The most basic elements of a real estate transaction haven’t changed for hundreds of years. Person A has a property to sell, Person B wants to live in that area; they agree on a price and transfer ownership. But technology has changed many things about the real estate market over the past couple of decades. There are now smartphone apps, publicly available estimate websites, online tour bookings, and more.
One particularly useful asset for home sellers (and buyers) is the video walk-through. Appealing, professional-looking photographs of listings have been standard for a long time, but video walk-throughs are on their way to becoming an expectation, not just a bonus. Think about how often video is used now in advertising, instead of just photography. Do your favorite products catch your attention on social media with just the static image of a flyer, or do you pay more attention when they offer a 360-degree view with commentary?
When a potential buyer is browsing listings online, a short video of the home is more likely to tempt them to schedule a tour than photographs alone. After you’ve visited a place once or twice, you already have a sense of how the property looks and feels—and it’s easy to forget that others don’t have that context. Brief clips of the walk to the front door, a panorama of the back yard, and a zoom from the upstairs balcony can do so much more. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video makes viewers feel like they’re on site.
You already know it’s your job to present a home in the most flattering way possible. You also probably know that “staging a home” means to set up the rooms with appropriate furniture and décor that have a broad appeal for most people. You know that your photographs of the home shouldn’t highlight just how cramped the broom closet is, or that the bathroom cabinet door is ever so slightly warped. These are unimportant details, but you still don’t want to draw attention to them. Well, promotional video gives you the same ability to “skip over” the less marketable elements, while offering an even more exciting viewer experience.
When a buyer walks in expecting their dream home but instead notices irritating little imperfections, there are consequences. You also know the consequences when—instead of a neutral, “broad appeal” home environment—they notice things that are too specific to the tastes of the previous owner. You’re free to use the power of video framing to exclude those problems until they’re fixed. Help the buyer fall in love with the “feel” and “story” of the house first, before they are exposed to the minor, fixable imperfections.
One realtor tells the story of deciding to take on a house with excellent blueprint design in a lovely neighborhood. The realtor excitedly walked through the house, but found that certain areas were a nightmare. One room had dusty old aquamarine wall hangings, another had tacky, outdated black and gold borders near the ceiling. In the living room, there were ugly murals and a wet bar that had seen better days. The bedroom had a seventy-five pound sculpture of a tiger that would need to find a new home. If someone focused too closely at those details, this particular house would have the most appeal for a low-rent “Scarface” wannabe. It would take a day or two to fix these elements—but by choosing to omit just those elements from her temporary walk-through video, she was still able to get some promotional materials online and build buzz for weekend showings.
The power of a video lens lets you focus on just the appealing parts, leaving the unpopular hangings, borders, and murals off-camera. This is also useful if there are some minor repairs that haven’t been done yet. Someone taking a tour in person will be turned off by those few little holes in the drywall, not realizing they’re a cheap, easy fix. But if the person has already fallen in love with the house via video, they might be more forgiving.
Your walk-through video doesn’t have to be expensively made, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even a final version. No one is expecting a big budget, professionally lit production starring a host in perfect suit and makeup—this isn’t a five million dollar mansion. Providing potential buyers with a more immersive view—carefully curated—may be just the thing that will make them decide to take a chance on attending your open house or tour.
Selling a fixer-upper is not a lost cause; it is possible and there are tips and tricks to making a good deal on your property! In this article we will share with you how to market and sell your fixer-upper to the best of your listing agent’s and your home’s ability!
As a realtor, it is your job to set up a realistic, competitive, and profitable asking price for your client’s home. Here are some things you can do to revamp or prepare your clients fixer-upper for the market.
Small Cosmetic Repairs – This is up to the discretion of the homeowner and realtor but if the fixes are easy and cost-effective, it’s almost always better to have them taken care of before putting the home on the market. It’s important to buyers to know a home is well taken care of, so if the repairs are minor or just cosmetic fixes, they are doing to avoid having them used by the buyer as negotiation tools—or worse, turning them away from the home.
