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Here’s why new construction buyers should always order a home inspection.

If you’re purchasing new construction, you absolutely still need to schedule a home inspection.

Many people assume that because they’re buying new construction, the builder will do everything right, the county or city will go out to the property regularly, and there are different checks for the permits along the way. That’s not true, though. Everybody is human, and mistakes happen during the new construction process, which is why it’s highly advisable to have an independent set of eyes checking on the property on your behalf. 

I recommend that all of my new construction buyers order at least three inspections along the way: the footings, framing, and final inspection. For the footings and framing inspections, I recommend hiring a structural engineer. Sometimes a home inspector will do a footings inspection, but it’s rare that they’ll do a framing inspection.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s well worth the peace of mind to know that your i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed.”

The footings are poured after the site is cleared, and they support the foundation. A structural engineer will evaluate the placement of the footings against the building plans and measure their depth and width (also known as the “projection”). I’m always thrilled when I get a report back from the structural engineer that everything’s fine, but that doesn’t always happen. If the projections are off, for example, your walls wouldn’t sit properly. 

The framing inspection is also called the pre-drywall inspection. Once the framing goes up, the builder will install the plumbing pipes and pull the electrical before putting up the drywall. Before the drywall goes up is the only time you can see inside the walls and know where everything is. This is the second time the structural engineer will come in, look at the building plans, and let you know if everything’s okay. Again, I’m thrilled when this report comes back clean, but sometimes it doesn’t. I have a client who’s building a house that just got their framing inspection done, and the report came back with four pages’ worth of issues that needed to be taken care of. 

Once the builder has received a certificate of occupancy, the electricity is on, and all systems are up and running, it’s time for the final inspection. There are so many parts to the new construction process that it just makes sense to have another independent evaluation. 

At this point, you might be asking yourself how much these inspections cost, but they’re not that expensive. As far as I’m concerned, it’s money very well spent. The footings and framing inspections should cost between $400 to $500, and the cost of the final home inspection varies based on the size and age of the house. If it’s a 2,500-square-foot house, for instance, it should cost you anywhere from $500 to $550. In the grand scheme of things, it’s well worth the peace of mind to know that your i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed. 

If you have questions about the new construction process or there’s anything else I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help.

Q: What’s the Best Strategy for Today’s Buyers?

Q: What’s the Best Strategy for Today’s Buyers?

Here are three tips that will help you craft a winning strategy as a buyer.

 

Our real estate market is red-hot, and even homes that still need a little work done are generating multiple offers and selling for far over list price. As a buyer, you absolutely must sit down with your agent and come up with a plan of attack before shopping for homes. 

“You need to adjust your thinking and look in a lower price range so you can be competitive as a buyer.”

What’s the best strategy to get the home you want? Here are a few important tips to consider:

1. Do not look at the top of your price range. Considering that homes are selling for $10,000 to $50,000 over list price, you need to adjust your thinking and look in a lower price range so you can actually be competitive as a buyer. 

2. Put down a significant amount of due diligence money. Also, shorten your due diligence period as much as possible. Better yet, make a strong offer with no due diligence period at all (which basically means you’re buying the house as is). If you want to better understand the North Carolina Residential Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement and terms like ‘due diligence period,’ please refer to previous videos I’ve done on this subject. 

3. Consider waiving the appraisal contingency. With homes being bid up so high, more and more sellers want buyers to waive the appraisal contingency. As a reminder, when you use a loan to buy a house, the loan is based on whichever number is lower: the purchase price or the appraised value. If the appraisal comes in lower, you as the buyer have to make up the difference. I’m seeing a lot of buyers waiving their appraisal contingency, but thankfully, I’m also seeing a lot of appraisers making their appraisals work. They understand that our market is defined by buyers’ willingness to pay, and they’re going out and finding the comps to make transactions work. 

Aside from these tips, the best advice I can give you is to create a winner’s mindset for yourself. That way, you can go out and win!

If you’d like to know more about how to compete as a buyer in a seller’s market or have any other real estate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.

Q: Should Sellers Get an Inspection Before Selling?

Q: Should Sellers Get an Inspection Before Selling?

I am an advocate for sellers getting a pre-inspection before they sell.

 

I’ve been practicing real estate for well over 20 years, I list many homes each year, and I am a strong proponent for sellers getting an inspection before they list their house for sale. It allows sellers to choose which repairs they want to make, and decide which ones are minor enough to disregard. In North Carolina, the Offer to Purchase contract is very easy for buyers to terminate, so the more issues you can take off the table, the better. You don’t want buyers to even consider terminating. 

