How to get ready for a home inspection

The home inspector’s arrival can be very exhausting for the home seller as in today’s market, home buyers will want to have each and very issue fixed prior to buying a home. With so many homes on the market, home buyers can always find a home seller willing to do fix all the repairs no matter how minor just to sell their home, therefore the visit from the home inspector can be devastating to the home seller.

David Tamny, owner of Professional Property Inspection in Columbus, Ohio stated, “The first thing for people to realize when selling their house is the inspector is always going to find something wrong.” This is true even if you have done all the maintenance and kept your home in tip top shape, the inspector will find a problem.

In the majority of cases, problems found are minor or are inexpensive to repair; therefore, the home seller can do the repairs or allow a credit for the home buyer to fix these issues. Tamny stated that major repairs or not being to negotiate could stop the deal.

Of course, it is best for the home seller to have the home as ready as they can prior to the inspection.

The sad news is that if major problems are found during the inspection it can cost the home owner more in the way of lowering the price of the home explained, Dan Steward, president of Pillar to Post, a home-inspection company and went on to say, “For every real dollar of cost, the buyer thinks it’s $2 or $3 more.”

The best way to be ready for a home inspection is to first inspect your home before putting it on the market. A pre-listing inspection will let you know exactly what needs to be repaired before you begin allowing buyers into your home.

Tamny explained that most home sellers do not spend money on an inspection, as they know the home buyer will have an inspection done before buying. One thing to remember, if you do a pre-listing inspection, you are obligated to disclose this information to potential buyers.

Brandi Pearl Thompson, an agent in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area stated that in order to save money it is best to speak with a real estate agent to look over the home. Real estate agents may not have the expertise as a home inspector but they have been through many closings and will notice if something in the home will put up a red flag.

Thompson went on to say that home sellers need to look at their home with a critical eye from the ceiling to the floor, the floor by appliances, under sinks, check for water damage, check faucets, and even door handles. Walk through the home as if you are looking to buy instead of sell. This will give you an idea of what other home buyers will notice.

“Walk out of the house, turn around and walk in with fresh eyes,” Thompson said.

A home inspector will look for problems such as heating, cooling, water damage, electrical problems, leaks, mold, structural problems, plumbing issues, and termites. The inspector will also look at any of the do it yourself items in the home such as decks and ceiling fans to ensure these items were installed properly and are safe.

You can either repair on these issues or be prepared to tell explain to a potential buyer how you will address the issues such as discount on the price, etc…

Watch all those little things like clean gutters, windows can open and close, flaking paint, cracked caulking, broken windows, and leaky faucets.

You should also have the heating and cooling systems serviced by a profession so they are in good shape, Thompson said.

Of course, do not expect that once you do fix these issues that nothing will be found. The home buyer will have a to do list. Major problems or even a long list of small expensive problems can cause a potential buyer to look elsewhere for their new home.

Tamny explained, “Buyers get overwhelmed and decide not to pursue a remedy. They’re overwhelmed with the stuff that is going wrong,”

“If nothing is disclosed and the buyer’s inspector finds stains or an active water leak, there’s a red flag,” Steward stated. “It doesn’t always make a deal fall apart; it makes a deal not progress smoothly because the buyer is now worried… ‘If I didn’t see that, what else didn’t the seller tell me?’”

Some of the requests will be reasonable while other requests such as cosmetic issues can be declined by the seller, explained Thompson said, and went on to say, “Keep in mind they still kept your home in mind over the others and once someone falls in love, they do tend to overlook some of the little things.”

Initial Unemployment Claims Decreased

Beginning claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 20,000 to 368,000 for the week that ended on February 26 while continuing claims for the week that ended on February 19 decreased by 59,000 to 3.77 million. The monthly unemployment rate decreased to 8.9 percent in the month of February from seeing 9 percent in the month of January.

The Institute for Supply Management announced that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity increased to 61.4 in the month of February after seeing a revised 60.8 in the month January. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. This was the 19th straight month of expansion and the highest reading in almost seven years.

The National Association of Realtors announced that their pending home sales index, which is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, decreased 2.8 percent in the month of January after seeing a revised 3.2 percent fall in the month of December. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are down 1.5 percent.
Total construction spending decreased 0.7 percent to $791.8 billion in the month of January after seeing a revised 1.6 percent fall in the month of December. Economists had believed a fall of 0.8 percent would be seen in January.

The Mortgage Bankers Association stated the seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week that ended on February 25 decreased 6.5 percent, while refinancing applications fell 6.5 percent and purchase volume decreased 6.1 percent.

