Buying a new home is an intense process, especially for first-time buyers. It’s a process filled with emotion – excitement, stress, anxiety – all of it. Buying a house is expensive. For most people, it’s the single largest purchase they will ever make. And buying a home is also a long-term commitment with financial implications that can last for years.
Savvy buyers know that good, reliable information takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of the process. Talking to your friends and family won’t help, but talking to experts and gathering data about each step adds info and logic and decreases stress and emotion to make a level-headed decision. Here are a few things you can do to make a well-informed home-buying decision:
How can you find the right house for you and your family? How much should you pay for the home? What is the neighborhood like? Are the schools good? What issues can you use to improve your position in the negotiations? A realtor can answer all these questions and more.
Your realtor helps you have confidence in the price and the process; your home inspector helps you have confidence in the home itself. Never, ever forego a home inspection on a potential purchase. The home inspector’s job is to provide an objective, third-party home assessment. Their emphasis is on finding safety issues and identifying major, potentially expensive problems. Here’s a closer look at why you should schedule an inspection before signing on the dotted line:
The following are common safety red flags found by home inspectors:
Many of these safety issues aren’t easy to spot and require the experienced eye of a trained professional home inspector to uncover.
Getting stuck with a home that requires expensive repairs is every buyer’s worst nightmare. Home inspectors look carefully for potential problems to prevent buyers from getting surprised once the sale is final. Certainly, everything on the list above qualifies as an expensive problem. Still, other things might also qualify, such as a leaky roof, pervasive water damage, plumbing issues, or even a wonky HVAC system.
What happens if your inspector finds one or more of these problems? Does that mean you automatically need to walk away from the deal? Not necessarily. Do you and your realtor need to make some decisions about the best way to proceed with the transaction? Absolutely.
What else is important about the home inspection? First, plan to be present during the actual inspection. You can talk to the inspector personally and take the opportunity to ask questions about anything you’ve noticed during your walkthroughs. Second, familiarize yourself with inspection reports and how to use them. The final report will be long and thorough. It’s not meant to be a list of things the seller needs to repair or otherwise address before finalizing the deal. It’s only intended to be an overall assessment of the home’s condition. Prior to closing, you can use the report to guide final negotiations. Once you move in, you can use the report as a guide to maintaining your home going forward. And finally, don’t hesitate to walk away from a deal if the inspection report uncovers something significant. It’s far better to start your search over again than to be saddled with a home that needs expensive, extensive repairs.
Informed buyers find the home buying process easier and less stressful than unprepared or naïve buyers. Work with a skilled realtor and insist on a home inspection to get the information you need to make a smart decision that you can feel good about.
Eagle Inspections in Philadelphia, PA, provides high-quality, reliable home inspections in the Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County areas. Call us today to discuss an inspection for your potential new home.
Spring is here, and so is the home buying and selling season. Are you ready to jump into homeownership? Is 2022 the year you finally own your own home? Eagle Inspections in Philadelphia is proud to be part of hundreds of home purchases every year. We provide full-service home inspections to buyers in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.
We’ve learned a few things about home buying along the way. If you’re considering purchasing a home, we suggest the following:
You have certainly thought about money when thinking about a house, but chances are your thoughts have been limited to these four questions:
These are good and valid questions. At the same time, it’s important to dig a bit deeper and think about your money the way a mortgage broker will. That means considering the following:
This calculation is how lenders determine if you can afford the monthly mortgage payment. They’re typically looking for a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43% or less, depending on the lender and the type of loan. If your DTI is 43%, that means that the total of all your monthly debt payments (credit cards, car loans, etc.) plus the home loan and all other related expenses equals 43% of your income. Let’s put some numbers in to make this real:
If your annual salary is $120,000, that means your monthly salary is $10,000. At this income level, a DTI of 43% means that monthly debt and housing payments cannot exceed $4300. The lower your DTI, the better and the more likely you are to qualify for a loan.
Lenders don’t like living on the edge, and they want to make certain, as best they can, that they’ll get their money back. If you’re concerned about qualifying or your DTI is hovering around the 43% mark, it’s probably wise to pay down some debts and do what you can to increase your income before buying a home.
Why is a down payment necessary? Why can’t you just borrow the full value of the home? Again, the answer is about risk, a thing lenders don’t like.
A down payment of 20% is best. Lenders require buyers to put down less to pay monthly for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI protects lenders from risk, a cost they pass to the buyer. PMI can cost an average of $50/month for every $100,000 borrowed. It’s a sunk cost – it does nothing to your principal or interest; it’s simply the cost of buying a home with a small down payment. And a lower down payment will decrease your loan amount and often increase your interest rate, so you get hit three times.
