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.

Each area of your home will get some special attention from the home inspector. So, for the next few weeks, we’re going to focus on one individual area of the home, helping you ensure that it is ready for inspection. This week, we’ll talk about what you can expect when your kitchen is inspected.

The two major categories of inspection in your kitchen include plumbing and appliances, since most of your major appliances are located there.

In terms of plumbing, you can expect the inspector to check for leaks, and to ensure that the faucet and spray wand work properly. He will also check your p-trap for proper installation and ensure that the drain runs free and downhill. Be certain to clean out or reorganize the cabinet under the kitchen sink to ensure he has easy access.

• The inspector will likely run your dishwasher, to ensure that it works properly and does not leak. He will also check that the dishwasher is properly secured into the cabinet and that the drain is properly installed.

• Your stovetop and oven will be inspected and turned on, to ensure that they work properly. Be sure there is nothing stored in your oven and no flammable material near your stovetop. The inspector will ensure that the oven door has a secure handle and that it closes properly. If you have a freestanding stove, he will check for an anti-tip bracket.

• Your stove hood will also be checked to ensure that it is properly secured to the cabinet, to ensure that it works properly and that the vent to the outside is properly sealed.

• When it comes to your microwave, the inspection is pretty simple. He will ensure that it works, and that the lights work. If the microwave is located under an upper cabinet, he may also check that it is secured properly to the cabinet.

• Your refrigerator will be checked to ensure that it works properly. If you have an icemaker/water feature, these will be checked for leaks, too.

• You can also expect your garbage disposal to be checked to ensure that it is operational, and that there is no exposed Romex wiring it.

• Finally, your electrical outlets will be tested and the inspector will look for any unsafe wiring in the kitchen.

If you have other large appliances in your kitchen, like a wine refrigerator, you can expect these to be inspected, as well. The inspector is simply trying to ensure that everything works properly, and is safe to operate.

Next week, we’ll talk about ensuring that your bathrooms can pass 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.

One of the most important steps you’ll take as a homebuyer is having a potential purchase inspected. Usually, a home inspection is performed after you have a contract with the seller. Once a price has been agreed to and the contract executed, the period known as “due diligence” begins. The length of the due diligence period varies from state to state, but is often around two weeks. During the due diligence period, you must apply for a loan and you have the right to have the home inspected.

It’s important to adhere to your due diligence period. If you complete the home inspection during the period, you can void the contract if a problem is found that you find unacceptable.

Your home inspector will look for structural and electrical problems, as well as inspect all the major systems in the home, such as heating and air conditioning. Then the inspector will prepare a report for you detailing all the problems. Customarily, you and your realtor will then prepare an addendum to the contract asking the seller to repair problems found during the inspection. The seller is not required to fix such items, but you will have the option to back out of the contract if the seller refuses.

In some cases, your home inspector may find such a major problem that you don’t even want to ask the seller to repair the home. In this case, you may opt out of your contract.

Getting a home inspection is critical to ensuring that you know what you’re getting into as a homebuyer. Many serious problems may not be visible to you as you’re touring a home. And, remembering to have that inspection performed during the due diligence period is just as important as the inspection itself.

A kitchen garbage disposal is a cook’s best friend. Using the garbage disposal is a great way to reduce trash and odors at the same time. But, when garbage disposals aren’t used properly, they can cause problems. They can wreak even more havoc for homeowners who have septic systems rather than traditional sewers. Here are a few tips for ensuring that you’re using your garbage disposal properly.

1. Be careful of the switch. Garbage disposals can be very dangerous if an unlucky hand happens to be inside when the switch gets flipped. If you’re building a new home, isolate the switch from other switches in the kitchen. Placing the switch in the cabinet under the sink is a great idea. But, if you’re stuck with a switch that’s already in place, label it.
2. Keep it sweet smelling. You can purchase tablets that clean up odors in your garbage disposal. However, grinding up your citrus peels works just as well. If it gets really stinky, pour a little bleach down there.
3. Don’t use it like a trash can. This is especially important if you have a septic system. Avoid very fibrous materials like artichokes, potato peelings and cornhusks. Do not put grease or fat down your disposal, as it is very hard for the septic system to break down.
4. Don’t use hot water. When you run your garbage disposal, only use cold water.
5. Grind a bone every now and then. While it’s not a good idea to put all your bones down the garbage disposal (especially if you have a septic system), a few bones every now and then can actually scrub the blades, keeping the disposal clean.
Garbage disposals are very handy. Just be sure you take care of yours so that it doesn’t become more trouble than it’s worth.