Many people don’t expect their garage to be inspected during a routine home inspection, but, in most cases, you can expect the home inspector to pay a visit to your garage. Here are the items you can expect him to take a look at during his visit.

Your garage doors are certain to be on the list of home inspection items. He will ensure that the doors are in good working order and that the can be expected to operate safely. The cross bracing and weather stripping will be checked, too.

The inspector will also check the door between the garage and your home. He will ensure that the door latches and that no doggie door is installed, since this is a carbon monoxide hazard.

The inspector will also be concerned with electrical items and with moisture issues. He will check for proper GFCI outlets and to ensure there is no exposed electrical wiring. If your circuit breaker box is located in your garage, be sure he has easy access to it and that the door opens easily.

Finally, the home inspector will check your garage for leaks, noting stains on the ceilings and large floor cracks. He will also look for evidence of moisture in the garage, like rotting wood and stains.

The biggest impediment the inspector usually faces in inspecting a garage is clutter. Be sure to clear clutter out of the way before the inspector comes. If you have attic access through your garage ceiling, be sure he is able to access this space.

Next week, we’ll begin talking about other items and areas in your home that will be examined during your home inspection and questions that homeowners have.

When you’re preparing your home for an inspection, you might not immediately think of the laundry room as an area that needs preparation. However, the inspector will be planning to make an important stop in this area, especially if your prospective buyer is getting your washer and dryer along with the house.

The inspector will be primarily looking at plumbing and electrical issues in your laundry room. He will ensure that there is no exposed electrical wiring and that GFCI works properly. He will also inspect the dryer vent to ensure that it is in good condition and vents properly to the outside.

From a plumbing perspective, the inspector will ensure that there are no leaks, that drains work properly and that there is a working hot water shutoff valve. If the prospective buyer is purchasing your washer and dryer with the house, he may also ensure that both are in good working order.

If you have a laundry sink in your laundry room, you can expect the same faucet and drain inspections as performed in your kitchen and bath.

Finally, if you have a gas dryer, the inspector will ensure that there is a properly working shutoff valve. If there is a gas line that is not being used, it should be capped.

Ensure that the laundry area is clutter free on inspection day, and that the inspector can get behind the washer and dryer to inspect water hoses and dryer vents.

Next week, we’ll talk about ensuring that your garage is ready for inspection.

When it comes to inspecting your bathroom, you may have already guessed that the home inspection or condo inspection will mostly be concerned with plumbing. There are several things the inspector will be looking for related to your bathrooms’ plumbing, as well as some other items.

One issue your inspector will take a look at is water pressure. The inspector will likely flush the toilet while the shower and sink faucet are running to ensure that water pressure remains consistent.

Another important item the inspector will check for is water leaks. Bathroom water leaks can often be found around faucets and toilets, as well as under the bathroom sinks and around showerheads. The inspector will also be looking for past leaks that might have caused water damage under bathroom cabinets and around the toilet.

The next areas that the home inspection will be concerned with are proper seals around all of your bathroom fixtures. These include grout around your sinks, shower and tub, as well as the wax ring that holds your toilet into place. He will also check grout in shower tiles, if applicable.

Finally, your inspector will be checking for some other common safety problems, like properly working GFCI protection, tempered glass in showers and basic electrical safety. Bathroom fans and vents will be checked to ensure they vent properly to the outside.

In order to be prepared for a home inspection, it’s a good idea to ensure that the inspector can access the area under the sinks, as well as the shower and the tub. In addition, you should be prepared for him to have good access to all areas of the bathroom for checking for leaks and moisture damage. Next week, we’ll talk about ensuring that your laundry room is ready for inspection.

Once you’ve obtained a contract on your home or condo, you have to be ready for your prospective buyer to schedule an inspection. The inspector will need access to many areas of your home, so it’s a good idea to prepare for his visit in advance.

There are many areas of your home that you don’t access on a regular basis that the inspector will want to visit. You’ll make the inspection faster and smoother by having these areas cleared and ready for the inspector’s visit.

The primary areas you’ll want to clear include

1. Under your kitchen sink. This is especially important if you have a garbage disposal, as the inspector will want to check it out. In fact, you should make the area under all your sinks accessible, so that the inspector can look at all the pipes, if he desires.
2. Around your hot water heater. The hot water heater will definitely be inspected, so make sure the inspector has access. Specifically, he will need to get to the firebox and the nameplate that identifies the year of the hot water heater.
3. Attic and crawlspace. These areas are often used for storage and rarely accessed by homeowners, but the inspector will want to crawl around in there, so make sure there’s a clear path.
4. The furnace and air conditioner. These two units are definitely going to be a big part of the inspection, so make sure he can get to them easily.
5. The electrical panel. The inspector will ensure that the electrical system in your home is not overloaded and is overall up to code. He will need to access your main electrical panel in order to determine this. Be sure that the door can be opened, and, preferably that all breakers are labeled.
6. Large appliances. Large appliances are inspected to ensure they are in working order, assuming they are included in the sale of the home. Be sure that all appliances you’re leaving for the buyer are accessible for the inspector. In the laundry room, make sure he can get behind the washer and dryer, as he will be inspecting for leaks.
7. Storage areas and locked areas. Even if you think there’s nothing in these areas the inspector could possibly want to see, make sure there is access, so that in case he wants to inspect, it’s not a big hassle.