Financially, it’s far wiser to put 20% down, avoid PMI, have a lower mortgage payment because your loan is smaller, and qualify for a lower rate. You’ll save a ton of money.
Money isn’t the only consideration; other factors also determine if now is a good time to buy.
Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? If the supply of houses is high, you’ll be able to make a better deal. In a seller’s market, home prices are inflated, making it difficult to find a home at a reasonable price and increasing the risk that the home will decline in value over time. Be very wary of buying a home in a seller’s market; opt to wait until demand and supply stabilize.
Spring is a popular time to buy and sell, but it might be wise to consider shopping for a home off-season. Sellers who need to move their homes in the fall or early winter are often desperate for buyers, and you can get a good price. You won’t have as many homes to choose from, but you can often find a very good deal.
Is now a good time? Is your job stable? Do you have a need for extra space? Do you want your kids to change schools? Can you live your current life and pay for a new home? Do you have the time to care for a home on your own? These and other questions all need to be part of your decision.
Another important question is, how long do you anticipate owning the home? Buying a home is expensive, not just because of the monthly mortgage payments. Several one-time fees are part of the purchase process. If you think that you might need to move on within five years, purchasing a home might not be the best financial decision. If you’re determined to buy anyway, purchase a much less expensive home than the upper limit of your budget, so you don’t risk taking a devastating hit when it’s time to sell.
The last piece of advice from Eagle Inspections is this: always schedule an inspection. During an inspection, professional home inspectors visit the home and take a detailed, comprehensive look at the condition and safety of the home from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. The skilled home inspectors at Eagle Inspections will look carefully at your dream home and let you know if there are any red flags that need to be addressed before you sign on the dotted line.
Buying a home is a big decision. We’re excited that you’re ready to venture into owning a home. When you’ve found the house you want, call Eagle Inspections to check it out for you. We help our customers buy with confidence. Call today.
The home buying process has very few hard and fast absolutes; there are no one-size-fits-all rules for hiring a realtor, finding the right home, negotiating, or securing a mortgage. The “right” choice for you depends on various factors, including your family situation, your location, your finances, your experience with homeownership, and many others. That said, there is one thing every single home buyer should—must—do before any home purchase: have the home inspected by a professional home inspector.
Full-service home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process, and here are 10 reasons why:
The most important task of a home inspector is to identify potential safety issues with the home. Eagle Inspectors are carefully trained on identifying safety concerns such as radon leaks, mold-like substances, electrical issues, and foundation problems. All safety issues identified during the inspection need to be fully resolved before the purchase is finalized.
Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and it’s also the most complicated. Homes are much more than floor plans, paint colors, and decorator finishes, but these surface features tend to dominate the conversation. Much more important is the overall condition of the home and the health of its many systems. A home inspection will help you see the big picture clearly so you can make a truly informed decision.
While we’ve already touched on safety and seeing the big picture, it’s worth emphasizing these points again, specifically in relation to “as-is” purchases. When you buy an as-is property such as a short sale or foreclosure, you assume significantly more risk than a standard purchase. Homes that have sat vacant for long or been otherwise neglected often have extensive structural and safety problems. A home inspection in these situations is critical as it’s your best protection against getting into an awful situation and gives you an objective, comprehensive look at precisely what you’re buying, so there are no surprises.
Another significant focus for home inspectors is looking for additions and alterations to the home and whether or not they were properly permitted and completed to code. Suppose you buy a home that has had work done that does not meet local codes. In that case, you become financially responsible for all the repercussions, which you certainly want to understand fully before signing on the dotted line.
Buying a home is expensive, but so is owning a home. Homes need regular upkeep and maintenance. At Eagle Inspections, we provide potential buyers with a report on the condition of all the systems in the home. Our home inspection report will give you an idea of what maintenance tasks will be required in the short term and long term, so you’ll know how much owning your new home will cost. With the help of a quality home inspection, you’ll learn how much life is left in things like the water heater, roof, and HVAC system so you can budget for repairs or replacements and plan your financial future accordingly. We can’t eliminate all surprises, but we can help you make intelligent financial decisions.
Your home inspector is a valuable resource for learning about your home. Our team of inspectors loves to educate clients. We suggest you plan to be present during the inspection and bring your questions. We’ll talk you through what we’re seeing, provide thorough explanations for any problems or concerns, and even offer some maintenance tips. We’re experts in homes, and we’re happy to share what we know. We’ll also explain our home warranty options so you can add an extra layer of protection to your purchase.
