8 Home Inspection Fails That May Require a Specialist

Home inspectors have the expertise and knowledge of home building to make sure that a house is going to be safe, livable, and worth the investment.

But even home inspectors have their limits. Some don’t have the qualifications to inspect certain aspects of the home, like the sewer drains and chimney, which is why homebuyers may want to call in specialists to review trouble zones.

Here are eight instances when Trulia recommends using a specialist if the general inspector indicates there’s a problem:

  1. Roofs:  Since roof repairs are costly and can cause major problems if put off, home sellers and homeowners may want to prioritize roof repairs. For homes that have shingle roofs, a roof inspector will look for shingles that are cracked, loose, or curling, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a nonprofit supported by property insurers and reinsurers. Inspectors will also look at off-ridge vents to see if they are loose and for roof leaks, which they can spot if there are water stains around the chimney and pipes. Also they will check for indications inside of leaks (such as ceiling stains or peeling wall paper).
  2. Chimneys:  If the roof inspection reveals signs of damage around the chimney, a chimney specialist should give it a closer examination. This is done with the aid of a chimney inspection camera. Inspectors will also look at the exterior, interior, and accessible parts of the chimney, giving special attention to the strength of the chimney structure and the condition of the flue, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
  3. Geology:  A geological inspection of a property on a hill or in a flood zone will help catch issues like drainage problems or ground shifts. There are often two reports that come from these kinds of inspections: a natural hazard disclosure and a geologic environmental site assessment. The natural hazard disclosure includes a closer look at the maps of the area to hone in on areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides, according to George Dunfield of the California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists, in a 2005 interview with The Los Angeles Times. A geologic environmental site assessment (which can cost more than $1,000) looks at the soil quality of the property and assesses whether the site is susceptible to contaminants like fuels and solvents.
  4. Sewers:  A sewer line is a heavily used piece of equipment in any home and can go as far down as 16 feet underneath a property to connect to a public sewer system. Home inspectors sometimes call on plumbers and specialty contractors to do a “sewer scoping” with a specialized camera. “A lot of clogging comes from bad installation of sewer pipes, even with brand-new homes,” Bob Ansel, owner of Drain Solvers in Longmont, CO, told The Denver Post. Plumbers can unclog the sewer pipe to get it operational again. But if a sewer pipe needs to be replaced, the price to do so can go upwards of $20,000.
  5. Termite Damage:  Sellers often pay for termite inspection since many lenders require a full report on any termite-related issues before approving a loan.
  6. Moisture, Mold, and Toxins:  Every last inch of a house needs to be checked for these potential deal killers. Inspectors will look for physical signs of mold and moisture and take temperature and moisture readings. Inspectors may also look at the property’s history to see if any previously reported problems may be an indication of mold, according to ABC News.
  7. Asbestos:  If a house dates to 1975 or earlier, there’s a chance asbestos insulation was used around air ducts, water heaters, and pipes. This Old House recommends that homeowners who find asbestos that’s been significantly damaged should avoid touching the material. An industrial hygiene firm and an asbestos abatement contractor may be called in to assess, repair, and clean the property. If this can be easily done, Trulia suggests homebuyers ask the seller to pay for the inspection.
  8. Proper Use:  Homeowners may not need to hire an extra inspector to manage this, but Trulia suggests that they may need to work with the real estate agent. Any major additions or alterations to a home need to have been properly permitted for the sale to be legal. The garage that was converted into a home office might be beautiful, but if the inspector finds out that the proper permits weren’t obtained it could negate the deal.

Home inspectors provide you with important information that can have a major impact on a sale, but they’re not the only ones who may need to get involved in the process.

Often paying the up-front costs for a full inspection today, or before you list your home for sale, can save future expenses and headaches further down the line.

courtesy of:  http://www.thehomestory.com/…

San Diego County Median Home Price Up By 6.4%

Home prices across Southern California continued to increase in May but the pace at which they went up appeared sluggish, said the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released Tuesday.

