Home Repairs: The Time To Contact A Home Remodeling Contractor is BEFORE You Purchase a Home

PUTTING THINGS OFF NOT WHAT IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

“I FOUND MY DREAM HOME AND IT’S IN GREAT CONDITION…”

Those were the words of a potential client. The client contacted me because she and her husband wanted to make some modifications to their dream home before they moved in. But…

I FOUND MOLD AND OTHER PROBLEMS

This morning, I met the couple at their “dream home.”  They were excited because their “inspector” found nothing wrong with the home.

To their surprise, I pointed out the leaks under the windows, the mold growing around the air conditioning vents, and many other things that the inspector never told them about. Without having superman vision, or the ability to remove drywall legally (they couple had not closed on this home yet), I couldn’t tell them whether the leak was from the windows being installed improperly (which the inspector never told them), from the roof, or from how the second story was attached to the first story.

THE COUPLE DID ALMOST EVERYTHING RIGHT

Although the couple did their due diligence and hired a home inspector, not all home inspectors are created equal.

In Florida, home inspectors must be licensed. Anyone who passes a 120 hour course that teaches you how to inspect a home and then passes a National Home Inspector Exam and pays the associated fees can be a home inspector. There are no requirements for field work, construction experience, or remodeling experience.

SAVED BY CONTACTING A HOME REMODELING CONTRACTOR

Fortunately, the couple asked me to come out to discuss their remodeling project and now have a better picture of the condition of their home. As a State Certified Building Contractor I am licensed to also inspect homes.  Having construction and home remodeling experience makes me look at a home with a different eye.

The couple is now contacting mold companies to inspect the home before they complete their purchase. It may not be their dream home after all.

HOME INSPECTIONS FAIL TO DO THEIR JOB ACROSS THE COUNTY

Coincidentally, this article “WHEN A DREAM HOUSE BECOMES A MONEY PIT” came across my news feed today. This New York Times article details the worst nightmare for a couple who purchased their “dream home” and discovered their inspector failed to find and/or tell them about problems with their home.

THE BEST ADVICE

The article’s closing paragraph said to best:

Were the Hickses to offer advice to home buyers, Mr. Hicks said, “you should forge and manage your own relationship with your inspector,” and make clear you want to hear the bad news.  In houses that have undergone extensive renovation, he urges that buyers ensure all the necessary permits were obtained. “I don’t know how I’ll ever buy a house again,” Ms. Hicks said. “I can’t imagine trusting anyone.”

QUESTIONS?

If you have questions about the a home you are purchasing, the design process for building a home, or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. 

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

BUYING A HOME – WHO REPAIRS THE HOME?

BUYING A HOME – WHO REPAIRS “PROBLEMS?”

Buyers and sellers disagree on who is responsible for repairs

Buyers and sellers often disagree on who is responsible for repairs.

Usually, buyers and sellers negotiate a compromise that allows their transaction to move forward.

BUYER 1 – WANTED REPAIR MONEY

This doesn’t always work out. Buyer 1 knew the cost of the repairs and tried to get the seller to lower his price. The buyer did not want the seller to do the repairs because he did not have control over the quality of the work.

The seller decided to stand firm with his price and wasn’t willing to compromise. Consequently, the buyer walked away.

SELLER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO FUTURE BUYERS

Sellers should be aware that a buyer’s inspection report can be problematic for them because if the deal doesn’t close, they could be obligated to tell subsequent buyers about any defects mentioned in the report.

BUYER 2 – AGREED TO LET THE SELLER MAKE REPAIRS

Buyer 2, after allowing the seller to make some repairs, is going through with the purchase – even though some of the repairs were not made correctly.  They are considering the remaining repair’s costs as part of purchasing the new home.

BUYER 3 – CONTRACT WAS “AS-IS” AND KNOWS HE HAS TO MAKE REPAIRS

Buyer 3 went into his purchase with his eyes wide open and did the proper inspections. The buyer was allowed to make inspections, but his contract stated  that any inspections were for “informational purposes only”, i.e., to inform the buyer of the property’s condition. Of course, this type of contract only benefits the seller.

The buyer discovered there were roofing issues. The contract, however, was “as-is,” and there was no room for negotiation.

Unbeknownst to the buyer, however, his financing was contingent upon the roof passing the home inspection. The finance company even wanted the buyer to make repairs before purchasing the home.

SHOULD THE BUYER MAKE THE REPAIRS BEFORE CLOSING?

Unfortunately, Buyer 3’s experience is not uncommon today. Banks are getting stricter. Some options, if the finance company/bank will allow it, is to escrow the money for the cost of repairs.

If the finance company insists on the repairs, you can amend your contract with the seller and include the cost of the repair in the purchase price. Then if they are willing, request that the seller make the repairs. The downside to this, however, is that if you fail to close on the property, you may lose your funds.