Your bank and insurance company also have some skin in the game when it comes to a home purchase, so they can require a home inspection as a way to mitigate their risk. You might be compelled to have an inspection to proceed with the transaction.
While the home inspection typically takes place after an offer has been made and accepted, buyers can usually return to the negotiating table if significant issues of concern are uncovered. As a buyer, you should not expect the seller to go through the inspection report and fix every identified problem. Instead, you should use the inspection report to ask for significant items to be addressed. Safety issues, of course, need to be corrected, but expensive repairs should also be brought to the table. You can request the seller make the repairs or ask for a price concession so you can make the repairs yourself.
Adding a home inspection into the closing process gives you a way out of the deal if something is uncovered that makes you uncomfortable.
Buying a home is a big deal. It’s a lot of money and where you live has a significant impact on your life. You wouldn’t buy a used car without first taking it for a drive and having it looked at by a mechanic you trust, and purchasing a home is no different. A quality residential home inspection from Eagle Inspections will help you buy with confidence. You’ll sleep better in your new home knowing that a member of our team inspected it.
Getting the most, best information about the home you’re planning to buy is the smartest thing you can do. If you live in or near one of these areas:
Be sure to call Eagle Inspections for your home inspection. Our professional inspectors will carefully review your home, answer all your questions, and provide a comprehensive, easy-to-read report containing all the information you need to know about your new home. Don’t skip the inspection. Call Eagle Inspections today.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We’re all familiar with this classic fairytale about a chicken who riles up an entire barnyard full of animals with fears of a pending apocalypse after an acorn drops on his head. This type of false alarm makes for a charming children’s story but is no fun at all if it’s your home inspector sounding the warning.
The truth is, it’s not the home inspector’s job to scare you out of buying a home.
The best home inspectors in Philadelphia provide an objective, third-party assessment of a home and its major systems. A good inspector will do the following:
With a quality inspection report in hand, buyers have a “user’s manual” for their new home. They’ll know if an outlet needs to be replaced, if the chimney is allowing gas to backflow into the house, or if the roof is leaking. They’ll also know that the outlet and chimney problems can be fixed with inexpensive parts from the hardware store and that the roof needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. That’s information you need and can use.
What buyers don’t need is a telephone-book thick report full of nit-picky details that fills their hearts and minds with dread and contributes to the general unease about the home. No home is perfect; every house has problems. Savvy buyers know this. Smart buyers have also probably seen many of those unimportant problems themselves as they’ve walked through the home.
What buyers need to know is this:
At Eagle Inspections, we’re all about providing our clients with accurate, instructive, non-alarmist home inspections. We believe that quality, accurate home inspections in Philadelphia lead to wiser, more informed decisions. And, when savvy buyers have the information they need to make good decisions, they sleep better at night. We’re not here to sound the alarm, we’re here to assess, inform, and educate. For peace of mind, schedule your home inspection with Eagle Inspections today.
Whether you’re buying your first home or you’re an experienced homeowner, understanding the home inspection process is critical. A brief overview of what happens before, during, and after a home inspection will shed light on the value of new home building inspections in Philadelphia, PA, and why inspections are so important.
Once you’ve found your home and had an offer accepted, the work of obtaining a mortgage and finalizing the deal begins. Most banks and mortgage companies recommend a home inspection as part of the loan process. Sometimes a WDI can be required by your mortgage company or bank, depending on the loan.
The lender, after all, is investing in the property and has a right to make certain the investment is sound. As a buyer, you should share these concerns and want to make certain that your money is going towards a home that is free from significant safety or structural problems.
While the buyer arranges and pays for the inspection, the seller has important responsibilities prior to the scheduled visit, including the following:
It’s in the seller’s interest to prepare carefully for the inspection. If the inspector can’t complete the job the first time, a return visit will need to be rescheduled, which will delay the sale.
The home inspector will arrive with equipment and a camera. He or she will assess the home thoroughly and carefully, looking specifically for safety issues or significant problems that affect the integrity or value of the home. You can expect the inspector to do the following;
Inspectors take thorough notes and document their findings with photographs, all of which will be included in the final report. Home inspections take time; the amount depends on the age of the home and its overall condition.
Your home inspector may advise that certain features be inspected separately. Special features of the house, such as pools, might require extra attention. We provide residential roofing inspections in Philadelphia, PA, as part of standard inspections, but if the roof is old or has visible damage, a dedicated roofing inspection is often recommended.
