks that present a tripping hazard, and negative grade that directs rainwater toward the foundation
- Detached Garages: Damaged and/or non-functional garage door, broken auto-reverse function, deteriorating walls, sagging roof, roof leaks, floor cracks, and drainage issues
- Exterior Cladding: Missing and loose panels, warped siding, installation defects, wood rot, evidence of moisture penetration, mold, and loose or deteriorated brick or stone
- Roof: Missing or loose pieces, shingle degradation, amateurish repairs, gaps around roof penetrations, rotting soffit and fascia, sagging, and evidence of water penetration and leaks
- Chimney: Degradation of masonry, crumbling mortar joints, structure pulling away from the home, missing chimney cap, and missing or incorrectly installed flashing
- Vegetation: Overhanging tree branches that pose a threat to the structure, ivy climbing up walls, trees interfering with the service drop, moss on the roof, roots pushing up the driveway and walkway, bushes and other plantings too close to siding, roots clogging the main sewer line (revealed during an added sewer scope inspection)
Just for fun, here are a few fall factoids you can impart to potential buyers at your next open house.
- Halloween has become BIG business. How monstrous is the holiday in terms of dollars? Consumers in 2021 spent more than $10.14 billion on Halloween stuff—a record amount that is expected to be eclipsed this year. According to Investopedia, 2022 Halloween spending will reach $10.6 billion. This is broken down into $3.6 billion spent on costumes, $3.1 billion for candy, $3.4 billion for decorations, and $0.6 billion for greeting cards. While that's a staggering amount, it pales to how much Americans spent on Christmas in 2021—a staggering $886.7 billion.
- If you're planning on having a few jack-o' lanterns on your porch this year, consider this: The largest display of lit jack-o' lanterns, according to Guinness World Records, occurred in 2013 in the city of Keene, New Hampshire, where 30,581 of the carved and illuminated pumpkins were on display.
- Both the words “fall” and “autumn” originated in England. Autumn, from the Latin Autumnus, was used in England as far back as the 1300s. Before that, the season of pirate costumes and pumpkin spice was known as “harvest.” The use of “fall” appeared about 300 years later. Today, fall is the preferred name in North America, while autumn is the choice for British English.