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The Three Stages to a Custom Home Inspection

People that are having a new home built sometimes pay a home inspector to come out and look for possible areas of concern. But shouldn’t my local building department be doing these inspections as part of the approval process? Yes they should. And most of these local municipal inspectors are very good. But some are so busy they really don’t have the time to look at the small details. It’s a good idea to hire your own personal home inspector even if you are having your home built by a professional contractor or reputable home building company. The idea being…the more eyes you have looking at a new home for quality, the better the final outcome will be. If you decide to hire your own inspector, there are three critical times during the construction process that you will want them to come out.

What Stages Should the Inspector Review? The problem is, most people think of the home inspector as an afterthought. When things are about done, they say, “hey, it’s time to bring our inspector in!” Unfortunately, your inspector can only see so much once everything is covered up. And to be certain, the most important items cannot be inspected when the house is near completion. Assuming a soil engineer inspects before the footings are poured, it would be redundant to have your home inspector check this also…and most wouldn’t know what they are looking at anyway.

So, the first time your home inspector should come out would be just prior to backfill of the foundation. At this stage, he/she should be reviewing the foundation drain tile (or drainage system), waterproofing, exterior foundation insulation, foundation quality items including thickness of wall, height of wall, location on footer…etc. and checking the plan specifications match the work completed.

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Posted by: Michael Luckado on June 18th, 2012 under Guest Bloggers

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Take the Stress Out of a Distressed Property

There are some fantastic real estate deals on the market right now. From properties in various stages of foreclosure to bank-owned property, you have a great opportunity to get the home you want at a bargain price. But what about those holes in the wall and that pet stained carpet? Looking past these stressful items can help you reap huge benefits financially.

Over the past several years we have seen huge numbers of distressed sales. According to RealtyTrac, 23% of all U.S. home sales in 2011 were in some stage of foreclosure. So nearly one in every four homes sold in 2011 was a distress sale. Couple this with the fact that these distressed homes sell at a significant discount to the non-distress sales (40% discount for bank-owned homes), there is a huge opportunity for buyers.

Along with the big discounts on distressed property typically comes evidence of neglect. The home may have sat empty for an extended period of time or the previous owner may have stopped caring when the bank started getting nasty with them. Whatever the case, these deals typically come with issues. So how do you get past these items to realize your dreams? My wife and I purchased a bank owned property last year…so here is my checklist, as a builder that just went through the process, for evaluating potential properties.
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Posted by: Michael Luckado on March 5th, 2012 under Buying or Selling a Home, Short Sales and Foreclosures

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Buying the Land for Your Future Dream Home

With the real estate market at or near the bottom, now may be the perfect time to buy the land for your future dream home. It’s important to do your due diligence before making an offer on any piece of land. You don’t want to end up with an asset that is a hassle, doesn’t meet your building requirements or that causes you unforeseen expenses. As a home builder, I have a checklist that I go through prior to purchasing any piece of land. Let’s go through some of these as they can save you a bundle of money and help keep you out of trouble.

Check Zoning: The zoning basically tells you what can be built on the property and what can be built around it. Obviously you want to make sure you can build a house on your property so it should be zoned residential. You will also want to check what the zoning is for neighboring properties as you don’t want a big industrial building being built next to your home. Your real estate broker can typically give you this information. If not, it is readily available at the local zoning or building department. The zoning will also tell you the distance required between your future home and the lot lines (called setback requirements) and any height restrictions for the home.  Once you have the zoning setback requirements, you can start to get an idea of what size home you can build.

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Posted by: Michael Luckado on February 14th, 2012 under Buying or Selling a Home

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