Monthly Archives: March 2013

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing Home Inspection Software

Purchasing home inspection software is one of the most important decisions a home inspector will make. Whether it is a new inspector who is just getting started or a veteran one who has been inspecting homes for 20 years, inspection software is going to play a major role in their businesses. Here are five questions home inspectors should ask themselves before purchasing home inspection software.

Is the software easy to use?

Before making a decision on software, an inspector should be sure to try out the software and make sure it is simple to use. Most home inspectors will be the first to tell you that they are not computer experts, which is why having home inspection software that is easy to use is a must. They need to make sure they can effectively use the software the way they want to. With a home inspector’s busy schedule, being able to learn the software quickly with little training is crucial. The quicker they can get up and running the better.

How flexible is the software?

Having software that is flexible and customizable is important. Every home inspector has a unique inspection style and way of putting together a report, so finding software that can adapt to them is essential. An inspector should make sure that they are able to edit forms, as well as, create their own. They shouldn’t have to change the way they do inspections; they should be able to change the software to suit them.

Can they picture themselves using it in the field?

An inspector should visualize themselves using the software in the field to make sure that it is a good fit for them. An inspector will first need to decide if they want to use a handheld device, tablet, or laptop in the field and then decide if the software will work with their choice. Using software in the field should be a benefit to them and their inspection process, not a hindrance. They will also need to make sure that the software does not take them away from their clients during the inspection. The client is the number one priority, and being able to use software effectively while still communicating with them is extremely important.

What is the total cost of the software?

Determining the total cost of the software is also very important. Inspectors need to ask the software company if there are any ongoing fees while they own the software, such as paying per inspection. Paying per home inspection may sound like a cheap alternative, but an inspector should figure out what the total cost would be over time. For example, if an inspector pays $7 per inspection and they do 200 inspections a year, that’s $1400 for one year! They should also ask if there is a monthly or annual fee to use the program. If the inspector plans to use the software on multiple computers, they will need to see if it costs extra to install to multiple devices. Home inspection software is a big investment, and an inspector needs to make sure they know exactly how much it is going to cost them.

Can they see themselves having an extended, working relationship with the software company?

Since software is one of the keys to a home inspection business, it is important to determine if an inspector can visualize themselves having a working relationship with the software company for many years. An inspector should call the software company beforehand and have a conversation with them. They should see how long they’ve been in business and talk to the technical support department to make sure they are responsive and helpful. A home inspector should plan on developing a long-term relationship with their software vendor.

Purchasing home inspection software is a great idea for any home inspection business. With such a big decision, the home inspector definitely wants to make sure they make the right choice. Asking the questions above will help them accomplish that goal.

Conventional vs. Mobile Home Remodeling

Mobile homes are actually cost effective, and yet still comfortable and livable. Though, it may be different from the traditional or conventional homes, it still has the same basics that those homes have. It’s inexpensive but homeowners still enjoy comfort and beauty. It also goes without saying that if house remodeling is a trend in the conventional homes, the same goes with mobile home remodeling as well.

There may be similarities and differences in remodeling a conventional and mobile home. It is simply because, the materials and structures are different. There are materials that may be of good quality and very good for the conventional homes but it’s a no-no in mobile homes. There are also differences in the repairs, maintenance, cleaning, and renovating of mobile homes. This is why mobile home remodeling is quite a challenging task for the homeowners. However, if they are creative, resourceful, and practical, then it’s not really that difficult or tiring after all.

In mobile home remodeling, one has to consider some important steps and factors that are critical in these types of homes compared to the typical ones. Consider the structure and level of the home, its balance and stand on the ground. Another one is the cleaning and maintenance of the exteriors, make sure you ask first from a mobile home professional or specialist store if the cleaning materials and products you’re using are apt for your mobile home. For the renovation of the interior parts, try to look for the best and most suitable walling, ceiling, and flooring materials, it doesn’t mean that, if the tiles are good for conventional homes, then it’s also good for the mobile homes, remember that the structure and composition of these two homes are different. Plumbing, painting, and wiring also must be accounted for, refer to a professional or expert when dealing with this, because if you’re not really familiar with these things, you may get disappointed at the result afterwards. Some small fixture which you may not bother to consider when remodeling a conventional house, oftentimes matter in these mobile homes, like the door knobs, faucets, showers, etc.

Mobile home remodeling vary in its steps, ways, and reconstruction, compared to conventional home remodeling, but what’s important is that homeowners must learn the ins-and-outs of their homes first, before they embark on this remodeling journey. Studying the house, planning the renovation, and creating the remodeling design are the first basic steps one must take, whether he’s redesigning his mobile home, remodeling his conventional house, or reconstructing his place.

Best Home Remodel Returns on Investment

Many a homeowner spends thousands of dollars on a home remodel only to find out that in reality it has not changed the value to their house. Unless the remodeling project is designed to fix a structural problem or flaw it is often unlikely that the homeowner will make a profit aside from the pleasure in having the house enhanced to fit their liking.

Most of the time projects such as a kitchen, bathroom, window or deck remodel have shown the greatest return of value. If cost recovery is an important consideration then homeowners should think about their remodel from the perspective of a potential buyer.

If you are a first time home buyer looking to enhance your house and then move to a bigger home, or someone who is considering downsizing from a single family to a smaller condo or apartment here are three things to consider when remodeling your home.

