A Newsletter for Real Estate Agents from A-Pro Home Inspections of Northern Colorado
My Dear Realtors,
Feels Like Spring!
For real estate agents, a sure sign of spring isn’t the first daffodil peeking through the cold ground or the crack of a baseball bat. It’s the appearance of “Sold” and “For Sale” signs popping up all over town…and the sight of your friendly neighborhood home inspector checking a foundation or examining a roof.
In this issue of From the Rafters, we welcome the warmer weather with articles on how choosing the right inspector can help your real estate practice, the ins and outs of crawl space inspections, a reminder about the importance of lead-paint inspections, and some fun spring facts to dazzle your clients. You won’t believe the weight of the most massive chocolate Easter egg!
As always, you can expect the best from our team in the coming months. From all of us at A-Pro, here’s wishing you a spring filled with fresh opportunities and high sales.
Chuck Bohall, CHI, PHI
A-Pro Home Inspections
Five Ways Home Inspections Can Help
Your Real Estate Business Thrive
It’s no secret that some in the real estate community may view the home inspection as troublesome—a necessary step in the home-buying process but one that may not necessarily be ideal for business.
This fear is understandable but unfounded. In actuality, finding the right home inspector can go a long way toward growing your business, building satisfied customers, and making your job a whole lot easier.
Balanced Reporting: It is the home inspector’s job to accurately evaluate all aspects of a home, providing a skilled visual assessment of major systems inside and out. The client receives a clear picture of items in the house that may soon need replacing or pose an immediate danger, such as loose railings or substandard outlets.
On the flipside, certified inspectors—like the ones at A-Pro—also highlight positive aspects of the home that still have years of useful services, such as a newer roof or built-in appliances that won’t require replacement for many years. If the house is in good shape, the report may have many more positive than negative points. If there are serious problems, your client will be fully aware of what’s in store in terms of needed repairs. Either way, this level of transparency is critical. It limits the number of unpleasant surprises and provides a baseline for informed negotiations.
Making You Look Good: A courteous and professional home inspector acts as a third-party extension of your excellent service. By recommending a trusted inspector, homebuyers receive a positive experience and the peace of mind of having their questions answered as the home is inspected. When the deal is completed, your client will remember the inspection as one of the benefits of doing business with you. And that equals repeat business and referrals.
Negotiating Price: A thorough and accurate home inspection report serves as documentation of the home’s condition, taking the guesswork out of arriving at a fair purchase price. It lays the groundwork for discussions that can actually speed along the negotiating process by allowing repairs to be completed upfront or by enabling buyers to negotiate a reduced price that reflects the work that will need to be done.
It Prevents Dissatisfaction Down the Road: Congratulations, you made the sale, but what if a month later you receive an angry call from your client? A plumbing problem has been discovered. Getting it fixed will be a huge hassle, requiring the homeowners to miss work and filling them with anxiety about their purchase. Home inspections from experienced providers can prevent such problems by alerting purchasers before they sign on the bottom line.
Lifetime Value of a Customer: This leads us to the final and biggest benefit: revenue generated from lifetime customers. Statistics indicate that individuals purchase three to five homes over the course of their life. On average, these clients will refer two people to your real estate business.
Once you factor in average commission and the percentage of repeat real estate customers (about 25% nationally), a single client can mean tens of thousands of dollars over your career. That’s why finding a good inspection company is so important. It adds value to your hard work and helps you retain customers who will pass on your name to others…and so on and so on.
Agent Question Corner
When my client asks if the crawl space will be inspected, what do I tell them?
Good question, but the best answer we can give is, “It depends.”
Nobody said being a home inspector was a glamorous job. But the people who have chosen it as their profession love the work, even when it means inspecting a crawl space. Inspectors literally have to get on their hands and knees—or slither through a tighter space—to do a proper job. As a certified inspector, it means leaving no stone unturned to provide a detailed visual picture of the home. In other words, it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!
When the crawl space can be safely accessed by the inspector (which is not always possible), this examination becomes an important part of a foundation-to-roof inspection that can reveal a great deal about the house. It is also important to note that being able to access a crawl space does not guarantee all of it will be visible. Inspectors will note the percentage of the crawl space that was able to be inspected and reasons why it could not be reported on.
Reasons an inspector may not go into a crawl space include:
- Undersized access opening
- Presence of animals
- Electrical cables on the ground, particularly when there is standing water
- Insufficient headroom
- Raw sewage
- Plumbing or air duct obstructions that can limit access once in a crawl space
- Glass or sharp debris on the ground
- High levels of dangerous mold
- An access panel which cannot be removed without special tools
If possible, the inspector will survey the area from top to bottom. When assessing the area’s ventilation, the inspector will determine if there is one square foot of free vent area for every 500 square feet of crawl space. Screened vents should be properly arranged to allow for cross-ventilation.
Depending on access and visibility, the report will also include the condition of the foundation, floor framing (e.g., sill beams, floor joists), stem walls, columns, piers, HVAC ducts, wiring, and plumbing. The evaluation will also indicate signs of insects, rodents and other pests; poor repair jobs and temporary supports; the presence and condition of insulation (wet, loose or damaged) and vapor barriers; improper termination of dryer vents or air conditioning condensate drains; debris and objects that should not be stored in a crawl space; high moisture levels in the soil; standing water; and conditions such as rotten joists and evidence of mold.
Explain to your client that a home inspection report will detail the condition of the entire crawl, partially describe its condition when access is impaired, or provide reasons why a crawl space inspection could not be performed at that time.
Get the Lead Out
As a real estate professional, you are well aware of the dangers of lead-based paint, which was banned for use in housing in 1978. As we enter the home improvement season, it’s always a good idea to remind ourselves about harmful exposure to lead paint and lead-contaminated dust that can result even in mild demolition projects.
Here are some facts to consider from the Center for Disease Control:
- It is the deterioration of lead-based paint that causes a problem.
- Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.
- Even low levels of lead in the blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. Effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.
- In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.
Among a number of tips for preventing exposure to lead, the CDC recommends that children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation.
“They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.”
Further, the CDC says to make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
“Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Until environmental clean-up is completed, you should clean and isolate all sources of lead.”
For more details and prevention tips, click here.
The only way to be sure a home does or does not have lead-based paint or lead-contaminated dust is to have the property tested. Many A-Pro home inspectors are certified to perform lead-paint inspections.
If you’re like many baseball fans, you’ve waited your whole life to snag a foul ball. Maybe you still bring your glove to the game, hoping to grab a home run in the back of the bleachers. Well, consider this. Zack Hample claims to have accumulated 10,000 baseballs from Major League stadiums. Among his unbelievable collection is Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th tater and Mike Trout’s first. The 41-year-old also has been building a rubber band ball since the age of three. It now weighs well over 250 pounds.
April is National Kite Month! For most casual enthusiasts, getting a kite to stay aloft for a minute or two is a triumph. Bonus points if you can avoid those kite-eating trees. But for serious flyers like Australian Bob Moore, the stakes are much higher. On September 23, 2014, Moore and his team broke the world altitude record for a single kit, reaching a height of 16,038 feet, or over 3 miles.
As Easter approaches, many children will go to bed with visions of marshmallow chicks and sugary bunnies in their heads. No one, though, could envision a basket large enough to carry the world’s biggest chocolate egg—a 34-foot, 15,000-pound behemoth produced by Tosca and displayed at Le Acciaierie Shopping Centre in Cortenuova, Italy in April 2011.
A FINAL THOUGHT: When your clients need home inspections this spring– or any season – give your local team at A-Pro a call. We’ve performed thousands of inspections from coast to coast since 1994.