Foundation Problems When Selling Long Island Homes

Selling Long Island homes isn’t cut and dry these days. With fewer numbers of homes on the market, buyers are easily scared off if they encounter problems that may negatively impact resale value. Among the many negative issues that need to be addressed in order to make a house more marketable in the future are foundation problems. They rank near the top of the list.

If you’re among those “very few” currently selling Long Island homes right now, you should have already made sure that the property is competitive with similar properties in the area. A little dampness in the basement or a small drywall crack are flaws that a potential buyer may be willing to overlook, but a cracked or bowed foundation wall will be a major red flag. Since the sale of most Long Island homes are contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, foundation problems are very likely to stop a home sale dead in its tracks.

Some Foundation Problems Are Obvious

When selling Long Island homes, foundation problems should be addressed before the home even goes on the market.Some foundation problems are obvious. Long Island homes with cracks, leaning chimneys and bowing basement walls, for example. But there are other symptoms that may signal a settling or shifting foundation. Windows or doors can be racked by a shifting foundation and become difficult to open and close. Drywall cracks that extend from the corners of windows and doors are another telltale sign.

As surprising as it seems, newer Long Island homes may be just as likely to have foundation problems as older ones.

Home Improvements vs. Home Repairs

In today’s economy, it’s understandable for homeowners to put off home improvements until they feel more financially secure. But it’s important to make a distinction between basic “feel-good” improvements (like painting a room or installing shelving) and repairs that correct safety issues or prevent a problem from getting worse. Fixing damaged foundations in Long Island homes definitely falls into the “must-do” category.

It’s risky to put off fixing a damaged foundation. If a crack starts to enlarge or a wall starts to buckle, you’re seeing a failure that is probably going to get worse. The longer you wait, the more extensive the problem becomes and the more expensive the repair is going to be.

Specialty Contractors For Foundation Problems

The good news about foundation problems is that most of them can be corrected, as long as the contractor has the training, tools and materials to do so. Many local remodeling contractors only temporarily fix cosmetic problems, but are unable to permanently solve the problem. Do your homework if you have serious foundation problems and be sure to hire an expert who is trained in doing the job right.

For more information on Long Island NY home inspection articles, visit our Long Island NY Home Inspection Category under our Long Island NY Real Estate Categories to the right.

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Long Island Home Inspection Critical When Buying Real Estate

Go along when your Long Island home inspection is being done to learn more about the houseYou found the perfect Long Island home, your offer was accepted by the seller, and now it is Long Island home inspection time!

Home inspections are very important during the home buying process. Your certified home inspector is quite skilled at discovering underlying problems with a structure.

If at all possible, make sure you are present with the inspector when he or she is going over the house. Inspectors are great at explaining all of the little features of the house, especially when it comes to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Learn Where Things Are During Your Long Island Home Inspection

In addition to any problems your inspector may discover, he or she will also be able to show you where your water shut off valves are located. Knowing where your shut off valves are located is extremely important in case one of your plumbing fixtures, or pipes, suddenly sprouts a leak. For example, if your dishwasher ever decides to start flooding your floor you will know exactly where to go, and what to do, to turn the water off and minimize the water damage.

If your inspector does find a problem with the home you are buying, they usually have several ideas on how to correct the situation. If there are only a few problems and they are relatively minor, you may elect to correct the problems yourself after you move in. If your inspector finds a major problem, you may need to discuss this at length with your real estate agent. Regardless of whether any items are minor or major, your home inspector will give you a detailed report of all of the problems, and potential problems, they discovered during the home inspection process.

What Happens After Your Long Island Home Inspection

A major problem with the home is usually addressed in a repair addendum. The repair addendum is simply a list of defects that were discovered during the inspection process. The addendum is written up by the buyers’ real estate agent and signed by the buyer. The repair addendum is then delivered to the seller’s real estate agent who delivers and discusses the addendum with the seller.

At this point, the buyer waits for a brief time, usually a day or two, while the seller considers whether to make the requested repairs, refuse to make the requested repairs, or offer money off of the price of the Long Island NY home, if the buyer will accept the house as it is. In most cases you can come to some type of arrangement with the seller regarding any problems you discovered in the house.

Occasionally, there is some sort of problem with the house that seems overwhelming to both the buyer and the seller.  If no mutually agreeable compromise can be reached, the buyer usually has the option of walking away from the house and ending the contract of sale. Hopefully, this does not happen to you.

Buying a Long Island house is an exciting adventure and a huge financial investment. Unless there is some underlying circumstance that prevents it, always get a home inspection of any improved real estate you are considering buying. The price of a home inspection is miniscule when compared to the price of a new roof, or some other major home repair. Do yourself a favor, don’t skip the home inspection.