 

One thing buyers get very uneasy about is significant repairs that need to be mended. It’s all about disclosure; buyers will feel more at ease knowing the home is in good condition. It’s best when we can do the buyer’s due diligence for them. If you get a pre-inspection and it comes out well, buyers may not even get one done themselves. They might just have their inspector check the repairs to ensure they were done properly. If you have a pre-sale inspection, you have more control.

 

“The more issues you can take off the table, the better.”

 

As an example, I just had buyers that put a house under contract that did not have a pre-sale inspection. Our inspector came out of the crawl space and said that it was basically a disaster. So my buyers are, understandably, terminating. The seller could have headed that off at the pass; if he knew there were problems in the crawl space, he could have fixed all or most of them, and the buyers would have felt much better about the property. 

 

If we can be of any help to you at all, whether you have questions or need advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone or email. We’re always glad to help. I hope you found this information helpful; I’m going to keep these videos coming.

Q: How Should You Pay Your Mortgage?

Q: How Should You Pay Your Mortgage?

Here’s why I advise paying your mortgage on a bi-weekly basis.

 

If you’re like most people, you pay your mortgage every month. What would happen if you paid on a bi-weekly basis, though? By this, I mean paying half of your monthly total every two weeks. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, this would result in 26 half-payments rather than 24. Thus, it’s a relatively easy way to make a 13th mortgage payment each year. By making this extra payment, you can save thousands of dollars in interest and reduce your principal much faster. 

 

“I’m a proponent of the bi-weekly approach or at least trying to make that 13th payment each year if you can.”

 

For example, let’s say you have a $250,000, 30-year fixed loan at a 4% interest rate. If you made bi-weekly payments, you’d save $30,000 in interest over the life of the loan and pay your mortgage off five years faster. Even if you were in the house for seven years, you’d still save thousands in interest and pay off about $10,000 more in principal, which gives you more equity when you sell. 

 

Personally, I’m a proponent of the bi-weekly approach, or at least trying to make that 13th payment each year if you can. 

 

Remember, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help.

Q: What’s Our Recommended Pricing Strategy?

Here’s why we recommend underpricing your home slightly when selling.

 

As of July 2020, both new listings and closed sales are down in the Triangle area. However, median and average prices are up. 

 

Closed sales are down about 11.8% in Chapel Hill and median prices are up 5.7%. The average days on market has gone up to about 42. In Durham, new listings are down 8.3%, and median prices are up about 5.6%. The average time on market for homes here is just 22 days.

 

“Underpricing brings attention and competition.”

 

What’s the best strategy for pricing your house in today’s hot seller’s market? With such low inventory in our area, there isn’t a lot for buyers to choose from. Even though we’re in a seller’s market, pushing your price way up can work against you. If buyers think a house is overpriced, they will often walk away. 

 

They’d rather bid on a home with a fairer price. That’s why we need to underprice your home slightly, knowing that the buyers will come out and start a bidding war. We’ve been seeing houses sell for $30,000 to $40,000 above the list price in some cases. That’s the best advice I can give you today.

 

If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Q: What Should You Do Before You Sell?

Q: What Should You Do Before You Sell?

Selling your home isn’t easy, but it’s much more simple when you follow these tips. 

 

If you’re in the market to sell your home, there are seven things that you absolutely must do to accomplish your goals of selling quickly and for the highest price possible:

 

1. Detach yourself from the home. Start to think of your home as more of a product than a home. It will help you make better decisions when you’re preparing it for the Triangle real estate market.

 

2. Hire a strong listing agent. They will be able to tell you what you need to do to get ready. They should either have really strong staging skills themselves or work with a professional stager.

 

3. Maximize your curb appeal. Your curb appeal is a term for how your Triangle home looks when a buyer pulls up to the curb. If there is something off right away, buyers will start to wonder if there are other problems inside the home.

 

4. Use up-to-date paint colors. Your agent and/or stager should be able to help you pick the right colors that match your home and appeal to the highest amount of buyers possible.

 

5. Replace your carpet. It’s amazing what new carpet can do to a home in the eyes of buyers.

 

6. Stage your home for buyers. We don’t live in our home like we would stage our home. When it’s time to sell, you need to stage it to sell because it truly does make a difference.

 

7. Pricing your home right the first time. When you’re looking at comparable homes that are listed for sale on the Triangle MLS, look at those pictures and compare them to your home. Pricing is an art form, not a science. Pricing right off the bat will make the most difference because that’s when most buyers will see your house.

 

If you have questions about getting your home ready for sale or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.

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