Should I Sell or Rent Out My Home?

You’re considering selling your home and moving into a new one that better suits your needs and situation. But is selling the only option on the table? Have you considered renting instead?

Selling is clearly a popular option and is usually necessary in order to take the proceeds of the sale to be put towards a new home purchase. But in some cases, renting might also be a viable option and may even make more sense.

If it’s financially possible, keeping your home can be a great way to accumulate wealth and even save for retirement. When the mortgage is fully paid off at some point in the future, you can either continue to rent out the property or sell it and pull out the equity into a lump sum.

So, should you sell your home? Or should you hang onto it while collecting rent?

There are lots definitely a lot of things to consider before you ultimately make your choice, including the following.

The Current Market

If you’re in the middle of a seller’s market, selling might be a great way to make a decent profit on the sale of your home. Depending on when you purchased and how much equity you’ve put in the home, you could stand to make a good chunk of money compared to how much you initially paid for it.

Of course, you still have to buy something, so consider what your position will be as a buyer in a seller’s market. That said, you may be moving to a completely new area with a different market temperature that is more favorable for buyers. Or, you may be downsizing into a condo or townhome. In either case, you could really make the sale work in your favor.

However, if the market is a particularly stubborn one for sellers, holding onto the property and renting it out instead can provide you with the opportunity to wait until the market will allow you to sell for a higher price within a short period of time. When the market swings back in your favor, you can then decide if you want to sell. In the meantime, you can collect rent to help cover the mortgage and other carrying costs.

Even if your rent isn’t enough to completely cover all carrying costs, you can still make up for it when you sell if prices are anticipated to rise in the near future.

Your Finances

Obviously, carrying two mortgages on two homes is not exactly financially feasible for everyone. You will have to take a hard look at your finances before deciding whether to sell or rent. You may not be approved for another mortgage without first selling your current home. This is a no-brainer and is something that should absolutely be considered before making a final decision.

Whether or Not Your Move is Permanent

Are you moving because of a job transfer with the chance to come back? If your move isn’t necessarily permanent, perhaps renting might be a good idea. In fact, it could be the cheaper of the two options if the market isn’t the greatest for selling and your rent potential is pretty hefty. Selling is an expensive endeavor, so if you can hang onto your home and rent it, this could potentially be a more financially-sound idea.

Whether or Not Rent Will Cover All Carrying Costs

If you are considering renting your home instead of selling, it’s imperative that you check what the going rent rate is like in the area for a property like yours. You may have an idea of what you’d like to rent the place out for, but if that number is not in line with what similar properties are being rented out for, you’ll have a tough time commanding the dollar figure that you’d like.

This is important because you will need to know if the rent collected will be able to adequately cover all expenses, including the mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and so forth. If you can make a little money every month, that would be ideal. Even breaking even would be helpful. But if you’re going to be in the red every month, you will need to determine whether or not you’ll be able to financially carry added debt and whether or not it’s worth it when all is said and done.

Taxes

The IRS can charge capital gains taxes on real estate, but certain exceptions apply. In order to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell, you’ll need to meet specific criteria, including the following:

  • You owned the property for a minimum of two years in the five years before selling it;
  • The property was your primary residence for two years in the five years before selling;
  • You have not been involved in any other capital gains tax exclusion for another property that you sold at least two years before selling the current property.

If you’ve only lived in your home for less than two years, it might be more difficult for you to seek exemption status to avoid paying capital gains taxes. The longer you stay in the home, the easier it will be for you to qualify for an exemption.

Keep in mind that if you do decide to rent out the home, if you choose to sell it at some point in the future, you won’t be able to claim exemption because the house will no longer be your primary residence. In this case, you’d be selling it as an investment property, which comes with different criteria if you wish to avoid paying capital gains.

That said, you would be able to depreciate the property for tax purposes if it’s a rental. The annual depreciation amount can be arrived at by dividing the amount you paid when you first bought the home – plus any expenses related to major home improvements – by 27.5, without including the value of the land the home sits on.

Being a Landlord

Even if you’ve determined that renting makes financial sense after crunching all the numbers, you may decide that being a landlord is simply not for you. The job of a landlord can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to dealing with nightmare tenants who either don’t take care of the property, are a nuisance to neighbors, or don’t pay on time.

