The latest from Elon Musk’s clean energy empire
Tesla’s plans to make solar panels have been known for years. The company is constructing a factory in Buffalo, NY, specifically to produce Tesla solar panels, but until recently not much more was known about their plans.
In April 2017, the much-discussed solar panel product was finally revealed, but the company didn’t announce it with the fanfare usually reserved for Tesla product releases. Instead, the Tesla Energy website was quietly updated to include a page specifically dedicated to solar panelsalongside its other energy products like the Powerwall and Tesla solar roof.
Tesla solar panel technology: what we know so far
Tesla hasn’t released detailed technical information about their solar panels. What we do know, however, is that at the end of 2016 Tesla finalized a manufacturing agreement with Panasonic. While relatively new to the U.S. market, Panasonic’s solar panel technology is some of the most efficient on the market in 2018. If Tesla’s panels use similar technology, they will likely be anywhere from 19% to 21% efficient, placing them among other premium solar panel manufacturers.
What we don’t know yet is how much Tesla solar panels will cost. Recent research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has found that large installers like SolarCity (Tesla’s solar brand) typically price their products at a premium of 10 to 20 percent when compared to smaller local installers. Considering Tesla’s history as a manufacturer of high-end automobiles, it’s safe to assume that their new line of solar products will be significantly more expensive than a standard solar PV system.
We also don’t know exactly when these panels will hit the market. The company currently has a form available on its website to request a custom quote. According to Electrek, which was the first news site to note the launch of Tesla solar panels, the new Panasonic/Tesla panels will go into production at Tesla’s Buffalo factory in the summer of 2017.
It’s worth noting that the solar panels revealed on Tesla’s website are a distinct product that’s wholly different from the Tesla solar roof announced in October 2016. The solar roof is an integrated solar tile roofing system, which has a striking look but can be more complicated to retrofit on existing homes. Tesla’s solar panels, by comparison, are better suited for a standard solar installation that can be affixed to an existing roof.
What makes Tesla low profile solar panels different?
One striking difference between Tesla’s new solar panel product and other solar panels is how they look on the roof. Images of Tesla’s solar panels portray a product with a sleek all-black finish, consistent with Tesla’s reputation for impressive design. However, Tesla isn’t the only company that offers an all-black solar panel – premium panel manufacturers LG and SunPowerhave been producing black panels for years, as has Tesla’s new manufacturing partner, Panasonic.
What is more distinct is the design of the system as a whole. The Tesla website states, “Our solar panels blend into your roof with integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware.” SolarCity (Tesla’s solar brand) acquired Zep Solar, a company that manufactures low-profile solar panel mounts, back in 2013. The upcoming Tesla solar panel system will likely includes a version of Zep’s previous mounting design.
The system also includes “skirts” that create a beveled edge wrapping around the solar panel installation, which makes the system appear visually more integrated into the roof. While neither the skirt nor the low-profile mounting panels are Tesla-exclusive innovations, it’s clear that Tesla has dedicated significant resources to creating an aesthetically pleasing panel installation.
Should you wait for Tesla solar panels?
The real question, now that the first glimpses of Tesla’s new solar panels have been revealed to the public, is whether you should wait for them to hit the market before going solar.
First and foremost, no homeowner should make a final decision on their solar purchase without comparing multiple offers from different solar installers. Use a website like the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to find qualified solar companies near you and get quotes to give you an idea of what solar costs in your area.
If you’re familiar with the Tesla brand, then you already know the company is notorious for production delays, most famously with the Model X. While Tesla states that the first panels will be produced this upcoming summer, the reality is that we have no way of knowing when exactly they will become available. Depending on your priorities, waiting may be worth it, but know that you could be leaving major electricity bill reductions on the table.
If you’re a diehard Tesla fan willing to wait it out and pay a price premium, it may be worth waiting until the new Tesla solar panels eventually hit the market. However, there are other companies that manufacture all-black panels today, including Panasonic, the very company that’s producing Tesla’s solar panels. When you join EnergySage, simply request quotes that include all-black solar panels so that you understand how much of a price premium you’ll actually pay, and how that impacts your long-term solar savings. You can even request all-black Panasonic solar panels when you join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today.
