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Q&A Series: Real Estate Uncovered, vol 1, iss 3

Are home inspections really worth it for the buyer? What about public open houses for the seller?

People ask me and my real estate partner and husband Robert Meaux real estate questions all the time. We know many other people are probably asking the same questions. Here’s where Real Estate Uncovered comes in.

Periodically I will post Q&As we’ve discussed with someone or respond to questions we’ve heard from others. If you have a real estate question you always wanted answered, email it to me. Click here to learn more about us, what our clients think about us and our track record of sales and rentals that stands at 85 and counting.

Q1:  If the house I am buying looks to be in good shape, should I spend the extra money on a home inspection? I could really use that money for something else.

A1:  Simply, yes. It doesn’t matter how good the home looks, always, always, have a home inspection. If it is new construction, they may not allow a home inspection if they have a punch list review and full warranty; just make sure you are covered.

When you have a good, thorough inspection, it will be some of the best money you will spend in the home-buying process. It will probably be the only time someone will go through every corner of the home: going into crawl spaces, checking out the roof, looking for termites, structural issues, etc.

Home inspections are not just a process for you to find out if there is anything you can/should negotiate with the seller to remediate or credit; it is almost as important a time for you to learn how the home functions and how to keep every part of it running smoothly. You should come with questions and ideas to discuss with the home inspector. Measure your furniture beforehand, too. This is a great time to go over layout and window sizes.

Most home inspections are done after attorney review is completed and the home is under contract. If the buyer and seller cannot come to terms during the home inspection contingency period, the transaction may not go forward. Every situation is unique. Always engage your attorney and real estate agent during this process.

Q2: How should I best find a home inspector?  

A2:  Find a home inspector by asking your friends, family, real estate agent or by checking the American Society of Home Inspector website. There are those who believe they should never use anyone recommended by a real estate agent. That’s an unfortunate opinion normally based on a bad experience with an unprofessional real estate agent. Home buyers should take the time to make sure they are working with a real estate agent they trust, just as much as home sellers do.

Whomever you use, make sure you understand the service they provide, who exactly is conducting the inspection, if the report contains pictures and when/how you will receive the home inspection report. The latter is very important. You do not want to miss your home inspection contingency date or risk having things delayed just because you couldn’t get the report; doing so could cause problems with the transaction.

Q3: Is it really worth me having a Public Open House? Should I have one every Sunday?

A3: There are two types of open houses: Broker Open House and Public Open House. In regards to public open houses, they are normally held on Sundays in this area anytime between Noon – 5 p.m., although once in a while you will see one on a Saturday.

Bob and I look at open houses as just one of the many marketing tools available to expose a home to as many potential home buyers as possible.

Many naysayers say public open houses are a waste of time and only for the real estate agent to get clients. Or, they don’t want their noisy neighbors to come in.

If you are selling your home, don’t you want to do everything possible? What are a few hours out of the house if the right buyer gets to see it? It is rare for a home to actually sell at an open house. It has happened to me only twice, but there are many times when someone has come back during the week because he loved it at the open house. It’s also a time to group showings from real estate agents, which saves you from leaving your home again. When real estate agents have a buyer on Sunday they may just add your house because it is open. With so many homes on the market, many home buyers also use this time as a way to create a short list to review with their real estate agent. So, yes, the real estate agent hosting the public open house may have an opportunity to meet new clients but more importantly your home may meet its new homeowner.

We don’t believe there’s a need to have public open houses every Sunday. We’ve never heard of a home not selling because the homeowners didn’t have enough open houses. You have to remember; open houses are just one marketing tool to use in promoting your home and should not be the only thing.

Should you do at least one? Yes. Should you keep doing them over and over again? Not really.

NOTE: Answers to these questions are based on our (Robert and Beverly Meaux) research, opinions and experience only. All information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed, and are not intended to create any type of agency relationship.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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