Then, of course, there’s the responsibility of maintaining the property and collecting rent checks, both of which take a lot of time and effort. Make sure you’re up for the task and have considered everything involved with being a landlord before you choose to rent instead of sell.

The Bottom Line

The choice between selling versus renting can be a tough one to make. While renting might make sense for some homeowners who are looking to move, selling is often the best choice for many others. Be sure to carefully review your finances in great detail, assess your current and future situation, and determine whether you can handle being a landlord or if you’d much rather cut ties with your home. To help you make the right decision, be sure to discuss your choices with a trusted real estate agent who can guide you in the right direction.

What Are “Bump Clauses” and Should You Consider Putting One in Your Contract?

Real estate contracts can include any number of clauses and contingencies, and one that may not be as popular as some others is the “bump clause.”

Bump Clauses Can Benefit Both Buyers and Sellers

A bump clause is not very common, but it can be effectively used when the buyer’s offer includes a contingency to sell their current home before closing with the seller. This allows the seller to continue marketing their property for sale while still under contract with a buyer. Should the seller be able to find another buyer with a better offer, the seller can legally “bump” the original buyer.

At the same time, a bump clause can help buyers increase the odds of the seller agreeing to the contingency for the buyer to sell their current home first, as many sellers may be unwilling to entertain an offer with such a contingency. But including a bump clause gives sellers some reassurance knowing that they can effectively enter into a contract with another buyer if they’re able to find a better deal.

How Does a Bump Clause Work?

If the sellers are able to find a better offer, a bump clause gives them the opportunity to take it and bump off the original buyer. In this case, the seller must notify the original buyer and give them a specified amount of time in which to either waive the contingency to sell their current first or inform tell the seller that they’ve sold their home.

If neither one of these situations occur, the original contract will be deemed terminated. The original buyer will get their earnest deposit money back and the seller is then free to enter into a new contract with a new buyer.

Sellers are only allowed to keep their home on the market while the contingency is still in effect. Once that contingency is waived or satisfied, the seller is no longer allowed to keep marketing their property for sale.

Bump clauses are not necessarily very popular in all markets and tend to be more prevalent in markets that are starting to cool off. In hot markets, bump clauses are virtually non-existent. But in transitional markets where listings are taking a little longer to get snatched up, both buyers and sellers may find bump clauses useful.

Buyers can entice sellers to get into a contract with an otherwise unattractive home selling contingency while sellers can be put at ease knowing that they can still market their property and bump the original buyer if they find something better.

Using a Bump Clause With Caution

Bump clauses can either be included in a real estate contract by the buyer or seller, but it’s often proposed by buyers’ agents as a means of enticing the seller to accept the contingency.  That said, sellers should make sure that the home that the buyers are trying to sell will be able to sell in a reasonable amount of time.

If the seller is able to get another offer, it’s crucial to make sure that the second offer is just as strong as the original, if not stronger. The second buyer should be closely looked at in terms of financial strength and ability to secure a mortgage.

If the original buyer is notified of another offer with only a short amount of time to waive the home-sale contingency, the buyer should make sure that their home will certainly be able to sell quickly before agreeing to waive the contingency. In this case, buyers should be very careful about making a quick decision and waiving the contingency, because there is always the risk of losing their earnest deposit if they’re unable to go through with the purchase.

The Bottom Line

As always, it’s important for both buyers and sellers faced with such a unique type of contract to enlist the services of an experienced real estate agent to help them navigate these particularly tricky waters. With the help of a real estate professional, a bump clause and the home-sale contingency that usually accompanies them can work in the favor of both buyers and sellers.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Doors and Windows

How does saving a few hundred bucks every year in energy bills sound to you? Well, this doesn’t have to be a far-fetched idea if you make some simple changes to your doors and windows so they’re more energy efficient.

There are plenty of components in a home that can be real energy suckers that not only waste precious energy but can burn a hole in your pocket. Windows and doors are one of the biggies in this department, but there are ways that you can make them more energy efficient so you can save both energy and money.

Find Drafts

One of the biggest ways that windows and doors can waste energy is from gaps allowing air to escape. If you’re cooling your indoor air with the help of an air conditioner, you’re paying good money for such a service. But if a good chunk of that cooled air is escaping to the hot outdoors, you’re just wasting energy used to keep your interior comfortable – and money.