Major Repairs – These are listing price deductors but if the homeowner is not interested in fixing them, then listing the home “as is” may be your best option, although the value of the home may take a hit. The condition of the home will always influence the price, and it is important to make the seller understand the more that needs done to the home means the lower the price will need to be to attract buyers. Forgoing repairs could also mean the home loses its competitive edge compared to other homes—but a sale is a sale.
Rather than focusing on the negatives, make the seller and potential buyers see the value in the home by highlighting the positive aspects of the property. This can make your property more attractive to buyers and allow for good advertising speaking points when selling the home. These can include the location of the home, school zones, acreage, or home size, or that the home can be customized to the buyer’s liking.
As a realtor, you want to keep those honest conversations frequent between you and your client, as well as with potential buyers. While it is important to highlight the positives, be careful not to downplay the negative aspects of the home as well. Keep the buyer informed on what has and has not been done to the home to fix existing problems in the home. If the buyer asks about doing a home inspection, do not hesitate to invite them to do so. Keeping transparency and honesty about the property you are representing on all levels will pay off in the end. This honesty-first practice gives you more credibility as well.
Having a pre-listing inspection done on your fixer-upper can help create a comprehensive list of repairs, from minor cosmetic issues to major and must-do repairs. With an inspection completed before listing the home, you can make recommendations to your client on any repairs that should be done or how they will affect the asking price if they go uncompleted. A pre-listing inspection can also be provided to potential buyers with an “as is” clause on the sale of the home. This helps with open and honest communication between your seller and all potential buyers.
Looking for more information on home inspections or looking to set up an appointment to have your client’s home inspected? A pre-listing home inspection from AcuSystem Inspections can help you and your seller get a better picture of what to expect repair wise and from there determine what to fix, your listing price, and prepare for potential repair or pricing negotiations.
Pre-listing home inspections are not required when listing a home, but they can help to keep any surprises from coming up during the listing process. No matter how long your seller has lived in their home, there could always be an underlying issue hiding within the walls and a pre-listing inspection can help identify them—or put worries to rest.
A certified home inspector performs a pre-listing inspection; it is like any other home inspection, only requested by a seller or the seller’s agent prior to the real estate listing of a home. In most cases of a home sale, a potential buyer requests an inspection (pre-purchase inspection) after making an offer but before signing the final closing documents. A pre-listing inspection is one way for the seller to get ahead of any issues and to assist them in determining an asking price.
If the home is brand new and your seller is the builder, an investor, or other party who has never lived in the home, a new construction inspection is recommended over a pre-listing inspection to ensure all aspects of the home were built according to plans and municipal codes. An AcuSystem Inspections agent can help you determine the best type of inspection for your real estate needs.
The cost of a pre-listing home inspection depends on the size of your home and where you live. It is common for the price to be between $250 and $700—although this amount is purely an industry estimate and not a guaranteed price.
For your seller, the out-of-pocket inspection cost can be worth the investment to have the peace of mind knowing the full condition of their home.
A pre-listing home inspection is identical to a buyer’s home inspection. The inspection includes checking mechanicals, major systems, doors, windows, and looking for signs of mold, water damage, and cracks.
It is up to the homeowner at the time of requesting the home inspection to decide if they want to pay the extra fee(s) for additional, more investigative testing such as radon testing, well-water testing, lead-paint testing, termite/pest inspection, internal mold testing, or an energy audit of the home. These can also provide similar benefits/withdrawals as those mentioned below for a pre-listing inspection.
There are many reasons your seller may want to request a pre-listing inspection—or reasons for you to encourage one to your seller. Some of these include the following worries:
There are many reasons to support your seller in the decision to request a pre-listing inspection or to encourage them to seek one.
During an inspection it is possible issues may be uncovered that may lower the value of the home or be mandatory to repair or disclose to potential buyers.
If an issue uncovered by a pre-listing inspection has been fixed, sellers do not have to inform the buyer there was ever a concern. Not disclosing completed repairs can help keep a buyer from being “spooked” but they can be a great selling point to describe in the listing; for example, the roof was newly replaced, or plumbing was updated.