For more Long Island home inspection tips, visit the Long Island home inspection section of our website to your right. And be sure to Find us on Facebook, and Follow Us on Twitter.

Avoid Nightmares, Get a Long Island NY Home Inspection

Take our advice: If you want to avoid nightmares and unknown problems, get a Long Island NY home inspection before you buy any home.

Boa constrictor found during a Long Island NY home inspectionFrom the 15-foot boa constrictor holed up in the wall, to a house ready to collapse in a stiff wind, to electrical wiring that bursts into flames at the flip of a switch, Long Island NY home inspections have turned up about everything. And those horror stories could be yours if you don’t have the home you’re considering inspected before you buy.

Getting A Long Island NY Home Inspection Could Save You Thousands!

While some buyers might balk because of the extra cost, spending a few hundred dollars to get a Boston area home inspection could save you thousands in the long run.

In most home-purchase offers, it’s customary to include a clause making the transaction contingent on the findings of a home inspection. If the inspection reveals real problems, what happens next depends on the contract.

The seller may cover repair costs; the buyer and seller might split costs; the seller might credit the buyer money to make repairs; or the seller might reduce the price. If the buyer and seller can’t come to terms, the buyer can walk away from the agreement.

As any Long Island home inspector will point out, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

A typical Long Island NY home inspection takes several hours and looks at things such as the heating and air-conditioning systems, plumbing, electrical systems and the roof. Specialty inspectors can check for mold, radon gas and energy efficiency. If repairs are needed, hire a licensed contractor. That way, there’s a paper trail that the work has been done. And you should have the home reinspected to make sure the repairs were done properly.

When working with Best Buyer’s Broker Realty, we ALWAYS make any offer contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. If you work with an agent who works for the seller, be very aware of this all-important part of the home buying process. Make sure they don’t encourage you to by-pass getting a Long Island NY home inspection on the home you’re considering. If they do, run away from the home as fast as you can.

For more Long Island NY home buying tips, visit our Long Island NY home buying tips section of this website.

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Real Estate News – February 2012

Real Estate News - February 2012

In this Issue:*

Home Inspections: Deal Breakers or Makers?

Could Your Shaky Personal Finances Get You Fired?

Home Prices Fall More Than Expected

(Your comments are welcome at the bottom of our newsletter)

Home Inspections: Deal Breakers or Makers?

Home InspectorA home inspection is simply a visual examination of a house’s overall condition. The home inspection report describes a house’s physical shape and identifies what might need crucial repair or replacement. Although what’s covered in a standard report can vary by inspector, typically the status of the following will be included:

  • heating system
  • central air conditioning system
  • interior plumbing and electrical systems
  • roof
  • attic
  • visible insulation
  • walls
  • ceilings
  • floors
  • windows
  • doors
  • foundation
  • basement
  • all structural components.

A home inspection is not an appraisal, which determines market value, and it’s not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. Inspectors won’t survey inaccessible areas of home; they don’t do any kind of destructive testing — only non-invasive visual assessments. The report won’t include the condition of every nail, wire or pipe in the home. The report also does not guarantee a home’s components will never fail or need repair in the future.

So, what are the deal breakers of a home inspection? That depends entirely on you. What is and is not a deal breaker depends on each person’s preferences and needs. For example, an inspection that identifies damaged floor joists might be a deciding factor for one person who feels the problem is too expensive or time-consuming to fix.

However, the same trouble with joists might be absolutely acceptable for another client who has resources to fix the issue. A home inspector does not tell a customer whether or not to buy a house. Rather, it’s his or her job to provide all the available information so home buyers (or sellers) can make the decision that’s right for them.

If you’re thinking of buying a house and a home inspector finds problems with it, this doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t buy it. The findings simply mean you now know what you’re getting into. If the plumbing needs to be replaced in six months, at least you won’t be surprised when it happens. If major problems like this are found, the seller may agree to make the repairs. Of course, no house is perfect. It’s quite normal for a residence to have some glitches. It just depends on how many faults you’re willing to deal with before you walk away from the sale.

Home inspections differ based on the person or organization conducting them. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), for example, is not required to check for wood-destroying organisms or diseases harmful to humans, including mold or moldlike substances. Many inspectors offer services to check for these things, although some will charge an additional fee.

Besides having the right things covered in an inspection, you should also make sure you hire the right person for the job. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to vet an inspector’s complete history. However, there are a number of steps you can take to make an informed decision.

Consult your real estate attorney or ask friends, business acquaintances or professionals who understand the housing industry for a recommendation. If you already have someone in mind, ask the inspector for professional references and call the people on this list with specific questions about the inspector and the services provided. Before you hire someone, make sure you’re comfortable with him or her first. Have a conversation ahead of time and review sample reports to make sure you can understand them.