One of the first things you should do is scope out all your windows and doors and check for any drafts. Some may be obvious, but others might not be very noticeable to the naked eye. In the case of the latter, you might be able to detect any drafts by placing a wet hand all around the perimeter of the window and door openings to see if you can feel any drafts.

If not, you can use a lit candle and hold it near the edges of the windows and doors. Pay attention to any changes in the flame; if it waivers or even blows out, that’s a clear sign of a draft from a gap in the frame.

Seal Gaps

Once you’ve found any gaps, seal them. It’s pretty easy to do and can end up helping you save a ton of energy and money when all is said and done. Just take some caulking or weatherstripping and apply it around the window or door frame to seal all the gaps that are causing drafts. This will help make your windows and doors much more energy efficient.

Change Your Window and Door Frames

Upgrading your frames to energy efficient ones can help improve the efficiency of your windows and doors. Just make sure that the frames you buy are energy efficient and are rated according to such efficiency. The higher the rating, the better.

Upgrade Your Current Window Treatments

Another easy way to improve the energy efficiency of your windows is by changing the window coverings. Although the windows themselves aren’t being changed or upgraded, you can still make a significant difference in how much energy you can save in your home. The appropriate window treatments can help to keep the indoor air cool without having to overwork your air conditioner.

Cellular window shades are great choices and are probably one of the most energy-efficient window treatments available. They’re designed with a unique series of cell pockets that trap air around the windows to keep the interior cool, especially throughout the hot summer months. They’re often referred to as “honeycomb shades” because of the design shape of the cells. You may also consider hanging thermal curtains to help insulate your home, as long as they cover the windows entirely.

Add a Double Glaze

Installing a double glaze on your windows might be more involved and a little more expensive, but it can really do wonders for making your windows more energy efficient. Double-glazed windows feature two glass layers separated in the middle by a layer of air to help keep cool air in. They’re also very good at minimizing condensation and can even reduce the noise coming from outside.

To add a double glaze to your windows, you’ll need to call a professional window installer to have this done for you, as it’s not a very simple task that the average homeowner can take on as a weekend DIY project. These experts will ensure that the glaze will fit like a glove and do what it’s designed to do.

Replace Exterior Door Thresholds

Any doors leading to the exterior could be allowing cool air to escape through the threshold at the bottom of the door. These thresholds are meant to keep dirt from the outside getting into your home, but they can eventually allow air to escape over time as they start to wear down. If yours is looking a little worn, consider fixing or replacing it.

The Bottom Line

You’d be amazed at how much energy is lost because of your home’s windows and doors. By making a few adjustments and improvements, you can effectively make your windows and doors much more energy efficient, saving both energy and money spent keeping your indoor air comfortable.

Tips to Keeping Your Landscaping Healthy This Summer

California isn’t exactly known for its heaping mounds of rainfall, which can make it a bit of a challenge to keep your greenery healthy, especially in the summer. And the fact that temperatures can soar throughout the summer months can make things even more difficult for homeowners tending to their landscaping.

To help keep your greenery healthy throughout the sizzling months of the summer, keep the following tips in mind.

Add Mulch

Mulching your garden can help trap moisture and keep your plants cool and moist for longer periods of time, long after they’ve been watered. Mulch also helps to keep weeds at bay, which is important because weeds compete with plants for water. Besides, mulch looks great and can help clean up the look of your garden.

Water During the Cooler Parts of the Day

If you water your garden at peak temperature, most of the water will evaporate before it’s able to reach deep into the soil. The best time of day to water your garden is first thing in the morning long before the temperatures soar, which will help to keep your garden well hydrated throughout the day.

Keep a Consistent Watering Schedule

Certain greenery requires consistent watering in order for it to do well, including vegetable gardens and flower patches. Failure to water on a consistent basis can cause damage to your flowers, such as rotting of the blossoms and even a decline in flowering altogether. To make sure your plants are watered consistently, create a schedule to help you stay on track. If you’ve got an irrigation system, set it on a timer to run at the same time.

Keep an Eye Out For Signs of Plant Stress

Hopefully, your plants and shrubs will remain healthy throughout the year, but there may be times when they need a little more attention. To prevent any damage to your plants, be on the lookout for any signs of stress. This can include:

  • Brown leaves
  • Drooping and wilting
  • Rotting roots
  • Yellow falling leaves
  • Rolled leaves
  • Petal loss
  • Flowers that easily fall

If you notice any one of these signs, be sure to water your plants thoroughly right away. If you catch these issues early, your plants should be able to recover.

