So you are thinking about getting your home appraised…Wait. Maybe it’s a home inspection? Now you are doubting yourself because the difference is tricky! Luckily, One Avenue Inspection is here to guide you through the Arizona real estate process with a short guide to home inspections versus home appraisals. Home appraisers and inspectors each play very important functions in setting the stage for real estate sales. Both generate reports that can be used to prevent the buyer from overpaying, but their roles are far from identical. [Read more…]
The usual home-buyer thinks that the purpose of a home inspection is to find any major structural problems in the home before going through with the purchase. While avoiding draining all of your money in a bad purchase is a crucial reason for a home inspection, it is not the only purpose! There is more value from a home inspection that only savvy home buyers will tap into.
1. Choose the best home inspector
Many home buyers choose a home inspector based only on their realtor’s recommendations. But home professionals say that you should find a home inspector not only through your real estate guide, but also through attorneys, lenders, and appraisers. One Avenue Inspection has relationships with many of these kinds of professionals because our reputation exceeds just the real estate market. It is best not to shop by “price” but by “experience” as many of the best home inspection agencies will not be the cheapest, but their expertise and hard work could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
2. Prepare properly for the inspection
Before the inspection, you should make sure the home is free of clutter and major furniture items so that the home inspector can move through quickly and see all areas of a room without moving things around. You should do your own walk through before the inspector comes so that you notice problem areas or parts of your home you may have questions about. Make sure you visit the home for sale several times in the daylight and in the night time before making an offer. Make sure to check up on the seller’s disclosure statement about the condition of the house for accuracy and thoroughness. As always, the more preparation, the better!
3. Walk through with the inspector
This is a fairly self-explanatory step. However, many home buyers allow their home inspectors to do the inspection by themselves, relying solely on the inspection report after the fact. This is a mistake! Not only can an inspector explain to you what is wrong about your house, but they can also give you great maintenance tips and educate you about your property. At One Avenue Inspection, we schedule a meeting at a time when you are available to accompany one of our home inspection professionals throughout the home. We deliver our written reports the same day as the inspection so you don’t have to waste time!
4. Don’t be blinded by the home itself
One Avenue Inspection has worked with many buyers who are so in love with the home for sale that they become blinded to any problems, minor or major. As a buyer, you must remain alert and logical throughout the entire home buying process! We understand the appeal of cheap real estate or the look of your dream home. Watch out for foreclosed homes as they often have utilities problems and plumbing leaks. Additionally, many homes lack proper insulation and ventilation so you must pay attention to those details as well. With the right home inspection, you can keep a clear, informed mind going into the purchase agreements and be confident that the home is manageable, budget-friendly, and meant for you.
One Avenue Inspection recommends that regardless of the home you are buying (brand new, older, foreclosed, etc.) you maintain a high level of interest and involvement in each step of the home buying process! Always keep a defensive position in order to get the most value out of your purchase and not make a real estate mistake! Give us a call with any home inspection questions. 623.299.2142
Radon is a dangerous, invisible gas that emits alpha radiation, like plutonium or other alpha generating radiation sources. Basically, it is extremely damaging to living cells, especially when exposed directly to it in the home! It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States! While technically there are not ‘safe’ amounts of radon, the EPA recommends taking action if the radon levels are 4pCi/L or lower. Our experience with dangerous radon levels during Phoenix home inspections has been fairly high in Valley homes, but the only way to determine your home’s level of risk is to test for radon.
Choose your method:
Short Term Testing
This is a good method for quick and easy results, ranging from two to ninety days. There are several different radon-testing devices to chose from. There is a passive device and an active device. The passive test contains alpha track detectors, electret ion chambers, and charcoal canisters. In contrast, the active test must be plugged in and works continuously in its detection, usually having to be installed by a professional. We recommend conducting two of these short term tests at the same time for precision and a better representation of the seasonal radon exposure in your home.
Long Term Testing
This is a slightly more accurate account of your home’s radon levels, remaining in your home for more than ninety days. There are alpha track and electret ion chamber detectors. Be sure to contact a professional or contact One Avenue Inspection for recommendations about which test to use given your home’s size and situation.
The difference between the long term and short term tests is the level of year-round accuracy vs. the time it takes to produce results. We recommend several short term tests a year, and maybe a long term test, which can confirm the results of the short term tests. Remember to always conduct a radon test for more than 48 hours, although it is usually a longer period for best results.