From a realtor standpoint, certain repairs or recently updated aspects of the home is often attractive to potential buyers and can help to better advertise the home. Some such repairs or upgrades to point out when marketing the home to improve the overall advertisement and sell-ability of the home are:
Florida law requires sellers to disclose (upfront, without being prompted) any known latent defects which can “materially affect the value of the home or property.”
What does that mean?
These issues must be known to exist at the time of listing/sale the home and cannot be readily seen during a regular walk-through of the home. Sellers do not have to disclose obvious and visible issues such as a broken window, missing cabinetry, or holes in the wall.
Examples of qualifying disclosures can include:
If issues go unrepaired, then advertising the home “as is” may be preferred to avoid lower offers or repair negotiations—or your seller should be aware of this as a possibility during the sale process.
When recommending a home inspection company to your real estate client, you’ll want to opt for a home inspector who is licensed by the state and is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). ASHI certified inspectors are held to a higher degree of standards to become a member, which helps you to know you are recommending someone trustworthy.
All inspectors at AcuSystem Inspections are state, InterNACHI, and ASHI certified (as well as holding other awards and certs), plus we have decades of experience in the business and there isn’t much we haven’t seen or uncovered. Each of our home inspection reports includes detailed documentation of the concern, pictures, and recommendations for repairs. Contact us to schedule your home inspection before putting your client’s home up for sale.
So, you’ve placed an offer on a property and it’s been accepted, that’s great! But any good investor knows that that’s not the end of buying a home. Being able to negotiate the results of your property’s home inspection is the next hurdle you face. Negotiating the results of the inspection are very important as an investor and below are some tips for how to best negotiate for repairs or a better deal following your home inspection.
But first, it is important to note what is inspected during a home inspection. A home inspection includes a report of the following aspects of a home:
A home inspection is a visual inspection and there are still many important aspects of the home that are not covered under the inspection, but it does provide a good overall depiction of the condition of the property you are looking to invest in.
Asking the seller to make repairs.
While this option isn’t always recommended for homes that often draw an investor’s eye, repairs are still up for negotiation—especially for major issues such as mold. Sellers may consider making repairs an inconvenience and not worth the effort, causing them to look at other offers if you ask for them to make repairs. So, weigh your options carefully on a home you are looking to invest in, especially if it was described as an “investor special” or “handyman special”; these keywords often indicate the home requires a lot of work and the listing price often reflects this. Also, the repairs are up to the seller’s standards and the buyers have no say in what is done or how it is fixed, so their repairs could affect your plans for the home.
Asking the seller to accept a lower offer on the property.
This can be a more enticing option for the seller compared to above because it does not pile on work for the seller to complete before closing when they are ready to leave the property. As an investor, repairs are commonly needed, so this negotiation tool is best used when the home inspection reveals deeper issues, ones that could eat into your profit, timeline, or plans for the home. If you make a lower offer, be sure to back up the request with the justification the original asking price is too high based on the condition of the home. A home inspection report can help you to do this.
Turn down the deal and continue your search for your ideal investment property.
If you elected to include an inspection contingency with your original offer and contract on the home and are not satisfied with the inspection report—or the seller’s response to your counteroffer requesting repairs or a price reduction—you do have the option to back out of the deal. Investment properties are only a good venture if there will be a return on your investment and the potential for income has to outweigh the cost of repairs and the original purchase amount. So, if the value of the home does not meet this, it may be your sign to look elsewhere.
It is our mission, but we also make it our passion, to thoroughly inspect your home. With over 30 years of building and home inspection experience and industry-recommended certifications on our side, AcuSystem will deliver expert inspection service, so you can make sound judgements in regard to the investment property you are considering.
Here at AcuSystem Inspections, the relationship between our realtors and home inspectors is very important to us! There is research that proves a positive relationship between an inspector and a realtor allows for more homes to be sold through realtors. This info comes from the National Association of Realtors from their experience and numbers in 2016. Buyers have the option to choose their own home inspector, but statistics show that if a realtor can recommend a home inspector to inspect a home, they are more likely to get the job.
Thoroughness, certifications, and schedule are some of realtor’s top criteria for home inspectors.