The Institute for Supply Management announced the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity increased to 59.7 in the month of February from 59.4 in the month of January. Any reading above 50 shows expansion. This was the 14th straight month of expansion in the services sector and the fastest pace seen since August 2005.

Factory orders increased 3.1 percent in the month of January to a seasonally adjusted $445.6 billion, after seeing a revised 1.4 percent raise in the month of December. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.7 percent.

Upcoming reports on the economic calendar
March 9 – wholesale trade
March 11 – retail sales

Final Report – 4th Quarter of 2010 – Home Sales Fell

The Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product, which is the total output of goods and services, produced in the United States increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent instead of the 2.8 percent that was reported earlier.

Existing home sales decreased 9.6 percent in the month of February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million units from 5.36 million units seen in the month of January. The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose 3.5 percent to 3.488 million, which an 8.6-month supply at the present sales pace. This figure is up from a 7.5-month supply seen in the month of January.

The Mortgage Bankers Association stated its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week that ended on March 18 increased 2.7 percent, while refinancing applications rose 2.7 percent and purchase volume increased 2.7 percent.

New home sales decreased 16.9 percent in the month of February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 units from a rate of 284,000 units in the month of January. Economists had believed a pace of 290,000 units would have been seen in the month February.

Orders for durable goods, which are items expected to last three or more years, decreased 0.9 percent in the month of February after seeing a revised 3.6 percent increase in the month of January. Not including volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly fall of 0.6 percent.

Retail sales decreased 0.1 percent for the week that ended on March 19, reported by the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales rise 3 percent.

First unemployment claims benefits decreased by 5,000 to 382,000 for the week that ended on March 19, while continuing claims for the week that ended on March 12 decreased by 2,000 to 3.72 million.

Upcoming reports on
March 28 – pending home sales
April 1 – construction spending

Off The Beaten Path from Mission Valley to Hillcrest

Not too many people realize that there is a nice quiet and even secluded trail from Mission Valley through the canyon and into the Hillcrest community. For any readers that enjoy trekking, nature, or just getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this trail is amazing. The hike is great for fitness buffs as well as nature lovers.

The trail begins right beside Highway 163, between I-8 and Balboa Park, at that west end cul de sac that ends Camino del Rio South, where you will find TGI Fridays Restaurant and Bally’s Fitness are located.

If you live in this area, you never have to worry finding a parking spot. Of course, if you must drive you can normally find a spot to park on the street. Do not park in the commercial lots as you notice the tow away signs and yes, your vehicle will be towed.

You should wear quality lug-sole boots and maybe take along a walking stick, as some sections are a bit challenging. Long pants are also best, as a few sections are overgrown. All you have to do is walk right past Ballys all the way to the end of the lot and then walk around the wide locked gate and to the dirt road; you are almost in the jungle, so to speak. This is the entrance into Buchanan Canyon.

In the beginning, the walk is not too bad with just a slight uphill job, but the road will then take a left. Do not go this way, as you will find a locked gate. Instead go straight and you will pass two green-topped sewer drains and have to walk into a rocky creek bed. You should be careful of the long wire rods that are very rusty and would not be a great item to step on or have go through the sole of your shoes, thus the reason for quality boots.

Follow the small trail that does have overgrown foliage, you may even have to jump over some in a few locations. The highway sounds are far off in the distance if you can hear them at all and you will start to see wild flowers. Now you are in the canyon with houses on both sides and of course those cacti patches that you need to keep your eyes peeled for or you may not be too happy. Through the wooded section and then a slight steep section and you will find a street. Now you are in Hillcrest on Johnson Avenue. If you go to the left, you will find Lincoln Avenue and then take another left and you will be at Washington Street. Enjoy the Uptown Commercial District or a treat at Brian’s Restaurant.

You can start your hike from here where Johnson and Hayes intersect; however, there are no signs to guide the way. The trek will take about an hour round trip.

Learn more at, The San Diego Canyons Coalition.

14,000 Jobs Added in 2010 in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley came out at the top being the area with the highest average salary in the IT industry at $99,028 per year. Twenty-nine percent of the private workforce in the area was employed in the tech industry in 2009 which was the highest found in the US.

Silicon Valley was the 2nd most lively area in California in terms of creating jobs in 2010. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area alone created 14,600 jobs in 2010.

The data was found on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. San Diego, Carlsbad, and San Marcos region home in southern California created the highest number of jobs, which were 16,500.

