Tag Archives: building permits

How to spot a property lemon

So, you’re about to purchase a dream home (or have already), and it looks like a sound investment … but as the old adage goes, ‘buyer beware’! The first thing you should do is hire an expert to look through the property, but in Australia, many houses and apartments are sold without the purchaser having had the home inspected for structural damage or pest problems. In fact, 80 per cent of Australian property transactions take place without such checks. In all cases, I highly recommend having an independent, reputable and experienced inspector come and help you diagnose the problem and suggest remedies. But even still, it’s good to know what they will be looking for and to try to identify the problems yourself. Here are the top six structural issues that can affect a house, how to identify them and what to do about the problem.

1. Floor framing and stumping
In Australia, the majority of homes have been built on a ‘suspended floor’, generally timber framed, that is, up until the 1980s when concrete slabs became more common. A suspended floor generally consisted of timber stumps sunk into the ground, with timber bearers and joists crisscrossing the stumps, creating a stable platform for the flooring and remainder of the house.

THE PROBLEM: The timber stumps are susceptible to rotting from exposure to moisture and damage by timber pests like termites, sometimes known as white ants. The damage could be contained in one area of the floor, or it could affect a large portion of the house, giving the floor a slope in one direction. In extreme cases, the doors and windows no longer open or close properly due to movement in the frames brought about by stumping problems. Fortunately, modern suspended floors now use concrete stumps, but if you are purchasing an old home, there could be an issue with the frame.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: As you walk through a house, the most common way to detect this problem is to feel for movement under your feet as you walk – a ‘springy’ floor suggests problems down below. You may also notice glasses or crockery rattling in the sideboard or flowers shaking on the table when you walk through the home. My favourite, though, is the ‘marble test’. Put a marble on the floor (assuming it’s not carpeted) and if it runs off in one direction, you have an uneven floor. This often indicates deterioration in the stumps or floor framing. Check other areas of the house as well.

NEXT STEPS: If you are uncertain about your flooring, it’s time to get an inspector in to do a thorough check for you. Look for an inspector who is independent – in other words, not someone who also has a vested interest in selling you a solution. Make sure you ask for a report that includes: the state of the sub-floor area; specific detail of any problems; and recommendations as to how to rectify the problem. Be prepared for some form of building work such as re-stumping.

read more at: http://www.domain.com.au/advice/spot-property-lemon/

disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only

10 Things to Know When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

A home is a financial nest egg, so commit some time to researching an agent who’ll get you the return on investment that you deserve – whether you’re a buyer or a seller.

This is where an appraiser can be extremely helpful.  The appraiser can do an appraisal of your property before you even contact an agent.  Contact the appraisers at: www.socalappraisalserv.com for more information.  You can find out what your property is valued at and then when you interview agents you can use this knowledge when discussing listing prices, days on market and compensation.  Would you go to buy a car and not look-up to see what your trade-in is worth?; why do this with your biggest investment? 

As the buyer you can use an appraisal as ammunition when you negotiate.  Your appraisal for your loan usually comes after the price has been agreed upon; what happens to your loan if the house does not appraise? Usually no loan, deal killed, etc.  The appraiser that does the appraisal for your loan is usually not the only appraisal done.  The lender usually does a review of the appraisal and depending on your loan several appraisal may be ordered.  Appraisers do not kill deals; we do not have that kind of power.

 Remember the agents commission is usually based on the sale price….motivation to get you lower price????…..  watch this video to explain commission:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jO_w6f8Ck

10 Things to Know When You’re Hiring a Real Estate Agent  – Thanks to “Homes Magazine” for the list.

  1. Work exclusively for the buyer.  Unlike the traditional relationship with agents who owe their allegiance only to the owners of properties they list, these so-called buyers agents represent your interest during a house hunt.
  2. Track down building permits. (An appraiser usually does this as part of their scope of work) If you are house hunting and need to know if permits were pulled for work done on the house you are considering, put this request to the listing agent first, they have incentive to put your mind at ease about the home’s renovation history.
  3. Only work part-time.  That schedule means less attention for you.  Some agents just sell real estate as a hobby and you don’t want to miss out because they have not checked new listings for a day or two.
  4. Live where they sell.  Start looking with one of these.  They, for example will be more likely to know zoning constraints affecting the property and could give you an insider’s view of the thinkings like schools, police records and traffic patterns.
  5. Have special access.  Licensed agents can get extra-detailed information through password-protected listing services.  Ask yours for a printout of the latest comparable sales.
  6. Outranked other agents. Brokers are licensed to manage their own businesses and have logged more classroom hours studying property appraisal.  Agents must work with a broker, never independently.
  7. Visit as many open houses as you do.  Special broker open houses are typically held each week to give agents  a look at new properties on the market.  The more an agent sees, the better they can advise you about a house you may like or new members of your competition.
  8. Still run prints ads as well as advertising online. Sounds counterintuitive but using these traditional marketing channels expands your listing’s exposure.  Find out how often he or she advertises and where.  Magazines’ classifieds are a good showcase.
  9. Prioritize listings.  Especially if you’re selling, it does no good to sign on with the biggest listing agent in town, they may have no time to show your house.  Twenty listings mean 20 showings, and yours may fall through the cracks.
  10. Welcome reference checks.  An agent shouldn’t mind if you ask to speak to former clients.  Good questions to ask “what impressed you about the agent’s service?” and did they respect your taste, budget and time?”

A good agent does not mind any questions or inquiry.  Good agents depend on word of mouth for much of their marketing.  There are plenty of good agents out there but like anything worth having (a good agent) will take time and research on your end.  BUT remember this will probably be the biggest investment you make in your life; take some time and research, you will sleep a lot better at night.