Inspecting Your Home Before Selling

If you’re hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or you’re a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know:

1. You can choose your home inspector.

Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. Members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI), must complete an approved home inspector training program, demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector, complete a written exam, and adhere to the NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

2. Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.

You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what’s important and what’s not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. They won’t comment on cosmetic items if they don’t impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing.

3. Home inspection reports include only the basics.

A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the home’s exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages.

They report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.

4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee.

The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics clearly state that members act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction and “will discharge the Inspector’s duties with integrity and fidelity to the client.” A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions.

The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If you’re a seller, you don’t have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.

5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home.

Inspectors don’t go behind walls or under flooring, so it’s possible that a serious problem can be overlooked. Keep in mind that inspectors are not party to the sales transaction, so if you buy a home where an expensive problem surfaces after the sale, you won’t be able to make the inspector liable or get the inspector to pay for the damage. In fact, you may not be entitled to any compensation beyond the cost of the inspection.

As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home.

One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and it’s required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. There’s a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.

Message me if your thinking about selling your home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

How Color Helps Sell Your Home

There are some do’s and don’ts to painting your home before you sell. One great tip is, if nothing else, at least give your interior walls a fresh coat of paint to help give your home that “new” feeling to potential buyers. • • • #realestate #justlisted #realestateagent #homepainting #homedesign #hometips #homeadvice

Yes! Just like curb appeal matters, the colors of your home can and will influence buyers. With that in mind, we explore which colors tend to appeal to the masses.

The color scheme of your home, from the outside in, sets the tone. It’s like going to see a theatre play and seeing an intricately crafted and appropriately painted set for the production. It can immediately intrigue you–before the play has begun and even if you know few details about the play.

When it comes to color, be sure to consider the location. A peach-pink home in a retirement community might be okay, but that same color in an upscale, urban city may be unappealing to younger city dwellers.

The outside of your home is one of the largest areas potential buyers will see. So make your decision carefully and be sure to have a professional paint job done. If you choose white for the exterior, your home is likely to appeal to the masses, according to one study that indicated upwards of 40 percent of people liked white homes.

The great thing about a white home is you have plenty of options to make the home stand out by using an accent color for the trim. The downside is that white gets dirty very fast and shows it more than other colors. So before you list your home, make sure that you have a fresh coat of paint applied or pressure wash the exterior to bring back that newly painted look.

Also take into consideration the color of other homes on the block. Typically, white will not look out of place. However, if you had a purple home on a block where the homes are mostly beige and neutral colors, you’ll get noticed but won’t likely get the kind of attention you want.

Beige with neutral-colored trim is another popular color scheme. Both beige and white are safe exterior colors. They don’t turn buyers off.

There’s also been a trend to paint just the front door a deep, rich color like red. This may not be appealing to all. However, buyers would tend to overlook it because it’s a simple change as well as one that can easily and cheaply be changed to the new buyer’s choice. As long as the colors look good together, this wouldn’t necessarily turn buyers away.

The paint inside your home is equally important. In fact, one good tip for sellers is that if they can do nothing else, they should get some fresh paint up on the walls. The new paint helps showcase the home and gives it a new-home feel.

There are a wide variety of interior colors. Don’t feel like you have to go with only beige. You can be a little more daring, using bold accent colors. Just make sure the paint colors you choose don’t give a dark, closed-in feeling. Aim to create comfort, a sense of calmness, relaxation, and a place where family can unwind. Earth-tone colors convey this very well.

For a more chic and sophisticated look, interior designers often choose from the grey palette. A dark grey color can create a bold statement and attract the eye to a particular area.

Whatever colors you choose, remember that your aim is to appeal to the masses. Test the colors out first. Get opinions from the experts.

I have definitely been in hundreds of homes and can offer you some very good guidance. Call me to discuss getting your house ready to sell and get a FREE valuation at 970-690-3113 or text me 970-646-3610 or email to ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com

Turn Your Ugly Urban Backyard into Something Beautiful

You’ve found the home of your dreams. The backyard, not so much. But take heart. There are creative ways to turn that ugly duckling into a beautiful swan by taking the cons and turning them into pros.

If your yard includes the wall of the building next door, a dilapidated garage or parking pad, a lack of privacy, or if you hear vehicle noise, it may seem discouraging. But with proper planning, the negatives can be minimized or even become positives as part of a beautiful landscape design.