Besides checking with ASHI, there are other reputable resources such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).

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Could Your Shaky Personal Finances Get You Fired?

Worried About FinancesAccording to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management, some 83% of HR professionals think personal financial challenges have at least some impact on employees’ performance. Those same HR professionals aren’t blind to economic reality — 80% of them believe employees at their organizations are facing more financial challenges than they were five years ago.

Though the consequences are unpleasant, the logic is fairly straightforward: If someone can’t maintain control of their own financial situation when their personal money is on the line, what would make them motivated to be a better steward of the company’s money belonging to nameless and faceless shareholders?

That said, at most companies, having personal money troubles are not a fire-able offense. But if your performance is slipping, the odds are slim that your boss will pick you for the next available role of increasing responsibility. If the company also has reason to believe money troubles are behind your performance slippage, you can expect significantly tighter scrutiny on whatever areas you do have any individual discretion over.

Is it fair to have career troubles just because you’re having money troubles at home? Probably not, but speaking frankly, whether it’s “fair” or not doesn’t really matter. It is what it is.

If you are having money troubles, the first step toward regaining control is to stop trying to put on flashy displays of wealth you don’t really have. You’re neither fooling nor impressing anybody by showcasing your spending, and your employer already knows what you make. Spending money faster than your boss knows you’re earning it is a major red flag and can actually invite more scrutiny, not less.

Even in less instantly obvious ways, taking control of your finances is largely a matter of understanding — and making tough choices — on how and where you spend your cash. Brown-bagging your lunch can easily save you between $20 and $40 a week versus eating out, and home-brewed coffee instead of a couple daily cups from the coffee shop can have a similar impact.

No matter how you choose to cut back, doing so will help you take control of your finances. And with control over your finances, you’ll gain the opportunity to stop the career death spiral that otherwise threatens to turn some short-term cash flow issues into a serious long-term problem.

 

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Home Prices Fall More Than Expected

Home Prices Fall According to Case-Shiller IndexAccording to the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller composite index, U.S. single-family home prices fell more than expected in November, highlighting the continuing struggle of the housing market to make a meaningful recovery.

Like most measures of the economy, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index is not perfect. However, it has a critical shortcoming that almost no one talks about.

We already know the data comes in on a bit of a lag. The data doesn’t hit the database until the public filing after closing. But the closing may be months after the agreement between buyer and seller (and the banks that provide financing). Ultimately, the lag can be a long time (sometimes up to six months) between when a price is agreed upon, the mortgage is secured, the closing occurs, and the sale is recorded and available for public use.

The Case-Shiller index is based on closings. However, four to eight weeks from contract to closing is major lag. November home price data reflects September or October prices at contract, which is the more relevant measure for a home buyer or seller. In other words, it would be inaccurate for users of the Case-Shiller data to assume the monthly index data reflects monthly market prices without some additional lag.

Furthermore, the time from contract to closing may vary depending on the city, which would make the Case-Shiller indices even more problematic. Those using such data as the Case-Shiller index data need to be aware of exactly what the data is really saying.

Home Inspections – Your Best Way To Avoid A Money Pit

Home Inspections – Your Best Way To Avoid A Money PitAs a buyer, one of the smartest things you can do is get a home inspection. It’s arguably more important than getting an appraisal, because a proper inspection will prevent you from buying a money pit – at least not intentionally.

A good home inspection will identify both major and minor problems in the physical condition of the home. For example, the inspector can identify issues such as structural problems, (termite damage), mechanical problems (heating and air conditioning) or construction defects.

The home inspection report will identify the problem areas, explaining what needs to be either repaired or replaced, and it will give you an estimate of the expected lifetime remaining on the major systems in the home.

A home inspector will begin with a review of the home as a whole and then break it into sections, checking each area carefully looking for signs of wear and tear which is above the expected, normal wear and tear.

As a buyer, it may be very tempting to require the seller to do all of the repairs on the home before you buy it, however there are no hard and fast rules about who should pay for repairs in a home sale.

One rule of thumb suggests that anything which will require you to hire a professional, have the seller pay for the costs, either as a reduction in the sales price or before the sale takes place. It’s up to you as a buyer, but if there’s a long list of items which you need and/or want to do which can be done easily enough by yourself, don’t bother asking the seller to do the repairs. Wait until you’ve bought the home and do the repairs yourself.

Showing the sellers a huge list of things you want fixed may cause them to balk at the request and the sale could fall through, leaving you with the tedious task of continuing your home search, on top of the cost for the inspection you just paid for.

Obtaining a home inspection from a qualified home inspector is not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong. In fact, one thing that catches many first time home buyers by surprise is just how much more it does cost to be a homeowner – after all, you don’t have a landlord or “super” to call when your sink springs a leak – you are the “super!”