1. Location
A common mistake among homeowners is to improve their house more than that of the neighborhood it is located in. While the more improved house might possibly receive more interest than others in the area marketed it is unlikely to command a premium well above the average selling price of homes in the neighborhood. A little known fact is that market price is held in check by the lowest-priced homes in your neighborhood and not the other way around.

The physical geographic location of your home will also have an impact on which projects will have the quickest or greatest payback. The cost of a swimming pool makes it difficult to recover the cost of installation. Some times, it can even reduce the overall value of a house. However, if you live in the southeast or southwest of the United States, a swimming pool can be a valuable addition to a home especially during the hot summer months.

2. Time
While you may not be planning on moving houses immediately after a remodel, time does impact the ability of a remodel to increase a houses value. Structural or design improvements such as an addition or completed basement will add value for a longer period of time than updates to a kitchen or bathroom or even technological improvements such as a new furnace or air conditioning system.

Knocking out a dining room wall and opening up the space for both cooking and entertaining might give you the kitchen of your dreams but this remodel does not increase the square footage of your home. Likewise a kitchen overhaul with new glass tiles and an island space might bring you much enjoyment but following whatever the newest trend is risky given that the trend might be obsolete when you choose to sell.

The water purifying system that you spent $1500 on might be an eco-friendly upgrade that you think is significant but it will typically not bring any added value to a potential buyer and also runs the risk of not being the latest and greatest a few years after installation.

3. Consider the cost – and the return of your investment
Did you know that there are several sources that can give you insight into the expected payback for home improvement projects? Realtor magazine publishes an annual “Cost vs. Value” report that compares the cost of common remodeling projects and shows the payback that homeowners can expect. The report for 2009 can be found at: ://www.realtor.org/rmohome_and_design/Articles/1001_costvsvalue_2009

Remodeling magazine publishes a yearly report that compares the national and regional averages for 33 popular remodeling projects. To look at the current 2009-2010 report click on ://www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/national.aspx
Another tip to consider is that when contemplating two equally useful changes, homeowners should research local real estate guides to determine which of the projects will most likely pay for itself. Home prices are always reflected in the taste of the local property buyers and the price that the buyers are willing to pay for the given neighborhood.

As with most projects a little bit of homework will go a long way in helping you determine what will pay off and what will not. However it is always important to consider the value that you as the homeowner will receive from the remodel project over any cost recovery that comes with resale. Ultimately it is your home and your satisfaction that makes the remodel worthwhile.

5 Common Home Inspection Myths

Myth 1: There is no real difference among home inspectors

The Truth: Experience, knowledge and thoroughness vary from inspector to inspector. A person is not qualified as a home inspector just because he or she claims the title-or even if they’re certified; in fact, some states don’t even require that an inspector have a license. Therefore, it is important to do your homework when evaluating home inspectors. Be sure to visit their website and also give them a call to talk. Ask about what services they provide and how much experience they have in the industry. Check their website for a sample report so that you can know what kind of report to expect. Not all home inspectors are created equal and it is up to the client to do their research and find a good one.

Myth 2: A home inspector is only looking out for the seller or Realtor

The Truth: A home inspector’s primary responsibility is to look out for their client. An inspector’s job is to inform the client of the condition of the home with facts. Some people may be uncomfortable with using a home inspector that has been recommended by their Realtor, especially if they do not know their Realtor very well. This is understandable and why everyone should do their own research to find the best home inspector possible for their inspection. It may turn out that the inspector recommended by the Realtor is the best option, or they may find one they feel more comfortable with. Ultimately the choice comes down to the client and it is up to them to make the right choice.

Myth 3: My home is brand new and doesn’t need a home inspection

The Truth: Home builders have to meet the minimum requirements of the building code in existence at the time the home is built, but those are minimum requirements and may not reflect the manufacturer’s recommendations. There are also many times home builders take short cuts to save money or speed up a project. Having an inspection completed by a home inspector before closing can help uncover issues that may exist, and provide a homeowner with peace of mind. It is also recommended that an inspection is completed by a third party inspector throughout the construction process, such as before the drywall goes up. This provides an opportunity for the inspector to inspect things that they would normally not be able to inspect once the drywall is up. Furthermore, like everyone else, home builder make mistakes, and some of these can be very costly for the home owner in the long run.

Myth 4: Having my home inspected means that I will not have any repair needs or maintenance expenses right away

The Truth: The purpose of a home inspection is not to report on every minor imperfection in the home or guarantee that no repairs will be needed. As a visual assessment of the condition of the major components of the home, it is beyond the scope of the home inspector to foresee every potential malfunction. However, major defects will be found and the home buyer will be informed of these findings. A home inspection saves the home buyer from buying a home with major defects that can affect the value and even the safety of the home.

Myth 5: Every inch of a home is inspected

The Truth: The inspection is a limited visual inspection of major components. It is not a forensic inspection, so home inspectors will not dismantle the systems in order to inspect their inner workings. At times they will remove covers and access panels, but obviously, they cannot see within walls or beneath concrete slabs. There are literally thousands of components and materials used in constructing a home, so they focus on the most essential and highest risk areas.

By learning the truth regarding these and other home inspection myths, potential home inspection clients are in a better position to understand the process and get more out of it. Furthermore, the home inspector’s job is made easier when the client has a good idea of what to expect from the inspection.