MARCH 16, 2018 by SARA MATASCI.
House flipping is on the rise despite high home prices, CoreLogic reports.
As anyone who regularly watches Flip or Flop already knows, house flipping is on the rise, and a new report from property data developer CoreLogic confirms this.
An analysis of public records found that the ratio of flipped properties to sales reached 6.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018, the highest it’s been since the first quarter of 2013 when home prices first started rebounding after the financial collapse. Directly after the crash in 2005, the ratio of flipped properties to sales climbed over 8 percent.
Flipping — defined in the report as the act of acquiring a home then selling it within 12 months — is a different business now than it was right after the crash, CoreLogic found.
“The first time it reached this level after the housing crash, home prices had just started to recover, and there were still a considerable number of distressed properties on the market,” the report states. “However, the flipping dynamics have changed over time. The share of distressed properties sold has declined significantly, from 30 percent in January 2013 to 4.4 percent at the end of 2017.”
Home prices in some areas of the country have already passed the peak high values they reached before the crash, and valuations are showing no sign of slowing down.
“High acquisition cost, tight inventory and rising flipping activities together point to possible speculation: investors are betting on continuous home price growth,” the report said.
By Patrick Kearns
Big news! A recent study by the National Association of Realtors shows that Millennials make up the highest percentage of home buyers nationwide. Younger buyers have specific taste so it’s critical if you’re selling your home to prepare your home to appeal to millennial home buyers. Even though it may not be the way you currently live in your home, or even the way you will decorate your next home, this approach can net you more money at the end of the day. So, how does one prepare their home to appeal to millennial home buyers? We have a comprehensive plan we reserve specifically for our listings, but here is a sampling of our insider secrets!
6 Steps Approach to Millennial Home Buyers
All of these are great ways to help your home appeal to millennial home buyers. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our goal is to help you minimize your expenses and maximize your profit. That’s why we will look at each home with a different eye to determine who the most likely buyer is and what they are looking for in their next home. We’ll create a custom plan so you’ll know you’re in good hands.
The real estate market is always changing. With that, the real estate pricing psychology is changing as well. The final sales price for your home will be determined by the market at the time your home is presented to the marketplace.
These market factors include competition from other sellers in and outside your neighborhood as well as local and national economic conditions. Much like the stock market, home prices are not lasting, as values are always fluid.
It is important to remember that the real estate pricing psychology plays a big role in determining the value of your home. At the end of the day, agents and sellers set a list price but buyers determine the value based on the marketplace.
What impacts pricing psychology?
The first 48 hours your home is on the market are critical. Agents and potential buyers will first scrutinize your home online. Ninety percent of house hunters will see your home online before they step through the door. They will review five factors to see if your home matches their criteria:
How to know if you have the right strategy?
Within minutes, buyers will form an opinion of your home based on these five factors. You can control only three of these factors: price, condition, and access. If your home does not reflect the criteria of current buyers, it will become evident in the first two weeks on the market.
If you receive an offer in the first two weeks, your home is priced within the market. If your home is having a good number of showings but no offers, it is probably priced above the market by 5%. If it is receiving few showings and only drivebys and online views, it is likely above the market by 10-15%.
This is why it is so important to price the home properly at the outset – when it is likely to receive the most online views. The quicker the offer, the higher the sales price.
How do we help?
We will decide together the price at which your home will be presented. We will base the list on the sales of comparable sold properties in your area, available properties, the condition in which you would like to present your home, the physical attributes you can’t change, its location, and how easily agents and their buyers can access your home.
Most importantly, we will review the current market and buyers’ expectations considering market trends and the real estate pricing psychology.
We want you to make an informed decision that will result in a sale that provides you with the best price the market will provide at the time you need to sell. Together, we will work to find the price that serves your best interests.
Thinking about putting your home on the market?
Downsizing—or the process of moving from a larger home to a smaller one—is a major life transition that many people of all ages undergo. Downsizing may be necessitated by financial concerns, or it may be chosen due to a change in circumstances, such as moving in with a significant other, retiring, relocating from the suburbs to the city, or just being enticed by the simplicity of a smaller home. Regardless of the reason, the process of downsizing may evoke mixed emotions, like stress and sadness alongside excitement and relief.
