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What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.

For more information, try the virtual home inspection at www.ASHI.org, the Web site of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Structure: A home s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

Fireplaces: They re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.

Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (www.AHSI.org)

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Understanding California Short Sale Rules

We are hearing more and more about the realities of short sales. Making the latest headlines are the concerns addressing the changing California short sale rules. Short sales options by California property owners represent about twenty percent of that regions housing inventory.

In general, a short sale is when a property owner has fallen several months behind in their payments on that property, and there is a new agreement made between the lender and that property owner, to settle the property for less than is owed. The remaining balance is pardoned by the lender, so that both parties can move forward from this irreconcilable relationship. But is it a true move forward?

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California short sale rules implies that the seller will still be ultimately responsible for the difference left between the money owed on the property and the new purchase price agreed to the new owner. This will still remain a problem for the original owner, after suffering through the lengthy, stomach wrenching ordeal, of the entire process.

The California Association of Realtors are franticly warning realtors that California property owners may be in danger of severe tax consequences if they decide to chose short sale over foreclosure, even if the lender agrees to allow the short sale to proceed after several road blocks, and so forth. The lender can still be instrumental in pursuing judgment against the previous property owner.

While the California short sale rules are still not clear, the possibility for government involvement to pursue wage garnishments for property owners believing that a short sale was their way of putting a bad experience behind them is very real. It is till being debated and reviewed in congress, but a solid decision is not coming fast enough.

Some say that it may be smarter to take the credit hit now and let the foreclosure happen versus try and save those few credit points, and still be subject to the ultimate financial ruin anyway. Either way, there will be some credit damage. Your final decision must be something that you are willing to live with long term. No easy solution, but there is a way to make the best choice for your particular situation.

For Californians, there are several non profit foreclosure counseling organizations, as well as some reliable real estate lawyers available that can help interpret the current California short sale rules for you and help you decide the best course of action to take. Be sure to make a check list. Strategy and planning will also aid you in being able to live with your final decision.

When reviewing the California short sale rules with your counselor, ask if it there is a possibility of owing the California Tax Board as well, as the IRS. You may want to bring up capital gains as well as if there are other work out plans in addition to the ones you may have to create a hybrid plan, and if so what are the long term effects on your credit?

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

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California Short Sale Rules…what rules? Visit http://www.nphsrealestate.org/Short-sale/California now, to get all the rules and facts on Short Sales in your area.

Well, Take a Look at This!

Getting a home inspection during your sale pending period is a vital  and many times required  part of the process. Your real estate agent should have a list of home inspectors in the area with good reputations. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau or similar organizations to insure you re getting a qualified inspector.

A good home inspector will check out the  operating ability of your prospective purchase. Some things they ll check include: functional electrical system; plumbing; heating and air conditioning operation; window and door seals; appliance operation; garage door closer/opener; sprinkler systems; roof quality; water damage (dry rot); structural and foundation stability; and more. Be sure to carefully review the inspection report. Red flags raised may require further inspection by a specific expert.

In addition to a home inspection, most purchases require a pest inspection to insure you aren t confronted with termite infestation or other pest problems.

So, to take a huge amount of risk out of your purchase, getting a good home inspection is vital. Lots of expensive and damaging problems can be found in the inspection process. The good news is, the seller may be required to pay for the fixes before you close the sale!

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