Any relationship between the realtor and the home inspector is a win for both sides. How attentive both the realtor and inspector are to the detail of the home is a big part of this. A thorough inspections allows for more informed decisions from buyers. Here at AcuSystems Inspections we are so thorough, we can guarantee that attention to detail! We offer a buy-back guarantee, $25,000 Honor Guarantee, and a 90-day warranty. We want our clients as well as our realtor partners to feel secure when allowing us to inspect their home.
Being thorough comes with the certifications needed to show proof of proper training and ability. Here at AcuSystems we pride ourselves on our certifications and how qualified our home inspectors are for the job. Our inspectors are certified in the following associations: the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc (ASHI), the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), mold inspection certified, and pest inspection certified.
Our inspectors are also licensed Florida inspectors. At AcuSystem Inspections we are a part of the GTAR, Greater Tampa REALTORS, and we are held to a high standard by many Tampa real estate agents. We work with other neighboring areas too such as Lakeland, Riverview, and Brandon where we hold a place in the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, Riverview Chamber of Commerce and have strong relationships with the Lakeland Realtors Group.
Acusystems Inspections is open 7 AM to 9 PM all week long, including weekends! We also have a 24/7 phone service with 20 certified inspectors to try our best at accommodating any schedule you or your homeowner request.
As the cost of rent continues to rise in the Tampa Bay area and throughout all of Florida, buying a home becomes more than just a dream for many but the ideal way of gaining affordable housing. As you plan to become buyer-ready, here are 4 tips for buying a home in or around Tampa.
While having a high score is nice, more importantly having a healthy DTI ratio is key when getting a mortgage. Having a DTI of 35% or lower will make you favorable to lenders. This ratio helps lenders see how much you can afford as a monthly payment—and can help you determine how much you can afford as well. You can calculate your debt-to-income ration by adding your minimum monthly payments for all debts (personal loans, credit cards, car loans, etc.) and divide it by your monthly pre-tax income.
Pro Tip – The 28/36 Rule: When determining how much home you can afford, keep in mind that experts say your monthly mortgage payment should be less than 28% of your pre-tax monthly income and less than 36% of your total debt.
You’ll want to make sure you are getting the best rates and terms from your mortgage lender. Check what fees they charge and see if their fees are overinflated to make up for low advertised rates compared to their competitors.
You should also find a mortgage company who sees you as a person, not just another application. One that will help you to become qualified and give you sound advice. One big red flag is a mortgage company that encourages you to max out your pre-approved finance amount. Just because you are qualified for a $450,000 mortgage, doesn’t mean it is financially wise to purchase a $450,000 home. Verify what your payments will be over the term of your mortgage and that you can easily afford them.
As you shop around, keep in mind some mortgage lenders may specialize in certain types of loans. If you are not sure what type of home loan you want or qualify for, look for a lender who has several mortgage loan originators who have different specialties. This way, you can get more information about several loan options and see which one will serve you best.
Many home mortgage loans require a down payment, although not all do. It is better to prepare for the possibility you may be required to put a down payment to qualify for a loan. As you prepare to become a desirable borrower, start setting aside as much as you can to go towards a down payment—and other expenses associated with getting a mortgage and becoming a homeowner. You’ll need to consider closing costs that are paid out of pocket, the cost of an appraisal and a home inspection, moving expenses, and home maintenance costs you may have to take on after buying the home.
As a buyer, you are not responsible for the real estate agent’s fee. They are paid a commission of the sale price, a fee the seller is responsible for. So, don’t attempt house shopping by yourself if your concern is the cost of using a real estate agent. Real estate agents are professionals in their field and can help answer questions about the home buying process, finding a lender, and recommendations for other professionals, like a home inspector. Choosing to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with your future neighborhood can also be beneficial for overcoming other hurdles such as verifying the asking price is fair for the area’s amenities and ensuring the neighborhood suits your current (and future) lifestyle.
A pest inspection is not part of a typical home inspection. Granted, a home inspector will note in their report if they discover any indication of pests during a home inspection; however, not all pests may leave obvious signs of their presence. Home insurance typically excludes pest-related issues, and the cost of pest control can be significantly more than the cost of a pest inspection.
