Home Inspections: Items That Are Not Deal Breakers

After making an offer on a home, you will move to the contract phase should that offer be accepted.  A part of the contract should include scheduling a home inspection.  Depending on what is found this can allow you to cancel the contract or renegotiate and ask for repairs.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed.  It is the inspector’s job to inform you about the property.  A structural defect such as a major foundation issue or significant water damage are at the top of the list of things that you would want to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that do not need to be deal killers.  Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for those items to be repaired.

CONCRETE FLOOR CRACKS – Cracks in a concrete driveway, garage or basement floor may seem like a structural problem, but this is natural and not indicative of significant damage.  Small cracks occur in concrete because it’s a porous substance.   These cracks can be fixed at a relatively low cost and shouldn’t be a reason to back out of a contract.

What is something that’s cause for concern are cracks in concrete walls, as these may or may not be associated with the structure.  If the wall has moved or if the cracks have a large opening, then these may be deal killers.

MOLD – Mold is something that no one ever wants to have in a house but a little bit of mold by the shower doesn’t mean you have to back out of the contract.  Should mold be found during an inspection then you can have a qualified mold inspector for further evaluation.  Not all molds are toxic, but the best way to determine is by hiring a mold professional.

BUG INFESTATION – Bug infestations can cause significant damage to the home’s structure if they are not exterminated quickly and efficiently.  A qualified pest inspector can tell you if the home has just a few bugs or if you should rescind your offer.

LEAD-BASED PAINT – Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it is still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban.  If this is of concern to you, you can look at homes built after this date or have an inspection.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how comfortable you are with purchasing a home with lead-based paint, but it doesn’t have to be a deal killer.  You can hire a contractor who is certified to remove lead-based paint, and the home can be completely safe.

So, as you can see, not all things that show up on an inspection need to be a deal-breaker.  Home inspections are a chance for you to gather information about the property at that given time.  Once you are armed with this information you can determine what items need to be addressed.  In many instances, these problems are opportunities for you to negotiate with the seller for resolution.  

When you make an offer, you can discuss with your agent about other ways to protect yourself from working but aging systems in the home.  In this case, a home warranty might a good thing to negotiate in the initial offer.      

Check out our list of Trusted Providers to find a Home Inspector or Contact Us to learn more and ask any questions you may have.

Know What Goes Into Your Credit Score

Everyone knows that a credit score is important.  A good score gains you favorable interest rates and access to a variety of mortgage loans.  While this does not assure you of a healthy financial future it does build on a strong foundation.

But do you know how your credit score is determined?  Being armed with information about how to build and protect your credit score can be key to raise your score.  Here are some important facts:

AVERAGE AGE OF OPEN CREDIT LINES:  The longer your credit history and the older your accounts the better.  That is why it’s a good idea to keep older credit cards open and active, and start applying for credit at a young age.

DEROGATORY MARKS: Derogatory Marks are negative items on your credit report such as tax liens, bankruptcy and collections.  These records stay on your credit for 7 to 10 years.  If you have one on your credit report it can indicate, you mismanaged your credit in the past.  The best way to overcome these negative items is to start rebuilding healthy credit.

ON-TIME PAYMENT PERCENTAGE This is the percentage of payments you’ve made on time during your credit history.  This plays a huge role in determining your credit worthiness.  Making one or two late payments could significantly impact your score for the worse.  Setting up automatic bill pay or a calendar reminder for bill due dates can help you keep track and get payments in on time. 

TOTAL ACCOUNTS:   Consumers with more accounts often have a higher credit score.  This is because it indicates that more lenders are willing to give them credit.  Having a good mix of different types of credit is good for overall credit health as well.  But be prudent:  Only apply for credit cards you need.  There is no need to apply for every store credit card in which you make a purchase.

HARD INQUIRIES:  When you apply for a credit card, auto loan or mortgage, a hard credit inquiry is initiated on your credit report.  One hard inquiry will have little impact on your credit score, but multiple inquiries can have a larger impact.  A soft inquiry is when you check your rate to see what you quality for.  If you are unsure, check with your potential lender before applying to see if they hard or soft pull to protect your credit score.  

CREDIT CARD UTILIZATION:  This number is a percentage that is calculated by taking the total of your credit card balances and dividing that number by your total credit card limits.  This will show creditors how much of your total available credit you are already using.  The lower your credit card utilization, the higher your credit score. 