Are you thinking about taking the momentous step of downsizing your home? Here are a few strategies for minimizing the chaos and ensuring a smooth transition for your family:
Start paring down your belongings as early as possible.
Since downsizing typically involves moving to a home with less storage space, getting rid of furniture and personal possessions is one of the most important—and most daunting—steps in the process. As your moving date approaches, the pressure may cause you to hastily toss things that you wanted to keep. The key to avoiding this is to begin the long process of sorting through your belongings as soon as you make the decision to downsize.
Divide your possessions into clear categories.
As you decide which items will make it to your new home, it may help to categorize them by items that you must keep, those that you would like to keep but could live without, and those that you are willing to sell, throw out, or donate to charity. As you make these difficult decisions, ask yourself what you would take with you if your home were threatened by an encroaching fire and you only had 30 minutes to pack your possessions and leave. This will help you quickly discern which items are most important—and which could be replaced once you are settled in your new home.
Use technology to preserve memories.
Taking a picture of items with sentimental value—such as old photos or letters—will help you preserve them in perpetuity without having to haul the hard copies along on your move. Ensure that the pictures you take of these items are properly saved on a cloud-based storage system in order to minimize the risk of losing anything.
Choose furniture and other objects with multiple purposes.
Living in a smaller home requires that each item that takes up space should serve as many functions as possible. For example, look for tables with drawers and cabinets underneath, sleeper sofas, or ottomans with removable lids that reveal storage space inside.
Measure the dimensions of your furniture.
If your new home has smaller rooms, your existing furniture may seem oversized and cause the room to feel crowded. Knowing the exact dimensions of your furniture as you embark on your home search will help you plan the layouts of your new rooms—and get a better idea of how much you really need to get rid of
If you are overwhelmed, consider working with a professional organizer.
Downsizing is a big step, and consulting an experienced professional will help you sort through your possessions—and the emotions tied to them—so that you can have an easy transition and happy lifestyle in your new home.
You probably don’t think much about the trees on a home’s property unless they pose an immediate threat to the structure. But you may not be aware of how much value trees hold and how they can affect the price of your listing. John Palmer, an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, reveals the true benefits and liabilities of trees, what buyers should look for in home landscaping, and what sellers can do to protect the value of their trees.
Can trees actually affect the property value of a home?
Each mature tree in the landscaping of a home has the potential to increase property value. (The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station says the planting of a tree in the front yard increases a home’s value by an average of $7,130.) Studies have found that one surprising benefit of trees is that neighborhoods with greater tree canopy have lower crime rates—which has a direct impact on property values. But think about this: When a tree is on the south or southwest side of a house, it shades the home in summer, provides a wind screen, reduces temperatures, and lowers cooling costs. When a tree sheds its leaves in winter, there’s more sunlight on the house. That translates to real value where home energy costs are concerned. If you want to know the value a particular tree adds to your property, you can go to the National Tree Benefit Calculator and plug in the species and size of the tree and your ZIP code. For example, the calculator shows that in the Midwest, an elm tree 30 inches in diameter provides $345 in annual benefits to a homeowner.
Are there myths that buyers and sellers believe about trees?
Some people are scared of trees—especially big ones—falling onto their house. But that’s about as likely as an airplane crash: It makes headlines, but realistically, it doesn’t happen very often. Trees can fall when their root systems are compromised by decay, or, if there are many days of rain, extreme wind events can cause the roots to pull out of the lubricated soil. People also think trees damage sewers, but generally, trees don’t create the problem. If a 75-year-old drainage system starts to break down, the tree roots will go where the moisture is. If the system is intact, a tree is far less likely to bother it. Another thing to be aware of is not to compact the soil around a tree. The roots absorb oxygen from the soil and give off carbon dioxide. So if the soil is compacted too densely without room for air or water space, it can cause the tree’s health to decline, making it more susceptible to other risk factors. That’s why it’s important not to compact the soil, say, by driving a vehicle on it.
What should home sellers know about their trees before listing?