It is easy to conduct the radon tests yourself, which can save you quite a bit of money and time dealing with professional radon testers. Be sure to follow all instructions on the kit’s box! Each test’s requirements are different, often including shutting all windows and outside doors for long periods of time. If your test results are between 2 and 4 pCi/L, fix it immediately by calling a radon contractor, or a Phoenix home inspection company, like One Avenue, for advice about who to hire and what steps to take to safeguard your home.
This checklist should help make the process a piece of cake!
Before Conducting a Radon Test:
During a Radon Test:
After a Radon Test:
Not sure where to start a remodel? Begin with the kitchen!
Oh, we have heard it all…the prepaid contractor who skips town, the cracked countertops, the leaky plumbing installation. Remodeling can be a nightmare. Maybe you’re thinking: why fix what isn’t broken? If done carefully, with proper inspections at each step in the process, your kitchen remodel can go smoothly and efficiently. We know for a fact that an updated (and not to mention pretty) kitchen is one of the biggest selling points of any home. Not looking to sell? Doesn’t matter. Pamper yourself a little in 2014. We know you want to get rid of that rattling dishwasher.
You have two options: a small or a large remodel.
Stick to the Necessities
One Avenue understands that budgets are tight this year. Analyze the space to determine what is most important in the room and what needs to be addressed first. Ask yourself questions like, “How important in easy cleanup?” and “Is the size of the room functional enough for a semi-large group?” Here are what One Avenue clients usually invest in first, during small and large remodels.
1. Install new drawer hinges
This is the hidden secret of new and efficient kitchen: fast glide cabinets and drawers. Without tearing out the existing cabinets, you can easily install soft-close drawer hinges, adding nearing invisible value and ease to the room.
2. Recoat the surfaces
This step is fairly self-explanatory (not to mention you can definitely do it yourself and save money without a contractor/painter). Give your cabinets a face-lift and change the entire look of the room. Don’t cut corners here though! Make sure you paint several layers of primer after sanding before you paint or stain the wood. While you’re at it, might as well screw on some updated hardware to complete the room.
If you cannot afford to knock down walls or install another window, fresh lighting is the next best solution for opening up a room. Without hiring an electrician, you can easily install a central fixture and some track lighting around the walls. The DIY Network has some specific lighting solutions that fit with any budget.
Go Big or Go Home
If you have the time, means, and an air-tight plan, why not change the entire room? Including the above recommendations, here are a few places to begin your complete kitchen makeover.
1. Knock down walls
Ask yourself: how many meals do you actually eat in your dining room? If you have the time and the budget, consider opening up the kitchen into the dining room and doubling the size of your kitchen and eating area. In most modern homes, value is found in versatility and convenience, not formality. The removal of a single, non pivotal wall can change the flow of your entire home.
2. New appliances
Try to find energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances. A new stove and kitchen sink can make or break a sale. We are always surprised at how easily a buyer can be persuaded by the shine of new merchandise in the kitchen.
3. Islands: the kitchen necessity
One Avenue firmly believes that every kitchen should come with an island. It’s one layout that will never go out of style. The versatility and usefulness of a kitchen island is endless and anyone who ever spends time in their kitchen (so…everyone) knows how valuable counter space is. Plus, you can install portable islands!
Staying or selling, always have a home inspection done after (or during!) your remodel. Our inspectors are professional and honest. In a world of cheapskate contractors and difficult home projects, take a breath of fresh air with the One Avenue stamp of approval!
Call today with any question or to set up a consultation. 623.299.2142
The Valley is notorious for its beautiful, brand new tract housing complexes. These homes, as you know, have all the glamorous details and facades that young buyers are looking for in a first or second home. However, many buyers become blinded by the appearance and will not take a home inspection as seriously. This is a mistake! Remember that a home’s value is only as good as its insides. One Avenue Inspection is here to make sure your perfect home is solid and functional, before you make a downpayment. According to M.P. McQueen of the Wall Street Journal, about 17% of the new houses built during the 2005 boom had significant structural and design flaws.
Home Inspection Checklist for New Houses
1. No new damage?
Often times when a seller moves their furniture and belongings out of the house, additional damage is inflicted on the walls and surfaces. Make sure to do a meticulous walk-through after the previous owner is out and before signing the final contracts!