Consider Drip Irrigation

Rather than watering your garden with a sprinkler, consider installing a drip irrigation system. These types of systems can help keep your garden moist and healthy in a more efficient manner if managed properly. In California where water is a valuable commodity, conserving as much water as possible is important, and drip irrigation systems may be able to help.

These systems have been shown to be more effective at delivering water to plants as well, even more than sprinklers. Further, there tends to be less nutrient loss thanks to minimized leaching.

Choose Native Plants and Those That Don’t Require Much Watering

A simple way to keep your landscaping looking hearty throughout the summer is to simply plant species that are native to your location. Native plants require very little maintenance and water in order to maintain their health. This can help reduce the amount of time and money you spend watering.

Add Compost Regularly

Regularly adding compost to your garden’s soil can benefit it in a number of ways:

  • Add rich microorganisms
  • Help retain water more effectively
  • Add nutrients for optimal plant growth
  • Promote aeration and drainage
  • Avoid leaching by releases nutrients slowly
  • Improve soil structure

You can make your own rich compost by adding things such as vegetable peels, coffee grinds, eggshells, tea bags, grass cuttings, and plant prunings. These items break down quickly and provide both moisture and nitrogen to the soil.

Prune Your Shrubs and Trees

Regularly pruning your trees and shrubbery is important, especially during particularly dry periods, which can help effectively reduce stress on the greenery. 

Choose Slow-Release Lawn Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers that slowly release nutrients into the soil can provide added nutrients to the grass, improve soil structure, and encourage soil microbes, making your lawn less needy for water.

Mow the Grass to Proper Heights

You may be tempted to cut your grass too short in an effort to minimize the number of times you have to mow the law. But cutting too short can discourage root growth and reduce water retention. Instead, cutting to proper heights and leaving the grass blades a bit longer can keep the lawn cool and increase water retention.

The Bottom Line

Landscaping is definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. Instead, it requires regular maintenance and attention in order to ensure its vitality, especially during particularly hot and dry periods. Keep these tips in mind to make sure that your landscaping stays in pristine condition throughout the sizzling summer months!

How Long Should it Take to Sell a House?

As a seller, you’ve got clear goals: sell your home for a pretty penny, and find a buyer within a reasonable amount of time. After all, nobody wants to sit around waiting for a willing buyer any longer than they have to. The longer a home sits on the market, the more expensive the process gets, not to mention more frustrating.

But exactly how long should it take for you to sell your home? Knowing the answer to this question can make things a lot easier and more streamlined for you, especially if you’re buying another home and want the closing dates to jive.

The thing is, there are several factors that influence how long a house will take to sell, including the following.

Current Market Conditions

Different market conditions will make it easier or harder to sell, depending on the current climate. You’ve most likely heard of “buyer’s markets” and seller’s markets,” and the one that you happen to be in right now will have a strong influence on how long you can expect your home to sit on the market.

In a buyer’s market, there are usually many homes available and few buyers, making the competition fierce among sellers but favorable for buyers. In this case, it could take a bit longer to sell. On the other hand, a seller’s market means the demand for homes is high thanks to the heavy pool of buyers out there and the limited inventory for them to choose from. This scenario makes selling much easier and usually results in a faster sale.

Listing Price

One of the most important factors that goes into selling a home is the listing price. If priced right, your home should have no problem selling within a reasonable amount of time, as long as it’s in decent condition. But if you overprice your home compared to similar listings in the area, you can expect your home to linger on the market longer than it should.

Buyers go into the real estate game armed with all the information they need, including what homes in the area are worth. They’ll be less likely to spend more than they have to on a home if they know it’s not worth as much as what the current market dictates. If you want to sell quickly, make sure your home is priced appropriately.

Neighborhood

The more desirable the area, the easier it should be to sell a home. Even homes that are in rough shape can sell rather quickly if they’re located in neighborhoods that buyers are eager to get into. But areas that are not so hot can make it tougher for sellers to sell quickly.

Many factors influence the desirability of a location, including proximity to the downtown, public transit, schools, crime rates, walkability, nearby amenities, parks, and so forth.

