Tag Archives: Home Inspection

5-Minute Summer Home Maintenance Checks

5-Minute Summer Home Maintenance Checks

Did winter storms and spring rains take a toll on your home? Was it ready to withstand the heat, humidity, pests and thunderstorms of summer? How about the upcoming seasons? Is your house prepared? The best time to answer these questions and assess the condition of your home is now, while the weather is warm. These five-minute maintenance checks will help you do just that. Continue reading

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New Licensing for Virginia Home Inspectors and What That Means to Buyers

New Licensing for Virginia Home Inspectors and What That Means to Buyers

Laws are changing all the time behind the scenes in the real estate world. While they affect home buyers and sellers, they’re not always kept in the loop about changes. That’s why we are going to explain the new licensing for Virginia home inspectors and what that could mean to you as a home buyer. Trust us, this new legislation is a good thing for you as a home buyer. It will help you be assured that you’re getting the highest quality home inspection when you purchase a home, no matter whom you choose to inspect it.

Currently, the state of Virginia has voluntary certification for home inspectors, which means that you may get different levels of education and expertise from different home inspectors. All of that is going to change effective July 1, 2017. Now the state requires licenses for all home inspectors. There will be specific education requirements, which are still pending at the state level. Everyone who is voluntarily certified prior to the mandatory certification will be automatically licensed by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

What does this mean for you as a buyer? This is really beneficial to home buyers. Regulating the home inspector industry will help give more consistent results from inspector to inspector. Everyone will be required to take the same 16 credits of education biannually so everyone will be 100% up-to-speed on the latest and greatest developments in the home inspection world. With the changing landscape of technological improvements in home systems like HVAC, home security, appliances and more, that continuing education is going to be increasingly important as home inspectors learn how to assess new developments in technology.

This also means your home inspector will have to carry $250,000 in general liability insurance. More insurance offers more peace of mind for you as the home buyer. All home inspectors will be required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and pass the National Home Inspector Examination, ensuring a standard of knowledge across the board for all home inspectors. This means you will get a more consistent product when you purchase a home inspection as a buyer. A home inspector will have to complete a minimum number of home inspections under supervision from a certified home inspector, which means they will have the benefit of hands-on learning from another certified professional.

Working with licensed professionals helps protect customers and the industry alike. This standardization of home inspection will ensure more buyers get a standard of safety in their home inspections. Have peace of mind that each and every home inspector has to have the same amount of education and receives the same knowledge each year. This will keep the industry thriving with licensed, insured professionals who are truly dedicated to maintaining a high standard of home inspections for customers.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the new year, let us help. Contact Belinda Jacobson-Loehle at Jacobson Realty and Home Staging today.

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New homebuyer? Here’s what you need to know!

New homebuyer? Here’s what you need to know!

When you are buying a home, especially for the first time,

When you are buying a home, especially for the first time, there are some things you need to keep in mind, not just about the house and property itself, but about the roads, community and more. It’s a lot to keep track of, especially during all the excitement! Staying informed and level headed, though, will help you purchase a home you will be happy in for many years. Use this handy list of do’s and don’ts to help you make a decision on whether or not a home you are considering buying is right for you.

Know the house

· Understand the condition of the property before you buy it. Don’t purchase without a home inspection.

· Consider purchasing a home warranty. Not only can it save you money, it can give you peace of mind.

· When buying a fixer upper or a home that needs updating, estimate your costs before you sign on the dotted line. You want to prevent any overwhelming surprises and budget nightmares.

· If you buy a house with an in-ground basement, be certain to have a professional radon test.

Know the land

· If the land behind you is undeveloped, know who owns it. Don’t assume that it will stay undeveloped.

· Don’t purchase in a flood plain without flood plain insurance, even if it’s a 100-year-old flood plain. You just never know.

· Don’t purchase next to a water tank/tower – you will never be able to landscape high enough to cover the view!

Know the roads

· Know how your roads are maintained – by the county, community or you.

· If your property backs to a road, make sure there is adequate screening, and check sound levels during high traffic times.

· Don’t purchase a house at the top of a “T” intersection – you will always have headlights shining in on your entrance.

· Don’t buy at a stop sign unless you are prepared to watch cars come and go all day long.

Know the neighborhood

· Don’t purchase next to a fire station unless you are prepared to hear sirens at all hours of the night.

· If you purchase near a golf course, don’t purchase in the line of golf ball fire! Know the golf course layout – window replacement is expensive. Golf course lots located at the tee or green are safe and most desirable.

Know the community

· When purchasing in a community with an HOA, know the rules. Review the HOA documents to understand the restrictions before you move in.

· When purchasing in a community without an HOA, examine the community and how it is cared for. What you see if what you get. Your only recourse will be the county rules and regulations if there is an issue.

· When buying a townhouse, check the availability of visitor parking. Is it convenient and plentiful?

· Learn about activities, amenities and events in the community. Will these fit your lifestyle?