2. Everything working?
Any appliances, light fixtures, and faucets that come with the new home should be scrutinized. Walk through the house and yard with a lamp or something requiring electricity and test each outlet. Don’t be afraid to turn on the washing machine and dishwasher to make sure they work. Lastly, remember to get copies of the warranties and owner’s manuals for all appliances from the seller.
3. Unseen cracks?
This might be more difficult to examine by yourself. With the help of an inspector and real estate home expert, you should analyze every inch of the roof, foundation, and pool area for cracks in the structure. Leaky roofs and cracked foundations are the most common serious problems in new homes. Left untouched, these damages could dance to the tune of thousands of dollars of repairs down the road.
Additionally, do not forget to open and close all windows and doors. Check for cracks and poor installation in the windows particularly, otherwise you might have future mold and leakage problems.
“One of the best defenses against buying a defective house is a thorough inspection by a state-licensed building-inspection engineer, experts say” (McQueen WSJ).
As always, One Avenue Inspection is available to walk through your home at any stage of construction or purchase! Give us a call for a quote. 623.299.2142
With the holiday season upon us, we’re sure you are looking for ways to save money here and there. Fortunately, now that environmentally friendly products are becoming more common, they are also much cheaper, and some even pay for themselves. We here at One Avenue want you to enjoy the holiday season without feeling pressure on your wallets.
Here are a few simple home inspection tips for minimizing costs without sacrificing the warmth and joy of the season! [Read more…]
One Avenue Inspection is dedicated to the real estate community in Phoenix, Arizona. We work work closely with real estate agents, property investors, and homeowners. Our video series on the home inspection process is fueled by our passion to revive the Arizona real estate market. We hope you enjoy our latest addition on the heating and cooling process.
A typical home inspection includes a check of a house’s structural and mechanical condition, from the roof to the foundation, as well as tests for the presence of radon gas and the detection of wood-destroying insects. Depending on the seriousness of what the inspection uncovers, the buyer can walk away from the deal (most contracts include an inspection contingency in the event of major flaws) or negotiate with the seller for the necessary repairs.
These are the red flags that should send a buyer back to the negotiating table, according to home improvement expert Tom Kraeutler of The Money Pit.
1. Termites and other live-in pests: The home you’ve fallen in love with may also be adored by the local termite population. The sooner termites are detected, the better. The same goes for other wood-devouring pests like powder-post beetles. Keep in mind that getting rid of the intruders is just the first step. Once the problem has been addressed, have a pest control expert advise you on what needs to be done in order to prevent their return.
2. Drainage issues: Poor drainage can lead to wood rot, wet basements, perennially wet crawlspaces, and major mold growth. Problems are usually caused by missing or damaged gutters, downspouts, or improper grading at ground level. Correcting grading and replacing gutters is a lot less costly than undoing damage caused by the accumulation of moisture.
3. Pervasive mold: Where moisture collects, so grows mold, a threat to human health as well as to a home’s structure. Improper ventilation can be the culprit in smaller, more contained spaces, such as bathrooms. But think twice about buying a property where mold is pervasive — that’s a sign of long-term moisture issues.
4. Faulty foundation: A cracked or crumbling foundation calls for attention and repair, with costs ranging from moderate to astronomically expensive. The topper of foundation expenses is the foundation that needs to be replaced altogether — a possibility if you insist on shopping “historic” properties. Be aware that their beautiful details and old-fashioned charms may come with epic underlying expenses.
6. Worn-out roofing: Enter any sale agreement with an awareness of your own cost tolerance for roof repair versus replacement. The age and type of roofing material will figure into your home inspector’s findings, as well as the price tag of repair or replacement. An older home still sheltered by asbestos roofing material, for example, requires costly disposal processes to prevent release of and exposure to its dangerous contents.
7. Toxic materials: Asbestos may be in a home’s finishes, calling for your consideration of containment and replacement costs. Other expensive finish issues include lead paint and, more recently, Chinese drywall, which found its way into homes built during the boom years of 2004 and 2005. This product’s sulfur off-gassing leads to illness as well as damage to home systems, so you’ll need to have it completely removed and replaced if it’s found in the home that you’re hoping to buy.
8. Outdated wiring: Home inspectors will typically open and inspect the main electrical panel, looking for overloaded circuits, proper grounding and the presence of any trouble spots like aluminum branch circuit wiring, a serious fire hazard.
There is not a home without a flaw, so remember to take a deep breath and to focus on the key elements of the home inspection process.