Condition of the Home

There’s a reason why real estate agents recommend that their seller clients have their homes staged. Presentation matters, and it can have a strong influence on the impression buyers have. Buyers typically want a turn-key home so they have little to do when they move in. The better the home looks, the better the odds of finding a willing buyer more quickly.

Average Days on the Market

Every area has its associated “average days on the market,” which changes frequently. If the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your area is 30 days, for instance, then you can expect it to take that long for you too. That said, you could experience a longer or shorter sale, depending on how all other factors line up for you, such as the condition of your home and the listing price.

Luxury Home Versus Average Home

Generally speaking, luxury homes over the $1 million mark tend to take a lot longer to sell than the average home. That’s because buyers in this market tend to be much pickier with their purchase, given the high price tag. If buyers are going to spend the big bucks, everything has to be just right.

The Bottom Line

Several factors play a role in the amount of time it takes to sell a home. It’s important to weigh them all before gauging how long it will take you to seal a deal. As always, consult with your real estate agent to help you get the exact information you’re looking for.

Home-Buying Shows on TV Don’t Paint the Full Picture

Real estate reality shows on television are quite popular these days. There’s something very interesting about watching homebuyers navigate the process of searching for a home to making an offer. Many shows even take viewers beyond closing and show them how many new homeowners renovate and upgrade the homes just purchased.

But as entertaining as these shows can be, how realistic are they? It turns out, they really don’t paint the full picture of what the true homebuying process is like.

A lot of details are left out of these shows. Of course, producers want to make sure that these programs are as interesting to the viewer as possible, and as such, they tend to only include parts that would hold a person’s attention. There are several components of buying real estate that may be too “boring” for television, and so they’re left out.

But it’s important for buyers to understand this fact in order to avoid going into a real estate transaction without being fully prepped for the process.

Many of these shows depict house hunters quickly looking through a handful of homes, usually a maximum of three (that are shown on the program). Then, they’re put in a position to make an offer based on only those few homes that they see, even if they don’t seem entirely keen on any one of them. An offer is submitted quickly, and the deal is done in a matter of minutes, or so it seems.

In some cases, these shows may actually fast-forward the process and only start the show after the buyers have already chosen a home and may have even submitted an offer that’s been accepted by the seller. Any other homes shown are only thrown into the mix to help viewers make their own decisions about which property should be picked. It makes the program more interesting and almost like a game show.

When it comes to “reality” TV, it should come as no surprise that much of what is shown is probably staged to some degree. After all, the show must be entertaining or it’ll lose viewers. As such, producers will try their best to tweak things in order to make these programs more intriguing.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, buyers – especially first-timers – should be made aware of this fact, as it could skew their perceptions of what the buying process is really like and what they can actually expect from the process.

Why Homebuying Shows Can Be Deceiving

Television is meant to entertain, but it can also be used to educate as well. The problem with some reality house-hunting shows is that they can be a bit inaccurate in many ways.

For starters, many of these shows only include a handful of properties. Are buyers to believe that the people hunting for a home on the show only see these specific properties before making a decision about which one to purchase? In reality, it’s most likely possible that the buyers in the show have already seen dozens of homes before choosing the one they eventually purchase. But since these shows are only half an hour to an hour long, it would be impossible to cram them all into one episode. Real-world buyers should be aware of this potential fact.

In the real world, buyers are encouraged to see a lot more than that before settling on one. Considering how expensive this massive purchase is, it makes sense to see as many as possible for comparison purposes before making a final decision.

These shows also don’t go into detail about the negotiation process. They may tell viewers what the initial offer is and what the final accepted price is, but there is no back-and-forth bantering shown on TV that displays how the final sale price as arrived at. Negotiating is a critical piece of the puzzle and is something that buyers should be made aware of.

There is often no mention made about the market conditions in the area that the buyers are looking in. What is the price of an average home in the area? How much have similar homes in the neighborhood recently sold for? What is the community like? Is the location ideal for commuting to and from work? Was a home inspection done? If so, what was the outcome? There are so many little details involved in buying real estate that is usually not covered in these shows.

And then there’s the issue of financing. Have the buyers been pre-approved for a mortgage? What is the process that they go through to secure financing? Sure, these are not exciting details involved in the homebuying process, which is likely why they don’t make the editing cut. But the topic of financing is a crucial one that all buyers need to seriously consider.

