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Monday, December 29, 2008

A Realtors Listing Quick Checklist

As a Home Inspector serving all of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I come in contact with hundreds of buyers and sellers monthly.  For the past several months of talking to my clients I have gathered a little information that may help your chances for a quick sale on your listings.  In a challenging and competitive market is always a good idea to arm yourself and your sellers with information that may help move their home a little quicker. Although some of these items may seem arbitrary, it is always a good idea for simple reminders and additional information you can forward to your sellers.

 First:   Curb appeal Curb appeal Curb appeal!A well manicured yard can do wonders for any home at any price range.  It is always a good idea to inform your clients that a nice curb appeal helps.   Take a quick evaluation of the property and help them develop a quick check list on items that would help their chances of a faster sale.  Lawns should be kept cut and watered as much as possible.  A quick shot of fertilizer, high in nitrogen, applied in the spring or summer; will green up a yard very quickly.   Inexpensive flowers planted in flower beds and/or any garden pot can also do wonders.  Assure that all shrubs and tress are well manicured.  Tree limbs should be trimmed off  the roof at least 5-feet on all sides. During the fall or winter ensure that all leaves and dead plants are removed.  Second:  The front door, The gateway into the buyer new home.

When you open the door to the sellers’ home what do you see?  Does the home appear cluttered and out of order?  Dirty?  With a few simple suggestions to your sellers on items that should be moved, added, or cleaned can also do wonders for a quicker sale.  A home that smells fresh and clean sales!  A home that smells like mildew or wet dog hair doesn’t!    If air fresheners are needed they should be utilized.  I always recommend that air fresheners of fresh baked breads and/or cookies are used.  These types of fresheners can be purchased on line or at your local Board of Realtors office in most cases. Have your sellers play soft music at a low volume during showings, if possible.  Also ensure that the temperature inside is comfortable. Drapes and blinds should be opened to allow as much light as possible inside the home.  All valuables and personal items should be out of site, this includes personal and/or family photos.  If the sellers have animals, I  recommend they are removed during the showing, even for outside pets.

 Third:   Light Bulbs!  Yes…. Light bulbs.

Prior to doing inspections I always ask my clients if they observed anything inside or outside the home they are concerned about.  An overwhelming majority made a reference to a light in the home that would not turn on.  If the light does not turn on the clients are not thinking a burned out light bulb, instead they think there is a wiring problem with the fixture!  Assure that all bulbs in home are working and replaced if needed.   This also includes any bulbs in appliances that need to be replaced.


These are only a few suggestions that may help you move your clients’ home and little faster or at least help their chances.  If you have listings that are vacant, sometimes it is a good idea to hire a cleaning company to prepare the home for sale.  Most cleaning companies give a considerable discount to Realtors hoping they can clean all your properties! 

10:36 am est 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Byers Quick Inspection

Looking at purchasing a home?  Out in the market with you Realtor looking at potential homes to possibly buy?   Even new homes may have hidden problems.   A quick walk around the potential home you may purchase can save you a lot of time and potential money before putting a contract on a home.


  Here are a few tips from American Residential Inspections:


  • The Foundation:    Take a walk around the outside of the home.  Look for large stress cracks on the outside brick walls and/or slab.  Stand at the corner of the home and pay close attention to the brick grout line running the span of the all.   Do you notice a curve or bow on the brick line?     Walk around the inside of the home and pay close attention to the floors.  Notice any slopes on the floor?   Also, look at the top of the door seams and window casings.  Notice any uneven door seams or stress cracks above the doors or windows?   If you answered yes to any of these questions the home you are looking at may have a foundation problem.


  • Drainage:   While walking around the home make sure you see a natural drop off away from the home.   Notice any low lying areas that may have an accumulation of rainwater during heavy rains?   If so…. can these areas be corrected with extra dirt applied or French drains installed.   Poor drainage around a home is the leading cause of foundation movement in Texas.


  • The roof:   Take a step back away from the home concentrating on the roof shingles and top ridge lines.  Notice any shingle blow offs or any areas around vents or roof jacks that may leak during heavy rains?   Sometimes on older roofs you can see shiny ends on the shingles; this is typically an indication that the roof has some age.    Dark discolored area on the roof is also an indication of granule wear.


  • Heating and A/C:    Take a look at the outside a/c condenser.  Does the unit appear to be level?  Does it look very old and there might be a possibility of service and/or replacement needed?   You can walk in the home and pay attention to all the vents.  Do you notice dark dust around the vents or return air filter screens?  This is sometimes an indication that the unit was not properly maintained and may also need to be serviced.


  • Plumbing:   Open all the water basin cabinets in the home.   If you observed damaged cabinet floors this is an indication that a leak may be present.   Walk around all the tubs and showers to observe the wood trim and adjacent walls.  If you observe moisture damaged wood or floors in these areas that may also be a leak.   If available check the water pressure at ALL fixtures.     Check the toilets and flush to assure proper operation.


  • Electrical:   Take another quick trip around the home to assure that all lights and ceiling fans turn on.    Check to make sure that receptacles are present in convenient locations.    

Taking note and applying these tips while you are looking at homes can save you a lot of time and grief.  After you choose a home always hire a qualified home inspector to do a thorough inspection of the property.   Sometimes hidden items can only be uncovered by a qualified professional.

1:30 pm est 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Foundation Care and Maintenance

Foundation Care and Maintenance

Most of North Texas soil has expansive type clay therefore, proper care for the foundation is crucial for proper performance.  Foundation repairs cost can potentially cost thousands of dollars. 

Clay soils have the ability to expand when wet and contract when dry.   This required a proper watering program around the home.   A constant amount of moisture should be maintained annually around the foundation to help aid in the prevention of foundation movement.   An even amount of moisture is very important!!!!! 

First, assure that there are no poor drainage areas around your home.  One of the leading causes of foundation issues in Texas is poor drainage.  I typically like to see at least a 6 inch drop off for every 10 feet away from the home.     If you observe some areas around your home that does not meet this criteria, action should be taken.  Extra dirt applied can usually corrected poor drainage areas.  Grading of the soil and/or French drains installed may also be needed.   Rain Gutters can also be utilized to assure proper drainage away from the home

Second, soaker hoses should be used around the entire home year round.  These black spongy water hoses can be purchased at any hardware store very inexpensively and works wonders for you foundation.   These hoses should be laid out around the foundation 12-18 inches away from the slab.  I recommend watering at least 2-3 times a week for a few hours during dry weather.    Sprinkler systems can also be used however I still recommend the soaker hoses as well.  Sprinkler systems are better than no watering program however the watering patterns around the home tend to be wet dry wet dry.  The soaker hoses assure proper water placement around the entire foundation.

The “Dry Edge Affect” is an indicator that you have waited to long to water around the foundation.   The Dry Edge Affect is when the ground becomes so dry it begins to pull away from the foundation.  If this is observed you’ve waited to long and action should be taken.   Get to Watering!!!

9:12 am est 


2007 ARBORI Chilli Cook Off!!!!

My son Robby helping with inspections.

Taken from the Dallas Morning News. My old law enforcement days.

My old warrant squad

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