During the inspections, sellers should plan to be away, but buyers should plan to present. The inspection is an ideal time to look through the home and ask an expert questions about owning that particular home. Children and pets may be present during a home inspection, but it’s best to have as little distractions as possible while the inspection is happening.
Immediately following the inspection, the inspector will take the time to review their findings with the buyer. This review will hit the highlights and give you the opportunity to ask questions and get the explanations you need to proceed. The final report will come within three days, but many are available sooner. At Eagle, our reports are written in clear language and include high-res images. We’re also available to answer any questions about our findings.
Sometimes inspections uncover issues that need to be addressed before the sale can be closed. Buyers and sellers need to meet at the negotiating table to discuss remedies. For buyers, there are three general options:
Whatever you choose, you can make a choice with confidence, thanks to a quality home inspection.
Eagle Inspections helps buyers every step of the way. Our skilled, trained, professional inspectors will evaluate the home and provide objective assessments you can use now and in the future. Trust Eagle Inspections. Call us today.
Homes are moving fast. Folks are on the move, and the housing market is on fire. It’s a great time to be selling a home, but that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind or leave everything to chance. Here are two important things for sellers to consider in this fast-paced period of home sales.
Staging your home gives you the opportunity to present your home to potential buyers in the best possible light. This is especially critical today when many buyers are shopping online for a new home. Just like we all need a bit of help to look flattering in an Instagram photo, homes need a bit of extra attention to help them look good in online photos and videos. Professional staging and high-quality photos will help your home stand out from the crowd, so it will sell fast. The following are all elements of good staging:
In this market, one of the steps that buyers seem to be skipping is the inspection. A home check inspection can slow the process down by a week or so, which is why many buyers in a rush choose to forego this safety net. While this is a poor decision for buyers to make, you might find yourself wondering why an inspection matters to a seller. The truth is simple. Chances are good that something about your house needs to be fixed. Houses are complicated, and stuff goes wrong or wears out. When the buyer moves in and finds a problem that you didn’t disclose, even if you didn’t know about it, hassles and lawsuits follow. A pre-inspection done by the best home inspectors in Philadelphia protects you from these issues and gives potential buyers an accurate, objective picture of the condition of your home. Being forthcoming about your home provides a high level of transparency in the sale and can make the negotiating process smoother, which helps you and the buyer.
Eagle Inspections provides accurate home inspections in Philadelphia, PA, to sellers wishing to prepare their homes for a quick and easy sale. Contact us today about our pre-inspection services and set your home up for success.
Buying a home is very likely the single largest investment you will ever make during your life. It’s also the purchase you’re likely to know the least about. Even if you have owned a home before or you’re savvy about construction and other related issues, it’s important to acknowledge that houses are complicated and that lots of things can go wrong. Plumbing deteriorates, foundations crack, and electrical systems become outdated and unsafe. New home building inspections in Philadelphia, PA, are your best tool for learning all you can about your new home and protecting yourself from an unsound investment. Never finalize a home purchase without a home inspection.
Professional, objective home inspectors evaluate all the major systems in the home, including the following:
All the inspector’s findings are presented in a comprehensive report that effectively becomes the owner’s manual for your home. The report will identify safety concerns, outline system shut-off locations that you can use during an emergency, and give you a clear idea of what it will cost to maintain that home over the next 5-10 years. You can also use the report to tighten up negotiations with the seller.
Finding an inspector you can trust to be thorough and provide reliable information is critical. Your realtor will often be able to recommend a good inspector for you, or you can get referrals from friends and other acquaintances. Before you settle on an inspector, it’s a good idea to consider the following:
Training and licensing for home inspectors varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. As a result, your best bet for hiring a reputable inspector is to work with a company that provides rigorous training and requires certifications for all its inspectors. Technical expertise is absolutely critical. Don’t hesitate to ask about issues related to training and licensing.
Many homes include features that require specific training and experience. Examples include the following:
Older homes need to be inspected by inspectors who have experience inspecting older homes. Plumbing, electricity, insulation, and other systems look very different in homes that are more than 25 years old and look extremely different in homes that are more than 50 years old. Your inspector needs to be able to tell you that your old pipes are working just fine.
If you have any concern at all about the roof of your new home, a residential roofing inspection in Philadelphia, PA, is a must. Most inspectors will give the roof a broad overview and identify areas of obvious concern. But if you already have concerns, you’ll need a roof inspection. Some home inspectors will conduct full-scale roof inspections, while others will refer you elsewhere. Ask to be sure you can get what you need.