There were only 19 metro areas across the US that was able to create more than 10,000 jobs since January of 2010. The main reason the San Jose metro area has done very well when compared to other areas around California is due to its tech industry.

Those earning the most were found in large companies or having highly specialized skills. The high earners when compared by skills were those with skills related to Oracle databases and Java programmers, which earned an average of $90,000.

The most in demand employees are graphic designers, project managers, and software engineers.

As stated by CEO A. Harrison Barnes of Information Technology Crossing this is the best time for computer professionals since the end of the dotcom boom, “IT workers need to have the latest in demand skills, that’s the key to getting these new jobs.”

CA Court Expands Liability To RE Brokers On Short Sales

In a recent California court of Appeals case, Holmes v. Summer, holds that if a real estate broker knows that a listed property is significantly upside-down and cannot be sold without a “short sale,” that the listing broker has a duty to disclose this “material fact” to a potential buyer. This means if the broker is not representing the buyer, this information must be made apparent to the buyer. The broker must notify the buyer that the short sale may not be able to obtain approval from a lender and the closing may not occur.

In this situation, the homebuyer entered into a contract with a home seller to buy a house for $749,000. The buyer sold his own home in order to get the money to buy the new house, however, the loans on the target house totaled over $1.14 million making the agreed upon buying price not enough close enough pay off the debts unless there was the seller contributed $392,000, or the lenders agreed to a short sale.

“In Holmes v. Summer, G041906 (Cal. App. 4th, filed Oct. 6, 2010), Justice Moore wrote, “$392,000 is not exactly ‘chump change’” – and that this was the “material fact” that needed disclosure.” There was no approval before for a short sale through the lender.

The Listing Agent – “apparently,” as the case is quiet on the issue never revealed in the paperwork to the homebuyer before accepting the buying agreement that it was a short sale. The homebuyer declares they thought it was a “normal” sale.

The homebuyers then sued the Listing agent, “claiming that the listing broker was under an obligation to disclose to the buyers that the property was over-encumbered and could not be sold at the agreed upon purchase price, unless the seller contributed or the lenders capitulated.” The Court of appeal reversed the earlier ruling in favor of the broker. The Appellate Court found that under the facts of this case, the brokers were duty-bound to disclose to the homebuyers that there was a “substantial risk that the seller could not transfer title free and clear of monetary liens and encumbrances.”

The seller’s broker disputed that she had a duty not to disclose the seller’s confidential financial information. “the court ruled that the existence of the three deeds of trust was public record and could be disclosed.”

In a terse appellate opinion, Justice Moore opinion was that the buyers were entitled to the broker’s opinion of the likelihood that the transaction would close, as the broker was more knowledgeable about these procedures.

“The court ruled that the Seller’s breach of contract was a reasonably foreseeable likelihood that the Buyer should have been made aware of – before the buyer sold his house to complete this purchase.” In addition, the broker was supposed to have known the buyer was selling their own home in order to buy the home, as this is what normally occurs in the state of California.

This new ruling raises disconcerting issues for brokers. This may be interpreted to increase “fiduciary” duties to non-clients! Alternately, it may be interpreted to increase the duties of every agent to include more than the normal “inspect and disclose” duties that are already in place or other unending duties that non-clients may create.

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce honors Eco-Savvy Community

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce honored Brookfield Homes’ new home community Rockrose at The Foothills by naming them the 2011 recipient of the Environmental Spirit Award. The Chamber held its 43rd Annual Business Awards Dinner at the Park Hyatt Resort Aviara in Carlsbad.

Rockrose was unveiled on year ago featuring single-family detached residences that go beyond the State of California’s Title 24 standards for energy efficiency by at least 35%.

In naming Rockrose its 2011 Environmental Spirit Award winner, the Carlsbad Chamber highly praised Brookfield Homes by naming Rockrose the 2011 Environmental Spirit Award winner, “a commitment to more sustainable home building with its first eco-savvy neighborhood, Rockrose at The Foothills of Carlsbad.” Brookfield just happens to be the first homebuilder to receive this award.

Every homeowner at Rockrose integrates six areas of eco-savvy design, including energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction, improved indoor air quality, sustainable building materials/wood conservation, and renewable energy/solar power.

Steve Doyle, president of Brookfield Homes San Diego/Riverside division, stated that Rockrose represents the company’s commitment to combine forward-thinking green building features with quality architectural design and excellent construction.