They can contact a certified arborist—ask if they have attained the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification—who can provide a report attesting to their trees’ health. Recently, one of my customers decided it was time to move, since she’s now an empty nester. She had a glorious 200-year-old bur oak. I wrote an assessment of the tree and gave it a clean bill of health, citing a well-developed root flare and no dieback in the branching. The homeowner and her real estate agent said the letter helped put potential buyers at ease; they think it helped speed up the selling process.
What tree maintenance practices should homeowners follow?
You should have the dead wood taken out so you don’t have a branch drop on your roof or garage. The best time to evaluate the structure of a tree is after the leaves have fallen because you can see the branching more clearly. The single most important thing you can do is water a tree, especially if there’s been no rain for a couple weeks. Just put the hose on a slow trickle at the base of the tree, go in and make dinner, and then come turn it off. For more advice, check out the Tree Owner’s Manual from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
What signs of tree problems should buyers and sellers be aware of?
Monitor dead or dying branches and mushrooms on the trunk, which indicates decay. However, some things might look scary but actually aren’t. Maple tar fungus causes big black spots on the leaves. It can appear during humid conditions, but it’s purely cosmetic. It looks bad, but it’s not going to harm the tree. On the other hand, some things might look nice that are actually damaging. Piling a volcano of mulch around the base of the trunk is extremely bad for trees. Roots grow upward into the mulch and can start to choke each other. Lay on no more than two inches of mulch, and don’t let it touch the trunk. Trunks are meant to be dry; roots are meant to be wet.
How does a homeowner know when a tree should come down?
Firstly, don’t rely on your own personal assessment. That’s what professionals are for. Basically, you’re looking for decay: cavities, holes, and branches that are splitting or cracking. If a tree hasn’t grown leaves in a year, it may have to come down. What I look for is the target: What will it hit if it falls? If it’s in a backyard where there’s no target, it’s generally not a problem. But the same tree in a different scenario might be a risk. If an old, decaying tree is right on a corner lot across from a school where kids are walking every day, it becomes a high-risk tree.
Are there trees that actually are less valuable because of their placement on property?
You can put a tree in a place where you’re not getting the benefits. If you plant a big tree on the north side of your house, it’s your neighbor to the north who gets the shade.
How do you know who’s responsible for a tree that spills over onto the neighbor’s property?
If the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property and a branch falls in your yard, it’s your responsibility to clean it up. And vice versa. You can legally trim tree branches that overhang your property, but you need to make sure you don’t damage the tree or cause structural instability, or you could be liable for monetary damages. Laws on this vary from state to state.
What other advice can a real estate professional give a new homeowner?I think one of the first things you should do when you buy a new home is plant a tree, because it needs time to grow. When it comes time to sell again, the bigger the tree, the more valuable it is. But remember that when you plant a tree, you have to think about the mature size of the tree. Placement is crucial. You don’t want to put a big evergreen six feet from your foundation. If you’re not sure, get a professional assessment.
Credits NAR - DECEMBER 2017 | BY BETH FRANKEN
Househunters, before you can start the “fun” part of searching for and touring potential homes, you must take the very important step of getting pre-approved for a mortgage (assuming, of course, you’re not paying cash for the home).
The first step is finding an experienced and trusted Realtor to guide you through this process. Your Realtor will be able to walk you through the pre-approval process step by step and even connect you with proven lenders they know and trust.
Did you know that many Realtors will not even look at offers (and sometimes even showing requests) from buyers without pre-approval. For that reason, agents are often reluctant to take clients out on tours before they have gone through the pre-approval process.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Your first step is to find an experienced, local lender to start the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. We are happy to help you with this step! The pre-approval process is actually quite simple and can usually happen in a 20-30 minute phone call or meeting. The option for online pre-approval exists, but it’s usually easier to have a call or meeting so the lender can get all of the needed answers while also gathering your personal information.
THE PRE-APPROVAL PROCESS
What is covered in this initial consultation? The lender will ask about your your current income, assets, and liabilities. They will also want to discuss your real estate goals so that they can tailor a mortgage to fit your needs.
Here’s a list of documents you will need for a lender to verify your income and assets for pre-approval:
If you’re just starting to think about a new home, take the first step of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, today. It’s much easier than people realize! Be sure to use a trusted, local lender who is responsive, creative, and works evenings and weekends, to help get you into your dream home.