Many other home features require specialized expertise. Pools, spas, and wood-burning heating systems are just a few examples. Be sure to ask if your inspector is qualified to give an opinion on the special features of your home.
Beyond training and experience, another to gauge the credibility of an inspector is to look for membership in professional organizations. Many of these organizations require their members to meet set standards for qualifications and training.
Don’t skip the inspection, and don’t hire an inspector without asking these important questions. Quality home inspections will help you buy your next home with confidence.
Buying a home is a big deal. Buying a home with confidence is the goal, and most buyers need a bit of help with this confidence piece. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover or a car by how it looks in the lot, you can’t determine the health of a home in a 30-minute superficial walk-through. You’ve got to look below the surface at the underlying structure and systems to really understand the condition of a home. An honest, realistic, comprehensive assessment gives you the confidence you need to move ahead with the deal or walk away.
Pre-purchase home inspections provide that confidence, which is why they are a standard part of most home sales. Work with your agent to find an inspector and schedule a residential home inspection in Philadelphia, PA, prior to closing. The inspector will spend around two hours reviewing all the major components of the home, including the foundation, roof, electrical system, plumbing, and more. When finished, they will provide you with an inspection report detailing their findings that provides the following benefits:
You might love the design feature of the home, the floor plan, or the location, but how about the plumbing? Do you know how to recognize the signs of a slow leak or whether the electrical system meets current safety codes? The following are common issues discovered by home inspectors:
These and other problems are subtle, but home inspectors will find them and let you know so you can make informed decisions.
The home inspector’s report gives you critical negotiating power. This report outlines the condition of the home, including any potential safety issues, structural concerns, and other defects. With this information in hand, you have what you need to make good decisions. If there are issues with the house that are significant and need to be addressed, you can consider the following actions:
The home inspection report is a valuable bargaining chip, but stay focused on the big stuff. You shouldn’t expect the seller to make every single minor correction listed prior to closing.
Many of the items listed in the home inspection represent normal wear and tear on the home and do not require immediate attention or remediation. They do, however, give you a road map of the maintenance the home will require over the next few years. Your inspection will give you a reasonable idea of the life expectancy of major appliances, the roof, the HVAC system, and other features. With this info, you can plan and budget for future repairs.
Call Eagle Inspections today for full residential inspections in Philadelphia, PA. Our home experts will help you purchase your next home with confidence.
Selling a home is a big project. It means lots of decisions to make, the hassles of listing and showing your home, plus a move to plan. In the middle of all this, your home is going to be inspected. Buyers depend on home inspections in Philadelphia, PA, to give them objective insight into the condition of the home they are buying. This extra insight allows them to buy with confidence, but it’s also an invaluable tool in planning for their future in their new home.
A lot is riding on this inspection, and the last thing you want as a seller is for the deal to unravel because of the home inspection. If you aren’t prepared, a botched home inspection can delay closing, weaken your negotiating power, or even cost you the sale and force you to start the process all over again. The following tips will help you avoid the worst outcomes and present your home in the best possible light.
The urge to stick around for the inspection is understandable. After all, it’s still your home. But you need to leave and take your kids and pets with you. Inspectors and prospective buyers need the freedom and space to do what they need to do without interference. Home inspections typically take 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
The inspector is going to examine every inch of your home. They also want to collect as much information as possible to help the potential owner understand the home. Making this easy leaves a good impression. The following are examples of ways you can assist the inspector (without being present):
Almost nothing will derail the sale of a home faster than problems with the roof. If your roof is due for a replacement or is in bad shape, get out in front of that and be prepared to offer price concessions for the work that will need to be done. If that’s not the case, there are still some things you should do.
Home inspectors in Philadelphia know that a messy house isn’t equivalent to a damaged house, but there’s honestly something to be said for the good impression a tidy house makes. It’s not worth the risk; clean up and put your best foot forward. And don’t just clear the clutter and vacuum. Replace burnt-out light bulbs, install fresh batteries in some detectors, and put in a clean HVAC filter. Paying attention to these small details communicates to the inspector that you’ve taken careful care of your home.
If you have any questions about home inspections, call Eagle Inspections. We’re here to help home buyers and sellers navigate the inspection process smoothly. We offer a full range of inspection services, including electrical inspections, plumbing inspections, radon inspections, roofing inspections, and more. Call today.