At the discretion of the seller, you may be allowed to make the repairs yourself. However, the seller must cooperate with this scenario – but many sellers and listing agents may not let you do this. In addition, if a permit is required for the repair, you won’t be able to do this because, in Florida, a Notice Of Commencement must be signed by the owner prior to getting a permit.  The Notice of Commencement contains detailed information about the project such as property owner, financial institution, jobsite address, contractor, etc., and protects the property owner’s title to the property. Also, an open Notice of Commencement could cloud title on the property making it impossible for you to get title insurance.

BUYERS BEWARE – READ YOUR CONTRACT CONTINGENCIES

Buyers and sellers should always read the inspection and repair contingencies of your real estate contract and make sure you understand them. The contingencies will determine who is responsible for what, what negotiating power you have, the scope of inspections and repair clauses.

The contract may say – no repairs, only repairs to certain items, who will do the repairs, and may even have a maximum amount for the cost of repairs.

Some contracts benefit buyers; others benefit sellers

To illustrate the point, there are contracts that allows the buyer to obtain a general home inspection and then give the seller a copy of the inspection report, indicating which repairs are to be made or stipulating a dollar amount credit in lieu of repairs.

Some contracts state that the seller can then make the repairs, agree to the credit or propose another arrangement, which the buyer can accept, negotiate or reject. This is best for the buyer.

Other contracts state that buyers can insist only that true defects or building code violations be corrected.

 

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice on obtaining repairs for your home purchase. I recommend that if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract, that you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

BUILDING A HOME: THINGS YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT FIRST

HOME BUILDING: TIPS TO PURCHASING LAND

Building A Home - Ask Questions and Investigage

Buying land or any other property should be done with your eyes wide open.

For many home buyers, they just can’t seem to find the right home for sale. It may be the layout, the costs to remodel a “used” home to their liking, the neighborhood, or something else. They know what they want and decide to take a different route – building their own home.

Building your own home gives you the opportunity to find the right piece of land.  You can then design and build a home that allows you to incorporate your home design to preserve the topography and views while including the elements that will make the home uniquely yours.

But before you fall in love with a piece of land – there are things that you must consider and do to protect yourself.

Is the Lot Suitable for Building?

The owner of the land will more than likely tell you that the lot you wish to purchase is buildable. Just because the seller says it is buildable and to your untrained eye it may appear to be buildable,  further examination may prove it not to be.

Soil Testing

First, I recommend getting the soil tested.  What you see on the surface is not indicative of what might be 10 or even 20 feet below the surface. Soil that feels firm under you feet may be very loose below the surface.

Soils vary in type, composition and strength. The differences can be significant. Some soils are very strong and can support significant weight, while other soils are weak and squish out the sides under light loads. The old buildings that are structurally sound that you see near your new lot undoubtedly have foundations that rest on high-quality soil or the weight of the structure has been transferred deeper into the ground where good soil or rock can be found.

There are many companies that can test to see what soil conditions exist and let you know before you buy the lot. It is worth the expense to have the soil tested first so you know what you are getting into.

Access to Electricity and Water

If you’re considering buying an lot, even in an existing  community, you need to verify that your lot has access to electricity, natural gas, water and sewer.

If your lot does not have access to city water and sewer you will need to know if a well can be placed on your lot and if there is enough room on your lot to add a septic tank and drain field. Adding a well and/or septic system is a cost you may not have considered.

Furthermore, where you place the house on the lot can add costs.  The further your home is from electrical connections, sewer connections, etc., the more costs you will incur for building your home.

Other Things To Consider

Your lot may require a foundation for your home supported by below-ground piers if it is close to a body of water. Another site may require extensive excavation work (especially if the lot is heavily treed) which can run into thousands of dollars.

And there are other considerations as well, including a complete understanding of the easements, zoning laws, property line restrictions, architectural guidelines and review processes, and homeowner association requirements.

More than one land lover has learned the hard way that ignorance can be expensive, but knowledge is power.

What’s Next?

Designing a Home That Works Well on Your Lot

The most important thing to do is plan.  Know what you want. Consider your lifestyle, access to the rooms, amount of entertaining you do, number of bathrooms, etc.

Walk through new homes for sale and pick up floor plans and mark what you like and don’t like.

Once you know what you want meet with a design-build professional, like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. to design your home. You can get a cost estimate to make sure you are staying within your budget.

If you want assistance on choosing the “perfect” lot or want to build a custom home, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

 

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

BUYING A HOME: ALL EXISTING HOMES HAVE PROBLEMS

HOME BUYING: WOULD YOU LET YOUR DAUGHTER BUY THAT HOUSE?

Image result for buying a house meme images

Congratulations!  You found the house of your dreams.  The offer has been accepted… contingent upon your “Houdini” clauses, like a termite inspection, home inspection, mold inspection, lawyer’s approval…

But What Happens When the Inspector Finds a Problem

Over the weekend I did another inspection for a home buyer. Again, I found many things that were wrong – everything from simple repairs to what I would consider major code violations.  None of this should come as a surprise to a home buyer.