Ready to start the process? Book a buyers consultation.
Proactive is the buzzword when addressing both cosmetic and mechanical components of a listing. It's always best to take time in making the repairs beforehand, rather than correcting items as potential buyers spot them.
It's that time of year again, the 2018 selling season is upon us. If you have clients getting ready to put their home on the market, the task list to prep for the market can seem endless. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a home maintenance list for you of ten things sellers should do before putting that for sale sign in the ground.
The sun is peeking out and the plants are starting to blossom, so it must be about time for spring chores again. Here’s an annual spring checklist of important issues to tend to around the house.
1. Roofing repairs: If you suspect winter storms may have damaged your roof, it needs to be inspected. (If you’re not comfortable with the height or steepness of your roof, hire a licensed roofing contractor for the inspection.) Look for missing or loose shingles, including ridge-cap shingles.
Examine the condition of the flashings around chimneys, flue pipes, vent caps, and anyplace where the roof and walls intersect. Look for overhanging trees that could damage the roof in a wind storm, as well as buildups of leaves and other debris.
If you have roof damage in a number of areas, or if older shingles makes patching impractical, consider having the entire roof redone. Also, remember that if the shingles have been damaged by wind or by impact from falling tree limbs, the damage may be covered by your homeowners insurance.
2. Check gutters and downspouts: Look for areas where the fasteners may have pulled loose, and for any sags in the gutter run. Also, check for water stains that may indicate joints that have worked loose and are leaking. Clean leaves and debris to be ready for spring and summer rains.
3. Fences and gates: Fence posts are especially susceptible to groundwater saturation, and will loosen up and tilt if the soil around them gets soaked too deeply. Check fence posts in various areas by wiggling them to see how solidly embedded they are. If any are loose, wait until the surrounding soil has dried out, then excavate around the bottom of the posts and pour additional concrete to stabilize them. Replace any posts that have rotted.
4. Clear yard debris and clean pool: Inspect landscaping for damage, especially trees. If you see any cracked, leaning or otherwise dangerous conditions with any of your trees, have a licensed, insured tree company inspect and trim or remove them as needed. Clean up leaves, needles, small limbs and other material that has accumulated. Do any spring pruning that’s necessary. Remove and dispose of all dead plant material so it won’t become a fire hazard as it dries. Be sure to have your pool maintenance company service the pool and correct any PH balance.
5. Fans and air conditioners: Clean and check the operation of cooling fans, air conditioners and whole-house fans. Shut the power to the fan, remove the cover and wash with mild soapy water, then clean out dust from inside the fan with a shop vacuum — do not operate the fan with the cover removed.
Check outdoor central air conditioning units for damage or debris buildup, and clean or replace any filters. Check the roof or wall caps where the fan ducts terminate to make sure they are undamaged and well sealed. Check dampers for smooth operation.
6. Check and adjust sprinklers: Run each set of in-ground sprinklers through a cycle, and watch how and where the water is hitting. Adjust or replace any sprinklers that are hitting your siding, washing out loose soil areas, spraying over foundation vents, or in any other way wetting areas on and around your house that shouldn’t be getting wet.
7. Check vent blocks and faucet covers: As soon as you’re comfortable that the danger of winter freezing is over, remove foundation vent blocks or open vent covers to allow air circulation in the crawl space. While removing the vent covers, check the grade level around the foundation vents. Winter weather can move soil and create buildups or grade problems that will allow groundwater to drain through the vents into the crawl space, so regrade as necessary. Remove outdoor faucet covers. Turn on the water supply to outdoor faucets if it’s been shut off.
8. Prepare yard tools: Replace broken or damaged handles, and clean and condition metal parts. Tighten fittings and fasteners, sharpen cutting tools and mower blades, and service engines and belts in lawn mowers and other power equipment. Properly maintain equipment will ensure safely and efficiency.
9. Change furnace and AC filters: Now is the time to replace furnace filters that have become choked with dust from the winter heating season. This is especially important if you have central air conditioning, or if you utilize your heating system’s fan to circulate air during the summer.