San Diego County’s median home price, adjusted for seasonal swings, increased 6.4 percent in the last 12 months, while Los Angeles and Orange Counties increased 5.4 percent …

National home prices increased 5 percent — unchanged from last month …

The rate at which prices in San Diego are increasing has been mostly flat or decreasing since the start of the year. The median price year-over-year was up 6.9 percent in January, 6.4 percent in February, 6.2 percent in March and 6.3 percent in April.

The median home price in San Diego County hit $495,000 in June, CoreLogic reported last week.

David Blitzer, managing chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in May’s report that the housing market was strong, in part because sales of existing homes reached the highest monthly level since 2007.   Read more –>   http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jul/26/home-price-socal-may/

Milan Creates World’s First Vertical Forest

Vertical Forest, Milan, OffGridQuest_com

In an age where harmonious innovation is becoming more celebrated, sustainable designs to preserve the Earth and contribute to wellbeing are being implemented at a rapid rate. One such innovation to recently be accepted for development is a vertical forest designed by Stefan Boeri Architects.

The first ever vertical forest will soon be the greenest building in Milan. Because the average household in a city produces approximately 25-30 tons of CO2 per year, implementing greener architecture in highly populated areas cannot come soon enough.

“This stunning development is part of a vision presented by BioMilano which promises to incorporate 60 abandoned farms into a greenbelt surrounding the city. Part of the mission is to create a vertical forest building which boasts a stunning green façade planted with dense forest systems to provide microclimate and to filter out polluting dust particles. According to Inhabit, there are two buildings currently under construction.”

The greener architecture will help absorb CO2, oxygenate the air, moderate extreme temperatures, and lower noise pollution. The bio-canopy is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it helps lower living costs.

In the vertical forest building, each apartment balcony will feature trees that will provide shade during the summer months and drop their leaves in winter and allow more sunlight. An estimated 900 trees are planned for planting between the two new buildings being constructed.

“A grey-water filtration system (which is used water which has gone down the sink or shower) will ensure the trees are adequately watered. Additionally, photovoltaic power generation will help provide sustainable energy to the building.”

Merging the hottest sustainable technologies with revolutionary design will not only help the environment, but help bring human beings and nature back into harmony.

courtesy of:  http://www.offgridquest.com/homes-dwellings/

San Diego County Home Prices Up 6.2%

Home Prices Rise 6.2%

San Diego County median home price was up 6.2 percent in the last 12 months

Southern California home prices continued to outpace the national average, and many major cities, said the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday.  Prices nationally, adjusted for seasonal variation, rose 5.2 percent in the 12 months ended in March, with the Pacific Northwest and West seeing the biggest gains.

San Diego County’s median home price increased 6.2 percent, lower than the 6.4 percent increase in February and 6.9 percent in January … Economists said home prices continue to rise because of improved labor markets and employment rates, low mortgage rates and limited home supply.
Mark Goldman, finance and real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said a slower rate of appreciation is a good thing. He said price increases of 3.5 percent to 5 percent are more sustainable.  “If prices go up too quickly, then there is speculation in the market and that’s dangerous,” he said.

Financial Troubles? How to Handle Your Mortgage Payments

None of us can appreciate — nor anticipate — the future. Although we always believe it will never happen to us, once in a while, calamity strikes, and then we have to address these very hard and difficult questions.

You own a house, with a sizable mortgage. Suddenly, you (or your spouse) lost their job, and you cannot make the monthly mortgage payments.

There are a number of options you should immediately consider. However, the very first thing you should do is to talk with your lender. Don’t just discuss your issues with a low-level employee. Try to go as high up the corporate ladder as you possibly can. And don’t be afraid to be honest. Legitimate mortgage lenders will try to work with you, since they don’t want to evict you and have to own and carry your house until they sell it.

Here are some of the options which are available to you.

1. Temporary indulgenceHere, the lender, at your request, may grant you a short period of time — usually not more than three months — in order to cure any delinquency. However, this is merely temporary relief, and by the end of that short period of time, the borrower must be completely current.

2. Repayment planHere, the borrower is given a fixed period of time — usually not to exceed one year — in which to bring the mortgage current by immediately making and continuing to make payments in excess of the monthly mortgage payment. It is important to get this repayment plan reduced to a written document, signed by both the lender and the borrower.