Pest inspections are recommended for
An AcuSystem certified pest inspector will review the interior and exterior of the property for signs of pest. This includes looking for:
Some of the most common pests in Florida are termites, cockroaches, and rodents, but other pests can also plague homes such as wasps, bees, spiders, and carpenter ants.
Following the pest inspection, your AcuSystem Inspector will provide you with a detailed report that includes their findings—problem areas and recommended pest control treatment.
You are not required to have a pest inspection done before buying a home in Florida, although some lenders may want one if the home has had a history of pest, especially termites.
It is important to have a home inspection completed of the property you are looking to buy. This will be the first step in identifying any potential concerns—signs of pest activity visible during the home inspection can help you determine if further investigation is necessary with a pest inspection.
Depending on the findings and our schedules, we may be able to perform a pest inspection immediately following your home inspection if there are signs of a potential pest infestation. We can discuss any concerns you have about pests or other findings on the home inspection report as soon as we are completed with our inspection.
POV: You are in love with this house and have put in an offer on it that has been accepted. You’ve just completed the home inspection and walked through each room with your Tampa AcuSystem home inspector as they pointed out things you didn’t notice before. Then, they provide you with their detailed home inspection report. There is more in it than you expected. Now you aren’t so sure about this house anymore.
Before you get totally bummed out by the house and back out of the contract. Go through your home inspection report line by line and notate which issue is a concern for you and what isn’t a big deal. Then go through it again and make sure none of the below issues are labeled as deal breakers for you now they’ve been explained a little bit. Also remember, any issue still indicated as a concern for you can be used as a negotiation tool. Discuss these concerns with your realtor to see what may be negotiated into the home sale (whether it’s a repair or cost reduction) and then determine if it is better to back out of the home purchase or stick with it.
It is important to know a good Tampa home inspector will make notes about every defect, no matter how small or insignificant it may mean. AcuSystem Inspectors want to make sure you know everything about the home you are buying—from the big picture down to the smallest details. Not all defects are a critical issue, even if at first they may seem so.
Here are some red flags that may be raised, and which really aren’t as concerning as they may appear.
Perceived Concern: Foundation Issues
Likely Issue: Unless indicated otherwise by your home inspector, cracks in the wall are usually the result of settling and not a structural issue. Settling cracks that can be hidden with some spackling and paint.
Perceived Concern: Water Damage
Likely Issue: Peeling paint can indicate water damage but if there are not other signs of such, like mold, mildewy smells, or softened drywall, then peeling paint can be just a cosmetic issues caused by time and poor quality paint.
Perceived Concern: Major Repair or Replacement Needed (High-Cost Issue)
Likely Issue: Like a car, HVACs need routine service. However, they don’t always get it. If the age of the HVAC is not a concern, then general maintenance (like cleaning the coils or ducts) may be all that is needed. This can be easily negotiated to have the seller hire an HVAC technician to perform a service visit.
Perceived Concern: Major Repair Needed (High-Cost Issue)
Likely Issue: This isn’t an alarming concern but rather a long-term energy cost to consider. In Florida, adequate—or even more than adequate—insulation is a must to keep homes cool and prevent the HVAC system from overworking itself. Insulation can cost around $0.50 - $1.50 per square foot. This can be something negotiated with the sale of the home or handled after you become a homeowner.
Perceived Concern: Major Repair Needed (High-Cost Issue)
Likely Issue: Older homes may have a lack of CFCI outlets or outlets and switches that don’t work, but this is no reason to fret (although it can be an annoyance). Having a licensed electrician out for repairs can easily remedy this concern.
Perceived Concern: Potential Foundation Issues
Likely Issue: When the floor becomes uneven, it can be a worrisome concern. It could be just a settling issues, but may require an additional inspection to ensure under the flooring are not signs of foundation concerns.
Perceived Concern: Potential Foundation Issues
Likely Issue: Most of the time, when the soil (or mulch, plants, etc.) is too high or too close to the foundation it is because the landscaping was not done correctly. When planting new items, nutrient-rich soil or mulch is often brought in but the old mulch or existing soil was not dug out first. This just means some landscaping is in your future as a new homeowner.