10. Check smoke detectors: Daylight Savings Time snuck up early again this year, and that’s usually the semi-annual reminder to check your smoke alarms. So if you haven’t already done it, now’s the time. Replace the batteries, clean the covers, and test the detector’s operation before it’s too late.
If you have gas-fired appliances in the house, add a carbon monoxide detector as well (or check the operation of your existing one). CO2 detectors are inexpensive and easy to install, and are available at most home centers and other retailers of electrical parts and supplies.
Tips courtesy of Inman News
Home staging versus interior design: What's the difference? And which one do you need? While both share the goal of making your home look its best (and many pros offer both services), each serves a very distinct purpose. Here are some questions to ask to help you decide which one is right for you.
Are you selling your home soon, or staying put?To begin, consider whether you're planning a move in the near future. If a sale is on your mind, a home staging company is the right choice.
"Home staging is all about prepping your house so it will appeal to as many buyers as possible," explains Dessie Sliekers of Slick Designs.
Home staging can include changing out paint colors, adding new pictures and artwork, and bringing in furniture and accessories. This service is generally viewed as a temporary one that's done in order to garner bids and result in a sale.
But if you're settled into your home for the foreseeable future, an interior designer would be more suitable. "An interior designer is knowledgeable about building construction, remodeling, and structural details," says Sara Chiarilli, a designer with Artful Conceptions in Tampa, FL. While a designer may also offer home staging services, this professional offers a much broader range of services, from complete overhauls (ripping out walls, installing new flooring) to simple color updates (paint, carpet, drapes, upholstery). "A designer will create a beautiful, functional space for her client that will last," Chiarilli says.
Do you want to express your personal style, or fetch top dollar when you sell?
Home staging often has pretty rigid sales tactics (e.g., rolling three towels just so in the powder room, or displaying shiny green apples on the dining table nearly every time). This isn't to say there aren't different approaches to home staging, but the majority of a stager's tweaks will be impersonal and on the generic side. "A home staging company is concerned with placing furniture to best sell the property and won't necessarily take into account what the client really likes," says Chiarilli. Sliekers agrees: "With home staging, you'll receive firm suggestions."
The upside, however, is that on average, a staged property sells 88% faster and for 20% more than a non-staged one. Hire an interior designer, on the other hand, and you get a lot more creative control. Do you want a bright-green laundry room and a tricked-out master bath? A designer will work to meet your needs. "This professional operates as your partner to handle paint consultation, light fixtures, improved plumbing, new furniture, finishes, artwork, and rugs—all of which is approved by the client," says Sliekers.
Are you on a tight budget, or want to spend big?
You can spend up to $500 per room if your budget allows. However steep that may seem, an interior designer will charge more—anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour, depending on her expertise. "Staging tends to be cheaper because it's usually a one-time consultation, sometimes paired with the selection of rental furnishings or artwork," says Sliekers. Interior design, on the other hand, is a much more expansive service, so that's reflected in the price.
By Jennifer Geddes Realtor Magazine
Steve Wadlington, president of WIN Home Inspection, explains how sellers can avoid potential conflict with buyers and gain an edge in negotiations.
In the typical real estate transaction, the buyer is the one to order a home inspection. But sellers, too, can request a professional assessment of their home before putting it on the market. A pre-listing inspection provides sellers with upfront information about the condition of their property, which gives them more control over repairs and potentially strengthens their negotiating position.
Few sellers take advantage of this opportunity, according to Steve Wadlington, president of national home inspection services company WIN Home Inspection. “I don’t expect pre-listing inspections to become mainstream in my lifetime,” he says. Lack of awareness contributes to the underutilization, Wadlington adds, but he also acknowledges that sellers may be reluctant to spend the money for such services.
Additionally, sellers and their agents have a legal duty to disclose to buyers any property issues that are revealed in a pre-inspection report. REALTOR® Magazine spoke with Wadlington about how pre-listing inspections can boost home sales and help sellers defend their asking price.
Are there any differences between a pre-listing inspection and a buyer’s inspection?