***It is important to remember that once you make loan application for a mortgage you should not obtain any new credit accounts.  This new debt or potential debt can negatively affect your credit score and what you qualify for.  (Don’t buy a new car or charge a new refrigerator on your credit card), wait until you have closed on your new home to incur any new or added debt.

Have additional questions? Contact us and we would be happy to help!

3 Things No One Tells You About Working with a Real Estate Agent

If you’ve never bought or sold a home with a real estate agent chances are you have a preconceived notion of what real estate agents do for you.  Unfortunately, you may have some incorrect ideas.  Here are three things you probably never knew about working with a real estate agent.

Your relationship with your real estate agent goes beyond buying or selling a home.  A professional real estate agent is your connection to a myriad of resources that you will need during your purchase or after the sale of your home.  This includes but is not limited to professional moving companies, mortgage companies, title and insurance professionals, painters, landscapers, repair services, home stagers, cleaning services, etc.  This referral network goes even further as real estate agents are active in their community and have a multitude of contacts in their database.  Some of these might include where you can find a local dog park, art events, a dentists or hair salon.  A real estate agent can help you as you acclimate to your new community and neighborhood.

Good Real estate agents are not just chasing a commission.  They’re building a lasting relationship that means you are a client for life.  They’re looking after your best interest and will help you to make the best decision for your unique situation.  A true professional will advise you on how to structure your real estate transaction to best meet your needs given the market conditions at that time.  The lifeblood of a real estate professional’s business is earning the trust and referrals of their customers and clients.

A professional agent is up to date on the local market.  They will provide you with valuable information about the comparable sales data.  They also can assist you in making the best offer when bidding on a home to purchase.  A professional agent will have in-depth knowledge of the market conditions.  They will be able to educate and inform you on how to best prepare your home for the market or how to structure an offer on your purchase.  Price, location and condition are key but also understanding your timing and specific goals will help you to make an informed decision.

There is more to a good real estate agent that meets the eye.  Finding the right professional to work with is key to assuring you have a positive and successful real estate future!

We would love to speak with you more about how The Cheri Drake Team can help you. Contact us today!

Are You Ready to Downsize?

As we open the beginning of  a new decade, how do you know if 2020 is the right time to downsize? As you graduate to the next chapter of your life, what questions should you answer?

  1. Do you want/need one level living?
  2. How many bedrooms do you need?
  3. Would you consider a stand alone home, townhome or condo?
  4. What about yard space?
  5. What financial considerations do you need to keep in mind?

Once you have thought about these things, don’t keep them a secret. Getting rid of belongings can be difficult especially if your grown children remind you of all the memories each item contains. Remember this…memories go with you in your heart, not in objects. It is also a great itme for the kids to take items they cherish and you no longer need.

As we age it is hard to think about mobility issues but a one level home can be great for open spaces when family comes to visit. You can explore homes that have FEMA safe rooms rather than basements. A fun fact–basements can add $50,000-$75,000 to a home’s cost! This makes for expensive storage.

Some townhomes and condos have a Home Owners Association. This may not be for everyone, so be sure to ask about the cost for local lawn care and snow removal.

When you gather all the facts you may find that you don’t downsize in square footage but “resize” or “right size” based on your changing needs. A Realtor™ can help you find the right fit.

Don’t fret! It took Goldilocks some time to find the right place.  With some thought, shopping and planning you can find the perfect fit as well.

Welcome to the NEW Cheri Drake Team Website!

As I head into my 30th year in the real estate industry I found myself reflecting on all of the advancements that have been made in this field over the years. Connection has always been my number one goal and I would never have imagined I would be carrying around a computer or cell phone that allows me to stay connected to my clients no matter my location or time of day. 

With that in mind, we knew it was time to update some of the methods we used to communicate externally and internally. Our original website had been with us for many years and it definitely was time for an update.

We’d like to welcome you to the new and improved Cheri Drake Team website! We will be using this “Breaking News” section for a variety of topics including educational information, current transactions, fun community information and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook so you see when we post a new article/message on here. 

Thank you for being a part of the Cheri Drake Team family. Yes–even if you are just visiting for the first time, you are part of our family and we look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs!

Please reach out if you have any questions or would like additional information from us. Fill out the Contact Form online and we will be in touch as soon as possible.


~Cheri Drake – Associate Broker, Realtor™, CRS, GRI