When buying a new home, most homebuyers are aware they should have a Home Inspection done or are advised of having one done during the buying process. However, there are other types of inspections that are more in-depth for certain aspects of a home—like inspections to check for pests or mold—or are for specific purposes, such as getting home insurance, that are not included in a traditional home inspection.
Simply enough, your home inspector will let you know if further investigation is needed to confirm the presence of pests or mold. If your insurance requires a special inspection report, they’ll let you know when you shop for a quote. So, you’ll never be truly alone or lost during the process! Especially not if AcuSystem Home Inspections is the team you rely on for your home inspection.
We believe in helping homeowners understand their biggest purchase and will take the time to review the inspection report and answer questions. We also encourage home buyers to attend the inspection and learn things about the home, such as where the breaker or main water valve is located or how an appliance may work.
Home inspections are very thorough—check hundreds of areas (over 400!). You can review the Florida Home Inspection Standards of Practice we follow to see the extent of how well we inspect homes.
While they are thorough, there are some things that cannot be verified during a home inspection. A home inspection may indicate signs of mold or signs pests are present, but a further inspection is necessary to determine the extent of the infestation and the damage present.
Should we have any concerns, not only will we include it in our detailed home inspection report, but we will also let you know if we recommend another inspection as your next course of action to remedy those concerns.
If you need a home inspection, if you have any concerns about pests or mold at your home, or your insurance company wants a specific inspection, then call us to schedule an inspection and we’ll get your needs taken care of!
A standard home inspection is a “visual examination of the readily accessible systems and components of a home”. The inspections are non-intrusive and rely mainly on the eye of the home inspector with what they see/ don’t see. A home inspector will never move around furniture or the personal belongings of a client. A home inspector will also never take pieces of the home apart like the floor, walls etc. The purpose of a home inspection is not to take apart the home and put it back together—it is to make sure the home is functional, safe and up to code from a superficial standpoint.
A home inspector will also test certain mechanical features of the home like their HVAC system, electricity, and water lines.
It is most common for a client to request a home inspection after they’ve had their offer to purchase the home approved by the previous homeowner. With the exception of certain property contracts and documents, usually there is a two-week grace period that allows time for the home inspection to take place. This period is the time between the offer being accepted and the beginning of the closing process on the home.
It is common for a home inspector to find at least one thing wrong with a client’s home, whether the issue is big or small the client must realize that this is normal. The point of the home inspection is to search for possible flaws in the home so that they can be properly corrected before the homeowners move in.
A home inspector will often label an issue as a “maintenance issue” if the issue is not making the home unsafe for the clients to move in; typically, the problems found don’t always have to be fixed right away.
Your home inspector will never withhold information from you, it is their job to tell you all problems and possible fixes, whether they are small or large. The homeowner will always be educated on the problem so that they can understand what the next steps are for them and their home in correcting these problems.
In the event there are no problem areas found in a home, your home inspector can suggest a specialty inspection to go more in-depth on your home. Such additional home inspections may be insurance inspections, energy assessments, and blower door testing. Home inspectors do not check for these things because they go beyond the superficial characteristics of the client’s home.
When choosing your home inspector, it is always a good idea to do your research on the company you are thinking of going through. Look through their website, ratings and even call to learn more about what they provide, the training and certifications. Check out our certifications, licenses, and training as well as the benefits we have to offer our clients here.
Before a home inspection, if the client has any questions or concerns regarding their home it is suggested that they write them down to be shared with the home inspector. After arriving on inspection day, clients can address these concerns with the home inspector to make sure that their questions are answered at the best ability of the inspector.
The process of a home inspection allows for the buyer/ homeowner to understand the status of their home, so it is important that the clients attend the inspection. The home inspectors’ goal is to educate the client so that they can choose their action plan for their home.
A home inspector cannot give you their personal opinions on what they view the value of the home is or what they feel the homes worth is—that is up to the client to decide after the inspection. One on one attention is provided to the clients by their home inspector at the end to run through the results of the inspection and their report on the home.
Looking for more information on home inspections or looking to set up an appointment to have your home inspected? AcuSystem Inspections can help you out! Our company specializes in home and business inspections. Call us at (813) 361-9302 to request your home inspection service.