3. Special forbearance relief agreement.  Here, the regular monthly mortgage payments are suspended or reduced for a period of up to eighteen months from the due date of the first unpaid monthly installment. At the conclusion of this relief period, the regular payments must be resumed; additionally, a comprehensive plan must be agreed upon for the repayment of the amount that has been suspended.

In this case, the lender will make a determination that the default is curable, and based on the current financial and appraisal data, the lender must be satisfied there is a likelihood that the borrower will be able to comply with the repayment plan. Clearly, the burden will be on you to document and justify the plan, so as to satisfy the lender’s requirements.

If you are in the military, the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Relief Act provides various forms of relief, but you should check with your military or civilian lawyer to determine your eligibility under that Act.

4. A short sale.  Here, the lender will authorize you to sell the property for what it is really worth, and the lender will get all the proceeds. Let us look at this example. The house can probably be sold at $395,000, but the mortgage is $425,000. The lender may allow you to sell the property for $395,000, giving a real estate broker a commission. The lender gets all the remaining sales proceeds; you get nothing from the sale. However, under this “short sale” approach, you will be relieved of your mortgage. In some cases — depending on your financial situation — the lender may want you to pay a portion of the mortgage shortfall; this depends on the lender and is clearly negotiable.

5. Deed in lieu of foreclosure.  This is another remedy that may be available to you. Under this arrangement, you deed your property to the lender (or to whomever the lender designates) and this is in lieu of (instead of) foreclosure proceedings. This arrangement is an acceptable and customary procedure when, for example, the borrower is deceased and the estate is willing and able to transfer the property, or the borrower has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the trustee has abandoned interest in the property.

6. Foreclosure.  Here, the lender will sell your property at auction (or in some states at the Courthouse), and you will lose your home and your credit rating (whatever is left of it. Legitimate lenders do not want to foreclose. and they will reluctantly start the process if all else has failed.

7. Bankruptcy.  Your final option, of course — which should be used only as a last resort — is for you to file bankruptcy. When someone files for bankruptcy, there are many protections that automatically apply from the day the bankruptcy petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court. The most important protection under the bankruptcy law is known as “the automatic stay.” If you are in bankruptcy, no legal action can be taken against your house unless the lender requests the Court for permission to “lift the stay.”

You cannot ignore your financial problems hoping you will win the lottery or find some other immediate source of funds. The level of your cooperation is the most significant aspect that will determine how willing the lender is to similarly cooperate [with you].

courtesy of:  http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/mortgageadvice1

Don’t Get Scammed by IRS Imposters!

 

With Tax Day less than a month away, IRS imposter scams are in full force, robbing taxpayers of millions of their hard-earned dollars. Watch our video here and read on to learn how this scam works and how you can avoid getting taken by it.

How it Works:

You get a call from someone claiming to be an IRS employee. The caller claims you owe a specific amount in taxes, and may threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay immediately. The call seems legitimate because the caller ID looks like it’s from the IRS, and the caller may even know part of your Social Security number.

What You Should Know:

The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment without first sending a notice through the mail. The IRS will never ask for credit or debit cards over the phone, and will never threaten you with arrest for nonpayment.

What You Should Do:

  • Don’t press 1 to speak to the operator – this puts you at risk for receiving more calls.
  • If a call like this makes you concerned that you may owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
  • Call AARP’s helpline for advice at 877-908-3360.
Learn more about this scam and tax identity theft here. And please share this important alert with your friends and family!

read more, watch vid —>  http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/

Bizarre Houses – Hang Nga Guesthouse

The Hang Nga Guesthouse in Dalat, Vietnam

(Flickr/TomRavenscroft)

Also known as the “Crazy House,” this Gaudi-inspired attraction in Dalat, Vietnam features ladders, tunnels, and hollowed-out  rooms within its concrete-treehouse structure, according to the New York Times. Also an actual guesthouse, visitors can go on a guided tour of the building and may even get to chat with the “eccentric” owner/proprietor and chief architect, Ms. Dang Viet Nga.

courtesy of:  http://www.weather.com/home-garden/

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