Making life easy on your inspector will ultimately make your inspection faster and hopefully will help to increase his confidence that your home is well cared for an in good working order for your buyer.

Congratulations! You’ve got a signed contract to sell your home. The due diligence period has begun and your buyer has hired a home inspector. With the inspection scheduled, you’re starting to wonder if you should be worried.

You might know that you should be worried, because something isn’t working right or because, for example, you know you need a new roof. It’s not a good idea to simply hope that the inspector won’t notice.

A good inspector will find everything you’re worried about, and possibly some things you didn’t even know about. Dreading the inspection is not the answer; fixing what you can is a much better tactic.

Some buyers, especially first time home buyers, can get really scared when they see a long laundry list of items from an inspector. They may even get so scared that they back out of the contract without even asking you to fix the problems first. So, if you know of a problem, it’s a good idea to go ahead and fix it before the inspection. You’ll probably have to fix it anyway to keep your buyers and by fixing it before an inspector finds it, you’ll save some drama.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you some more specific tips on how to get ready for your upcoming inspection by properly preparing your home to make it easier for the inspector. So, until then, get cracking on all those things that you know are about to come back to haunt you!

When you’re preparing to sell your condo, you should be prepared for buyer’s to ask about the financial health of your condo association. Homeowners in a condo association should be paying enough each month in dues to cover all regular monthly expense items as well as to put some money aside as a reserve for emergencies and for larger maintenance and repair items that may surface.

When maintenance or repair is needed and there is not enough money in the reserve to cover this expense, condo owners are faced with one or more assessments to cover the cost. These assessments are extra payments above and beyond normal monthly dues.

Prospective buyers will want to know about recent assessments, regular assessments and any assessments you know about that are coming up. And, according to real estate disclosure laws, you must disclose any assessments coming up that you are aware of.

When your condo association’s finances are questionable, it can definitely deter prospective buyers, as they may fear that owning the condo will cost them way more than the monthly homeowner’s dues suggest.

If you’re considering putting your condo on the market in the next year or so, you might want to talk to your condo association’s management about having a “reserve study” completed, if one has not been completed in the last five years. Reserve studies are completed by professional companies that come in and assess the condition of the building and the repairs/maintenance that are likely to be needed over the next five year period. They can also estimate the costs of these repairs so that the homeowners association can assess whether an increase in monthly dues is necessary now in order to prevent a large assessment on the community in the future. These studies give current residents and future buyers a lot of peace of mind.

Getting your condo ready to sell involves many steps. Don’t forget this important step for determining the financial health of your condo association – before a prospective buyer questions you.

When you’re trying to sell a home, it’s important to be prepared for all the obstacles that could come your way during the selling process. One of the most important parts of the home selling process to be prepared for is the inspection. Being unprepared for this step could leave you with a potential sale that falls through, or potential large expenses.

Once you’ve agreed to a price on the sale of your home, the prospective buyer has a due diligence period, usually of 10-14 days. During this period the buyer has the right to have the home inspected by an inspector of their choosing. This inspector is paid by the buyer to locate any problems or potential problems with the home’s main systems. During your buyer’s inspection, you can expect their inspector to look at:

• Heating and air conditioning systems
• Roof condition
• Electrical Condition
• Structural condition
• Proper sealing of the home from pests and moisture
• Mold potential
• Operation of major appliances

In other words, you should expect your buyers to be looking for any problem imaginable with your home. Their inspector will prepare a report for them with a list of concerns. The buyers will bring the inspector’s concerns to you and expect you to fix the problems. Or, the buyer may simply get scared and run away from the sale entirely, if they think the house has too many problems.

Be Proactive

The best way to avoid an inspection crisis is to take care of your home’s problems before you ever have an offer on the home. If necessary, hire an inspector yourself, so that you can anticipate problems that other home inspectors might find. This allows you to fix problems now that could cost you the sale later. In addition, you may be able to save some money by making some of the repairs yourself. If you wait until a buyer points out the problems, you may be too time constrained to fix everything yourself.

An inspection of your home needn’t be a scary proposition, as long as you know ahead of time exactly what an inspector is likely to find.

The real estate market is saturated with homes for sale, many of them at very low or foreclosure prices. This means that the market continues to be one that is perfect for buyers.

In spite of this, you may still come across a home that appears to be overpriced. When this happens, there are three things you need to consider before you simply walk away.

1. The homeowner (and their realtor) has not kept up with the comparable sales in the market. In some areas, prices have fallen very quickly and sellers may not realize their home is overpriced.
2. The homeowner is under water on their mortgage. Many homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. They may just be trying to get out of the home for what they owe.
3. The home has features that are hard to find. When a home has features that are very unique, the home may be worth more than others in its area. This doesn’t mean that the features are important to you, but they help justify the price.

If the home you’re looking at is over priced for one of these reasons, you may still be able to get a good deal, especially if the home has sat on the market for a while.

Start by looking at recent area sales. If comps for the area are more than you’re willing to pay, then this home, which is priced higher, is definitely not for you. But, if the recent sales in the area fall into your price range, you may be able to negotiate a good deal on an overpriced home.