· Learn about the schools, public services, crime rates and other aspects of the community that will affect your quality of life.

At Jacobson Realty and Home Staging, we are familiar with the local homes, communities, neighborhoods and area. We are not just Realtors – we are residents. If you would like expert advice on where to purchase your home and how to hone in on the ones that would be perfect for you and your family, contact us. We’d be happy to help.

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10 Things to Be Thankful For About a Home

10 Things to Be Thankful For About a Home

time of year

This is the time of year to count our blessings and be truly thankful for all the good things in our lives. Sometimes we might take our homes for granted. But while we’re being mindful of the world around us and thinking about how our lives are enhanced by what we have, let’s take a moment to think about our homes. I suggest being proactive when it comes to maintaining your home so that your home can keep you warm and comfortable this holiday season. Here are some things to be thankful for in our homes.

· A well-tuned HVAC system – I have my system serviced at least every 6 months and change the filters on a regular basis to improve energy efficiency, utility costs and air quality.

· Good quality windows – Energy efficient windows, or windows that have been properly sealed and winterized, can greatly reduce your heating costs and keep you cozy during the holiday months.

· A gas fireplace – There’s nothing like curling up next to a fire on a cold winter’s night. A good gas fireplace with a blower can help circulate the warm air instead of losing it.

· A hot water tank – Make sure it has been inspected and has no signs of leaks. Cover it to reduce energy costs.

· A sump pump that works – Have your sump pump inspected regularly, and consider replacing it after 8 years. My personal worst nightmare was having my sump pump fail on New Year’s Eve and waiting over 3 days with a flooded basement before we could get help.

· Plenty of storage – Whether it’s in your garage, spacious closets or in an outdoor shed, you’ll want plenty of places to stash those holiday decorations after the festivities are over. So make sure they are cleaned out.

· A garage – You can keep your car warmer and avoid scraping ice, frost and snow by keeping it in your garage.

· An insulated front door – This is well worth the investment when you consider the savings in energy and cutting the draft when the winter winds start to blow.

· A washer and dryer that work properly – Get through your laundry quickly and efficiently with a well-maintained washer and dryer.

· A microwave – Get your holiday feast to the table quickly by zapping a few side dishes with this time saver.

· A double oven – Especially if you are hosting your family’s holiday feasts, a double oven can save you so much time preparing the meal.

In addition to all these things, a home gives you protection from the elements, a space to gather your family on the holidays, a place to enjoy a lovely meal you’ve prepared together. If you’re looking for a new space to be thankful for, Jacobson Realty can help. We can professionally stage your home to help buyers envision their next Thanksgiving meal there. We can also help find the next place for your family to settle in and create new holiday memories together. Contact us today!And have a joyous Thanksgiving!

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Your 2016 Home Selling Checklist

Your 2016 Home Selling Checklist

sell their homes

In the Gainesville, Bristow and Haymarket Virginia area, many people wait to sell their homes in the spring or summer. But that doesn’t mean you should wait on preparing. To obtain the best price for your home, you need two main components: a realtor who will go the distance to get you the best deal and a home that is well-prepped. Get ready to list your home by checking off the items below.

· Get a home inspection prior to listing your home. Show buyers that you’re proactive about getting repairs done and giving them the best possible value when they purchase your home. Once the home inspection is done, you’ll know which repairs are important for you to tackle right away.

· Get rid of clutter. When people view your home, they want to see the potential for their family in the house, not your collection of National Geographic Magazine from 1987 to the present. Pre-pack or throw away items you don’t regularly use. Organize the items that are left and clean your house from top to bottom. Buyers want storage room, so show them how much room you have by keeping your storage spaces uncluttered.

· Make sure your flooring is up-to-date. Buyers don’t want to tackle replacing all the flooring after they move in. If your current flooring is dirty, worn or dated, you may want to consider updating it prior to putting your home on the market.

· Create curb appeal. Your home’s curb appeal gives buyers their first impression. You want this to be a positive experience so they remember your home and want to buy it. Keep your yard weed-free. Add greenery as the season permits.

· Create a neutral color palate inside. Buyers don’t want a long list of improvements to make after they move in. Help attract buyers with a fresh coat of paint or two. Neutral colors and clean walls with no holes will attract buyers.

· Depersonalize your home. Even though you may love your hometown football team, you never know what will be a turn-off for potential buyers. Try to take as many personal decorative items out of your home while its on the market to avoid alienating any customers. Allow them to see themselves living in your home by removing family photos and memorabilia.

· Anticipate your buyers’ needs. Your buyers already have a list of what they want. Racking up items, no matter how small, on their future to-do list is a quick way to lose a buyer. Help them check off items on their wish list instead of creating their to-do list.

· Make your home move-in ready. Once you’ve had your inspection and prioritized your to-do list, create a budget and a timeline to make your home move-in ready. Maybe you need to replace a few windows, apply a few coats of fresh paint or spackle all the places where your photos hung. Set yourself up for success by getting your home move-in ready before it even hits the market.