Real estate agents on the show also don’t seem to do much, either. They basically unlock the door and let the buyers take a gander at the homes. Then, they just seem to let the buyers make their own decision about the properties they see. But this is unlike what agents in the real world will actually do. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work that goes on in buying real estate, and what agents actually do is not reflected in house hunting television shows.

The Bottom Line

Reality homebuying shows are definitely fun to watch. And in many cases, you may even be able to learn a thing or two about buying a house. But for the most part, these shows can be misleading and leave out a ton of critical information that is essential for making the right homebuying decision.

At the end of the day, actual buyers should only take these shows with a grain of salt and hire a professional real estate agent to walk them through the real-life process of buying a home. Getting educated on the real estate procedure and the market is important to understand what can really be expected of the homebuying process.

8 Most Common Issues Home Inspectors Find

Home inspections typically accompany real estate deals, giving buyers an opportunity to check out the house in greater detail with a professional in an effort to uncover any problems that may not have been detected during the initial visit. Buyers are highly advised to include a home inspection contingency in their offers specifically for this reason.

Unless you’re a trained inspector, contractor, engineer, or architect, you may not have the same eye for issues in a home that a trained and experienced home inspector does. What you may gloss over will be more likely to be caught by a professional. That way you can make a more informed purchasing decision before you sign on the dotted line.

Having said all that, certain issues are more common during home inspections than others, including the following.

1. Poor Ventilation

If there’s inadequate ventilation in the home, you could be stuck with a higher-than-necessary utility bill every month and a less-than-comfortable interior. Proper ventilation cannot be underestimated, as it’s important to reduce condensation, minimize any backdrafts, and improve the overall air quality for occupants of the home.

Your home inspector will check out all the vents in the bathrooms, kitchen fans, and roof soffits and vents. The attic will also be checked for excessive heat and vapor condensation.

2. Roof Issues

Problems with roofs are more typical in older homes that have not had their roofs replaced over recent years. However, they can also present themselves in newer homes where homeowners take on DIY roles to fix the roof themselves or have had an incompetent contractor do a shoddy job.

Any number of issues can be found with a roof, including peeling shingles, poor installation, leaks, sagging, faulty flashing, and pest infestation. Fixing or replacing a roof can be an expensive job, so an issue like this will need to be addressed at the negotiating table.

3. Poor Grading or Drainage

Adequate drainage is important to ensure that all water drains away from the home rather than towards it. Faulty grading can cause water to pool at the home’s foundation and cause leakage into the home. Alternatively, there could be a problem with foundation movement which can also negatively affect drainage.

Signs of inadequate drainage include pooling of water at the foot of the exterior walls, soft soil around the perimeter of the home, rotting walls, mold, “sticky” doors and windows, and any signs of water in the crawlspace.

This issue can be rectified by regrading the soil or adding downspouts to ensure water pools away from the home rather than towards it. However, if the foundation requires repair to fix the drainage issue, this could be a very costly project.

4. Bad Plumbing

Home inspectors typically walk around a home and turn on all sink faucets and showerheads, flush toilets, and check the plumbing pipes underneath sinks to make sure all is well. Any number of issues can be found with plumbing in a home, including slow draining, weak water pressure, and leaks in pipes, to name a few.

5. Faulty Electrical Wiring

One of the first things that home inspectors do when checking out a home is look at the electrical panel. While they are not electricians, they are still skilled enough to spot an issue if there’s one present. Inspectors will open up the panel to check the amp size of the home’s electrical service. The size of the home’s service will determine the number of appliances that can be run at one time.

If the amp size is inadequate, there could be a fire hazard in the home if too many appliances are being operated at one time. For instance, a 60 amp service would not be enough to run 200 amps worth of power. Ideally, the home should have at least 100 amps. If not, this will need to be upgraded.

The inspector will also make sure all outlets are safe and that there are no exposed wires anywhere. Electrical fires can occur if the wiring is not adequate, so this is an issue that would need to be rectified immediately.

6. Poor HVAC System

The heating and cooling system of a home will be inspected by an inspector to ensure the system is functioning properly. Unfortunately, issues with poor installation, old components, filthy filters, cracks in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide leaks, and inadequate maintenance are common. Sometimes the fix is something as simple as cleaning or replacing the filters, whereas other times it may be necessary to completely replace a unit. 