“We appreciate the Carlsbad Chamber’s recognition and are proud and humbled to receive the 2011 Environmental Spirit Award,” stated Doyle. “We’re honored to be the first homebuilder to earn the Chamber’s award for environmental stewardship.”

Doyle explained to the crowd of 550 that Brookfield took advantage of the recent slow down in real estate slowdown reconsider their business model. The company spent two years examining sustainable products and building practices to deliver the eco-savvy model at Rockrose.

“Over the last few years, we took the opportunity to reinvent our product,” stated Doyle. “We wanted to become the sustainable builder for San Diego County.

For homeowners this is a money saving and eco-savvy features that get attention such as a recirculating hot water system, tankless water heaters, low VOC carpets and paints, Merv 8 air filters, formaldehyde free insulation, along with other options such as electrostatic air filters and photovoltaic solar panels.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor, authenticated Brookfield’s efforts in a March 2010 proclamation:

“Rockrose not only generates jobs and homes for Californians, it also sets a new standard in creating sustainable communities,” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Whether in construction materials, energy sources, landscaping and more, every facet of this project aims to make California an even better – and greener – place to call home.”

Rockrose was recognized in January for design excellence by the National Association of Home Builders. The new home community was named a finalist in four separate categories at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) Gold Nugget Awards, as well as being named a finalist at the 2010 Building Industry Association (BIA) and Sales and Marketing Council (SMC) of Southern California’s joint annual awards, the SoCal Awards during the last year.

Rockrose has received praise not only by receiving the Environmental Spirit Award but also from a wide range of energy industry executives and regulatory officials.

Lee Schavrien, the senior vice president of finance, regulatory and legislative affairs for Sempra Energy Utilities, described Rockrose a “model for other home builders – even a challenge for other developers.” In addition, “We applaud Brookfield Homes as a leader in a new proactive approach to energy efficiency by building it in.”

Anthony Eggert of the California Energy Commission stated, “Projects like this demonstrate that it can be done.”

Jan Cortez, the executive director of the American Lung Association’s San Diego office, stated that Rockrose will serve as a model project for the Lung Association to educate the community.

“Indoor air quality is important to San Diegans. It’s great to see a model home that is energy efficient and progressive but also is a healthful home,” Cortez explained.

To learn more about the community, contact a San Diego Realtor.

Chula Vista Builder Offering Huge Incentives

Brookfield Homes is offering up to $56,000 in combined price reductions, upgrades, and incentives at its Windingwalk neighborhoods in Chula Vista, for new homes in the community beginning in high $200,000s.

With the combined price reductions, incentives, and upgrades it can add up to a possible $53,000 in savings for home buyers at Cordova, a luxury town home community with prices starting at $295,900. Home buyers will be able to save a combined total of up to $56,000 at Trellis, which is a detached new home neighborhood with prices starting at $423,900.

Lora Heramb, vice president of sales and marketing for Brookfield Homes stated, “Because we’d like to capitalize on the momentum built by low mortgage rates, we’re pricing homes to sell, including several move-in ready residences,” and went on to say, “With savings in the tens of thousands of dollars, this is an opportune time to buy.”

At this time in Cordova, Brookfield’s town home community, three move-in ready homes are available with prices beginning at $295,900. The homes offer two-stories with three or four bedrooms, 2 ½ or three baths and a new feature that is unique to most new attached homes, which is side-by-side two-car garages. The community offers six floor plans with prices ranging from 1,638 to 2,024 square feet and recently had the grand opening for their private recreation center.

Cordova homes offer maple cabinets, granite kitchen countertops, stainless steel appliances, and built-in security systems.

The Trellis community offers two-story, single-family detached homes with prices beginning at $423,900. Trellis at Windingwalk has four floor plans ranging from approximately 2,361 to 2,620 square feet offering four or five bedrooms and 2 ½ or three baths.

Trellis homes offer stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, maple cabinets, air conditioning and built-in security systems, along with front-yard landscaping. At this time, three homes are ready for move-in.

Residents at Trellis and Cordova have access to three community gathering places, which includes the resort-style $5 million Winding Oaks Recreation Center, the $3 million Winding Trails Recreation Center and the centrally located Windingwalk Park, offering basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, softball field, picnic areas and restrooms.

Close by both of these communities is the planned junior-senior combined high school. To the south of the community will be the planned Chula Vista University Park and Research Center, among other educational and business amenities. Under construction now is the High-Tech High Learning for students in K thru 12. The charter school is now in the second phase and is scheduled to open for this coming school year.

Contact a Chula Vista real estate agent today to take a tour of either community.