The only differences are the customer for whom the inspection is being conducted—in this case it’s the seller, not the buyer—and the point when the inspection occurs. The scope of the inspection is the same. A pre-listing inspection focuses on proper functionality of all major systems and components of the house: heating and cooling; electrical; plumbing; roof and structure; siding; and doors and windows. It’s a full inspection for the seller to better understand the condition of their home prior to the buyer’s inspection. This gives the seller important information to consider so they’re not caught off-guard in the midst of a transaction.
How much does a typical pre-listing inspection cost?
The fee is usually the same as a buyer’s inspection, generally ranging from $350 to $500 for a qualified inspector who carries E&O insurance. Of course, the price varies based on location, square footage, age of the home, and any special conditions, such as whether the home is built on a steep incline.
Why should a seller do an inspection, particularly if the buyer is going to do one anyway?
The value to the seller is that a pre-listing inspection makes them aware of issues in advance of negotiating a purchase agreement, allowing them the chance to resolve the issues or have them accounted for upfront in the asking price. This gives the seller better control in marketing their home and helps minimize stress from heat-of-the-moment negotiations once a purchase agreement is tendered. Homes that have a pre-listing inspection generally sell faster and have fewer inspection-related issues to negotiate, enabling a smoother transaction.
What should a seller do if a pre-listing inspection uncovers significant problems in the home?It’s always better for everyone to know about major inspection issues as soon as possible. Once they’re identified, they can be carefully assessed for proper resolution. Depending on the nature of the issue, a seller shouldn’t automatically assume that everything needs to be fixed before putting the home on the market. Their real estate professional should advise whether the repairs are necessary to the viability of the sale. Regardless of who owns the property, issues of concern to the buyer will need to be dealt with somehow, and the associated cost of the resolution is a consideration for both the buyer and seller.
If the seller doesn’t want to pay for repairs, what solace does a pre-listing inspection give to the buyer?
For many buyers, being provided forthcoming inspection information has both tangible and emotional value. They’re made aware of issues identified in the inspection report, which gives them more facts to work with, and then they’re provided subsequent clarity on which issues have been or will be resolved as part of the transaction. Sellers who proactively disclose pre-listing issues give buyers proper awareness to factor them into their offers.
Can pre-listing inspections help real estate professionals when marketing a home?
The more information agents can provide to give buyers peace of mind, the better it is for the sale. A pre-listing inspection can also reinforce the seller’s asking price. It enables agents to explain how the inspection report—plus any repairs that were made before listing—helped the sellers arrive at the home’s value. At WIN, we also provide a “Ready for Purchase” sign rider to identify the house as one that has pre-listing inspection information available. It’s similar to what the auto industry has done with marketing certified used cars.
What about sellers who don’t see the sense in paying for an inspection?Actually, a pre-listing inspection can ultimately save money for sellers in two ways. First, by being aware of and disclosing known property issues upfront, the seller can make it known that consideration for those items has already been factored into the sales price. That effectively takes these issues off the negotiation table. Second, the seller can choose to repair the issues prior to listing, which gives them more control over repair costs.
Should a seller offer the entire pre-listing inspection report to a buyer or just a summary? How much detail is necessary?
I think this is a situational consideration, where sellers should consult with their real estate professional. The industry has evolved such that it is reasonable to view the inspection summary as containing all of the important need-to-know items found in the full report. Since the real goal here is to ensure transparency and awareness, the summary should be adequate to achieve that. Depending on the length and complexity of the full report, as well as the technical complexity of the issues presented in the summary, I can see where a good faith effort to offer more detail could actually cause undue alarm if the buyer can’t put the information in proper perspective. But bear in mind that much of the longer report will also confirm positive functionality of the major systems and components of the home, so it can offer added positive value as well.
Wouldn’t buyers still want to do their own inspection?
Yes, absolutely. If a seller claims to have resolved issues that were uncovered in a pre-listing inspection, the buyer will want a subsequent inspection to confirm those repairs. Whether the buyer uses the same inspector that the seller used is a matter of personal preference, and there are pros and cons either way. Using the same inspector can be beneficial because their prior experience and familiarity with the home allows them to better detect changes based on a point in time. But a properly trained and certified home inspector will inspect the home for the seller or the buyer in the same manner. This person’s view of the home is objective and won’t change based on who hired them.
Credit: Graham Wood - Realtor Magazine
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