· Stage to sell. A well-staged home can make the buyer feel at home. Make sure you have good lighting and properly placed furniture for showings.

If you are looking for a professional opinion on your home as you prepare it for selling, Jacobson Realty and Home Staging is there to help. We can walk you through every step of the process to make sure your home is ready to sell at the time you want to sell it. Contact us today!

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Why Buy a Home Warranty?

Why Buy a Home Warranty?

We show people a home

When we show people a home, we are very thorough about asking questions to ensure you are getting the best value for your home-buying dollar. In addition, you will probably have a home inspector check your potential new home for existing issues or issues that may arise in the near future. Even with all this, though, you should consider getting a home warranty, either as the buyer or the seller, to get the peace of mind that you have either just sold or purchased a well-functioning home.

A home warranty protects the actual structures, systems and appliances in your home. It’s not a replacement for home owners insurance, which protects your home and your belongings in the event of a fire or other catastrophe. A home warranty is a good supplement to have just in case you have issues with your major appliances, systems or structure of your home that result from the natural breakdown of manmade materials over time. A home warranty typically costs a little up front with a small fee each time services are needed, but can potentially save you thousands on repairs over time. Inevitably, things in your home will break, and it’s good to have the reassurance a home warranty can provide.

Not all home warranties are created equal. I highly recommend a 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty for my customers. A warranty from a company like 2-10 can help cover your repair costs on things like your HVAC system, plumbing, hot water heater, wiring, etc. You can purchase separate structural coverage which can cover things like foundation systems, beams, columns, load-bearing walls and more. You can also get additional coverage for items like pools, septic tanks, roof leaks, wells or extra refrigerators and freezers. Most policies last one year, but are renewable every year.

How can a warranty benefit a potential seller? Sometimes people selling their homes purchase a home warranty to protect their investment during the time their house is listed and as an added bonus for purchasers. Buyers who may have depleted their savings to purchase a new home won’t have any additional major expenses should repairs arise in the first year they own their home.

If you’re the buyer, you will probably want to keep your out-of-pocket expenses low, especially if you depleted some of your savings as a down payment on a home. You may want to consider purchasing a home warranty to ensure that you don’t have any major expenditures in your first year of home ownership.

Jacobson Realty and Home Staging provides expert advice when you are looking to buy or sell a home. If you have questions on the process, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.

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Home Inspections: 8 Important Things You Can Learn

Home Inspections: 8 Important Things You Can Learn

a good realtor

Having a good realtor in your court makes the home-buying process much easier on you. And good realtors have great connections throughout their community. One such connection is with a reputable home inspector.

Having a home inspection is one of the most important steps in buying a home. Even though an inspection is optional, you don’t want to forgo it. Opting for a home inspection can ensure that the home of your dreams is in great condition before purchasing. Here are eight important areas a good home inspector will investigate.

1. Exterior walls – Home inspectors check the quality of exterior walls. This ensures the home you are buying has siding in good condition.

2. Foundation – Clearly all homes should have a solid foundation. Home inspectors have eyes trained to pick out concerns, like cracks, and alert you to potential problems.

3. Garage – Within garages, inspectors check for sufficient ventilation, the framing of the area and that all doors are in working order. While you may be simply excited to have the extra space for vehicles or storage, your inspector looks deeper to make sure you’re safely covered.

4. Roof – We all want a solid roof over our heads, and a home inspection will ensure that your new home has one. Inspectors make sure there are no missing shingles or water damage and that everything has been properly installed. Additionally, they take a good look at the gutters and the area around the chimney (if there is one).

5. Electrical system – Your inspector will determine the type of wiring your home has and ensure the safety and proper functioning of all outlets. He or she will test the ground fault interrupters in areas like the garage, kitchen, bathroom, outdoors and anywhere else where water may be present.

6. Plumbing system – Your home inspector will make sure your future home is free of leaks — under sinks, in faucets, or showers and tubs. If the home’s pipes are older, the inspector may do a particularly close examination to see what material they are made of and what condition they are in.

7. HVAC – Your inspector can estimate the age of your air conditioner and furnace and tell you the condition of each. If either needs repairs, maintenance or replacement, he or she will let you know.

8. Insulation – Home inspectors can also examine the home’s insulation and ensure that it is safe and adequate. Proper insulation means lower utility costs and better climate control.

Your home inspector’s report gives you a bird’s eye view of your potential new home. You and your realtor can sit down together, work through any items of concern and determine what, if anything, you’d like to ask the seller to fix. Your realtor will help you create reasonable and professional requests. If there are major concerns that the seller is not willing to fix, a home inspection also allows you the freedom to opt out of a contract, thus giving you peace of mind.

At Jacobson Realty and Home Staging, we aim to educate clients about the home buying and selling process. Contact us at 703-338-9678 or emailBelinda@JacobsonRealty1.com.

 

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