7. Damaged Gutters

The gutters of a home will not only be checked out to see if they are full of debris and blocked, but they’ll also be looked at to see if there is any damage that is causing them to inadequately funnel water away from the home. Whether they’re clogged, bent, torn, or not large enough, faulty gutters can present a water problem for a home if they are not repaired and cleaned out.

8. Water Damage

If water or moisture is lingering in a home, this can lead to mold and mildew build-up, which are considered health hazards. That’s why it’s so important to detect any issues like these when inspecting a home. Luckily, inspectors are trained to look for signs of water damage, such as:

  • Musty odors
  • Dampness
  • Discoloration in walls and ceilings
  • Bubbling paint
  • Crumbling at junctions between ceilings and walls
  • Pools of water

If any of these signs are noticed, it will be necessary to dig a little deeper to find out the source of the problem.

The Bottom Line

Any number of issues may be discovered during a home inspection that buyers may not notice themselves. If any issues are discovered, the inspector may recommend having specialists come in to conduct more in-depth inspections for specific components of the home to make a more accurate diagnosis of any problems that may exist. The small price tag of a home inspection can save buyers thousands of dollars when all is said and done.

How to Tell if the Seller is Staging to Conceal Issues

A smart seller will have their home staged for the market in order to showcase their property in the best light to prospective buyers. But as good as a home may look, it’s always possible that there may be issues that are being covered up. In fact, effective staging can minimize the look of flaws by helping buyers focus on more positive features of a home.

Most sellers aren’t trying to be deceitful, but are rather simply trying to make their properties show better by employing home staging techniques. In fact, sellers have a duty to disclose any known defects of their homes before a buyer agrees to make a purchase. But there may be the odd time when a seller may be willingly trying to conceal problems with specific staging strategies.

The question remains, is the seller trying to hide something with their home staging efforts? Here are a few ways to tell.

Strange Furniture Placement

If you notice that a chair, table, or ottoman is placed in an odd spot, check behind and underneath the piece to see if there is something hidden. Sometimes furniture that seems misplaced can be indicative of something awry, so make sure to check the area out in great detail.

Piles of Boxes

It could be that the sellers are just preparing for the big move, which would explain why there are boxes piled up in certain areas of the home. But these piles could also be purposely placed in order to hide something behind them. If possible, take a peek behind these boxes to see if there is a possible issue being hidden.

Fresh Paint

It is often recommended that sellers give their home a coat of paint to help freshen up the interior and neutralize its color palette. But sometimes a new coat of paint can hide something serious underneath. There could be a water problem in the home that may have shown up in the form of discolored, bubbling walls. In this case, a coat of paint would cover up the evidence.

But there could still be remnants of damage despite a new paint job. If there are spots that seem a little suspicious, take a closer look to see if the wall is bubbling and the paint is easily chipped off. You can paint over to disguise discoloration, but any cracking of the paint or drywall beneath will be much more difficult to hide.

Wall Coverings

Just about every home has artwork and photos hanging on its walls, so there’s usually nothing odd about this component of staging. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something behind such wall coverings that the seller may be trying to hide. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look behind anything hanging on the walls to uncover any potential damage that you’ll end up being on the hook to repair when the deal is sealed.

Area Rugs

Again, area rugs are just one of many decorative components in a home, but what lies beneath them? It would be particularly suspicious of an area rug is placed in a seemingly odd location and not centered properly. Since area rugs are not affixed to the ground like wall-to-wall carpeting, there’s nothing stopping you from lifting them up to check out what’s underneath.

Background Music

Perhaps sellers are trying to create a lovely ambiance within their homes while buyers are visiting by playing some tunes. But that classical music or sounds of nature could be just a ploy to drown out any other noise that may surround the home, such as traffic from a nearby road or train, noise pollution from airplanes passing overhead every few minutes, or the annoying neighbors next door who are constantly making a racket.

The Bottom Line

Home staging is specifically meant to help sellers present their homes in the most positive way possible and help buyers see the true potential in the place. What they’re not meant to do is purposefully hide defects that should otherwise be made known to an interested buyer. Unfortunately, there may be times when home staging tactics can be employed to cover up any flaws in a home. Luckily, your agent will be experienced enough to know how to spot defects in a home, and your home inspector will be able to provide even further assistance in detecting problems before you finalize a deal.