Why?  Over time, things break, wear out, and reach the end of their useful life. Previous homeowners make repairs or changes themselves that are unsafe and in violation of the various building codes to save money. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a home is not worth buying.

What to Do if There Are Problems?

If your inspector finds problems, ask him for a “guestimate” of what it would cost to repair the items. You can use that as a negotiating tool to see if the seller would be willing to lower the sale price.

Don’t, however, agree to let the seller “make the repairs.” They will typically not make the repairs per the building codes or they will hide problems instead of correcting them. If for some reason you do let the seller make repairs, get the home re-inspected by the original home inspector.

A True Story

The buyer of a home I inspected (and even wrote about two weeks ago) decided to let the seller “fix” the safety violations and more. I reinspected the property only to find that the seller “corrected” the pool pump wiring problem – but added new electrical code violations, and replaced the front door without a permit. To make matters worse, the door was installed in an unsafe manner.

The buyer loves the house and the seller is holding firm on the sale price. It looks like the sale will go through and the buyer will have to pay to have the issues corrected.

Would You Let Your Daughter Buy the House?

If the house meets all of your requirements and you can hire a reputable contractor to make the house safe, then yes.  When you are thinking of the cost of the house, you need to add the cost of the repairs.

And yes, this happened to my daughter and son-in-law. The house they fell in love with was fully remodeled… but the seller did the electric work himself, had a staircase built that was not to code, and even installed some plumbing incorrectly. But, the house was exactly what they were looking for, in the price range they could afford, and in a neighborhood they liked.

I explained to them, the cost for repairs is just another cost of the home.

Very few pre-owned houses are perfect – the key is to find a house you like and that is in good enough condition that, after a reputable contractor corrects the few flaws found, it is safe.

 

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Home Improvement: BUYING A HOME – HIDDEN SAFETY DANGERS

JUST BECAUSE IT WORKS – DOESN’T MEAN IT IS SAFE

Leading Edge Homes -  Just Because It Works Doesn't Mean It is Safe

When buying a house – make sure it is inspected to meet all building codes.

BUT IT WORKS…

Last week I did a home inspection for a couple who have signed a contract to purchase a home in Palm Beach County.

The seller did not appreciate my thorough work, and called me over the weekend to say “but it works.”  Just because something works, doesn’t mean it is safe and complies with the building, electric, plumbing or mechanical codes.

ELECTRICAL SHOCKS ARE NOT A LAUGHING MATTER

If your electric outlets are not properly grounded, you can be in for the shock of your life. Electricity can pass through your appliances, or anything you plug into your outlet, directly into you. One clue that an outlet may not be properly grounded is that computers and / or appliances may not work when plugged in.

Other times, you may just get shocked when using something that was plugged into an ungrounded outlet.  Unfortunately, I know first hand.  It happened to me at a job site.  Lucky for me, I wasn’t injured.

But the violations I found for the buyer could be a shocking experience for him or someone at his new home.

SOME OF THE VIOLATIONS

It May Be A Shocking Experience

Many of the violations we found, although they may not inhibit the function of the electric can cause electrical shock.

Problem 1 – Missing Breaker Slot Covers

Missing breaker slot covers are an electric shock risk.

Missing breaker slot covers are an electric shock risk.

Problem 2 – Water Heater “Whip” Requires a Strain Relief Strap

Leading Edge Homes - Missing Strain Relief Strap

Missing strain relief strap can cause “accidental” damage to the water heater wiring.

Problem 3 – Pool Pump is Missing Ground Wire

Leading Edge Homes - Missing Ground Wire

This is extremely dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Don’t swim in a pool where the pump is not grounded.

This shocking experience can happen to you…

Look what happened to these young children (this video is graphic) when a pool was not properly grounded.

Problem 4 – There is a Hole in the Wall and It is For the Electric

Leading Edge Homes - A Wire Through the Wall

The hole in the wall to get electric power is not only a violation of the electric code, it is an invitation to insects and water to get inside your home!

If you want to run power to something that is outside of your house, drilling a hole in the exterior wall to run a plug through it is not the way to do it!

Neither is painting the wire to match the exterior color a good way to hide it from the trained eyes of a home inspector.

IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT – NOT!!!

After more than 25 years of serving South Florida, I have seen many things.  Even when my daughter bought her first home, I found many electrical code violations and told her she would need to have the items repaired.

The seller would not negotiate on the price and I explained to her she had to consider the repairs as part of the cost of the home.

My recommendation to the buyer who asked me to do the home inspection is to negotiate with the seller. Only the buyer can determine if they want the home as-is, if they want to do the repairs themselves, or if they will allow the owner of the home to do any of the repairs.

Although the seller and his real estate agent want to argue that the electric works, the buyer must remember – safety first.  The main purpose of codes is to define the minimum, SAFE way of doing things.  Can anyone really argue against life safety?

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvetment project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.