You just have to view them as opportunities, says Jennifer Hayman, landscape designer/owner of Jennifer Hayman Design Group in Toronto. “Look at the existing landscape and think of ways to make the most of it.”

Limited space is a common problem for many urban properties, so use every inch by creating multi-purpose areas. For example, redo a parking pad and use it as extra lounge, dining or sports court space when you are entertaining.

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The old garage was renovated into a three-season covered loggia and secure, organized storage inside. The columnar beech trees were planted along the fence line for privacy. Photo: Jennifer Hayman Design Group

There’s a trend to demolish neglected, full-to-the-brim-with-junk garages and rebuild them to provide not only organized storage areas, but sitting, dining or hang out spaces. Whether creating a tween or teen retreat, a she shed or a man cave, it’s all about maximizing space that’s already there, the landscape designer says. “Real estate is valuable.”

If the garage is in reusable shape, remove two walls to convert it into a loggia or replace a wall with sliding doors to open it to the outdoors.

If you have another building at the back or side of the yard, put the wall to good use by planting some trees in front of it. Add up lighting.

At night, the light and shadows from the trees against the wall will create a warm ambiance.

Another idea, Hayden says, is to build a free-standing children’s art wall or chalk board in front of it, or if you have permission from the building’s owner, adding a mural may perk up your backyard space.

Use trees to provide privacy from tall buildings. In one of her projects, Hayman planted a row of cedar trees down each side to provide privacy and add a touch of green. Cedar trees also help muffle street noise.

The sound of trickling water is another way to dull the din. She says smaller budgets can employ a “plug and play fountain” while larger projects could include everything from water falls to reflecting pools. It doesn’t have to be a pond. One backyard she designed has a reflecting pool with floating light-up spheres to create nighttime drama.

Grade changes don’t have to be leveled. “It’s not a good use of money,” she says. Use the different levels to create different zones. However, care needs to be taken to ensure water doesn’t flow from your backyard into the neighbours’.

If the existing landscape requires lots of maintenance, a new plan with low-maintenance plants and materials can help reduce the attention it needs. Drought-resistant plants that need less watering are one way to reduce the work. “You can choose materials that are low maintenance, but remember you can’t achieve no maintenance,” she says.

Hayman is a certified Fusion Landscaping Professional. “Fusion Landscaping combines the art and science of horticulture with the science of hydrology to design, build/install and maintain esthetical pleasing, water-efficient landscapes,” says the Landscape Ontario website. “These landscapes use established design principles including form, function and the environment to optimize lot level storm water management and enhance the environment.”

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Boardwalk steps over reflective pond and down to garden at lower level. Photo: Jennifer Hayman Design Group

Landscape Ontario, the Region of Peel and Municipality of York combined forces to create the Fusion Landscaping Professional program.

Rain gardens, for example, include plants that can take both lots of water at once but also survive drought conditions, says Hayman. The rain garden is designed so water percolates into the ground instead of on to streets and into sewers.

Incorporating green space is always a good idea. Toronto is a heat island because there is so much concrete.

The city has percentages allowed for hard and softscaping so it’s important to check your local bylaws. Zoning and building department bylaws are something a designer can help with, she says.

Have a professional plan done and approved before construction starts to help optimize your budget. Otherwise, costs can be quickly eaten up on expensive changes made once construction begins.

Having a plan also reduces stress for everyone involved. Ditto for permits. Many contractors won’t work without a permit and a plan with design materials and quantities that have been approved by the homeowner, she says.

If yours is a big job, you may also want to consider 3-D plans, which make it easier to see what the project will look like when it’s finished.

You can “walk” from point A to point B and live inside the space without it being built, she says. “It’s a great tool for contractors to have too so they can understand the landscape designer’s vision. If you’re doing all the bells and whistles, spending $1,500 to $2,000 on 3-D is a fraction of the cost of making construction changes.”

Expect to answer a lot of questions as the landscape designer gathers information to determine the scope of work, the challenges, your needs and wants, and what can be achieved you’re your budget.

After a site analysis, a design is created and presented to the homeowners for feedback. Upon approval, quotes are requested from contractors.

Hayman provides her clients with a vetted list of contractors, chosen based on their skill set. “I match the project to the contractor to the homeowner,” she says. Start three, six or even 12 months ahead of construction, she says, because “contractors who are skilled, competent and strong book up early.”

Remember, there are lots of ways to turn your backyard lemons into lemonade.