What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Buyers, here is a list of the major items home inspections will cover depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.

Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems, (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical siring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

Whether you are a first time home buyer or buying your first lake home or cabin, I’d be happy to help you find the home or cabin in NW Wisconsin that’s just right for you. Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. Email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com

Douglas County WI homes for sale. Washburn County WI homes for sale.

It’s 2018. Where’s your new up north cabin?

If you’ve resolved that this is the year to buy a new lake home or cabin in northwest Wisconsin, then it’s time to get started.

NW Wisconsin lake cabin

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to find a new lake home or cabin and get moved in before Memorial Day weekend, well, then I am a little concerned.

Here’s why: It may take us a while to find the lake and the cabin that are just right for you. Figure a little negotiating before you have an accepted offer, and then typically about another 45-60 days before the actual closing can take place.

So if you’d like to enjoy weekends at your new cabin this summer, it may not make sense to delay your search until May or June. If you want to actually own that cabin by May or June, then the time to get started is right now.

If we get underway quickly and things happen fast, there’s still one situation when a late spring could complicate your plans. That’s if you’re buying a three-season cabin that has its water turned off in the winter. You’ll probably want an inspection, and it’s hard to inspect a cabin’s well, septic system, and plumbing without turning on the water. But even then, I’m usually able to help buyers and sellers work things out.

And if you’re buying a year-round lake home or cabin, the best time to buy is… Year-round. So if you’re ready to turn those up-north Wisconsin cabin dreams into reality, give me a call now at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Preventing Frozen Septic Systems

Although it’s been an unseasonably warm fall in Northwest Wisconsin, it’s never too early to start planning ahead.  If you’re buying a home or cabin up north, you may want to take extra precautions so its septic system doesn’t freeze up this winter.

septic-system

 

This is usually only a problem during extremely cold winters when there’s very little snow.  We experienced an epidemic of frozen septic systems back in the winter of 2002-2003.  Some small towns in Northern Wisconsin even had their municipal systems freeze when the frost reached depths of eight or nine feet.

Usually it’s not the septic tank itself that freezes first; instead it’s the pipe between the house and the tank, or else the pipe leading from the septic tank to the drain field.  (Sometimes it’s the drain field itself.)  The first situation causes an immediate backup.  The second can turn your septic tank into a holding tank.  Both, however, can usually be resolved by your local septic experts.

To prevent these problems from happening in the first place, your best bet is to to buy several bales of straw next November.  Break them apart and fluff up the straw as you spread it out over the ground above your septic system and drain field.  You may also want to spread some over the area between your house and the septic tank.  In the spring, this straw will make great mulch for your garden.

(Every fall around here, you’ll see ads for “sewer hay.”  That term is used generically; it’s up-north lingo for just this kind of situation.  But make sure you get clean straw, rather than substandard hay with lots of weed seeds.)

Or, if you’re not into gardening, go to the home improvement store for a few sheets of 2” foam insulation.  Lay them out over your septic tank and drain field, put a couple of rocks on them so they don’t blow away before they’re covered with snow, and then sit back and wait for winter.

Need a break from studying up on septic sucking issues? Relax a bit by viewing some of my current listings (and maybe even take a few virtual video tours via YouTube), just click here.

Think outside the cabin box.

Maybe you’re thinking of buying a cabin up here in Northwestern Wisconsin.  And maybe, it could be that using or living in your cabin year-round is part of your long-range plan.

Your plan might be a good one.  But be realistic about whether your cabin is a three-season, 3.5 season, or four-season cabin.  In some cases, insulation upgrades and retrofits can be tough. If you are financing the purchase, lenders can be very specific about the type of cabin they will finance. Generally, they won’t finance a three-season cabin. But talk to your lender about what they can finance.

Be realistic, too, about how big that cabin is.  Even if it’s great for a long weekend, is it really big enough for seven days a week, twelve months a year?  Can even two people live in it without getting cabin fever?  Is there storage room?

Next, think outside the cabin box.  Can a new garage with a shop and extra storage solve those problems?  Can you add on?  (Don’t forget, though, to check your local zoning and waterfront setback regulations.  They could limit your options.)

I’d be glad to help you find a cabin for now—and maybe even for later.  And maybe your current cabin is the best long-term solution.  But if trading up is an even better solution, give me a call.  I can help you sell your current cabin and help you find a lake home that’s just right.

Start your Northwest Wisconsin cabin search at Jean Hedren, Edina Realty: http://www.jeanhedren.com/

A new home buyer recently asked the question “how do I get financing?”

How do I get financing?” that’s a great question. To answer that question, the first step is to contact a mortgage loan professional in your area.
Hero-affordahomeShopping online for a mortgage can be a frustrating experience, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Most of the online providers are national chains and not necessarily tuned in to your local area, or may not provide the advice you need.

Getting the best advice for your individual circumstances is so important. So start by talking to a professional either in person or on the phone. And, get a second opinion. Banks have different programs and services. Find one that is the best fit for your needs.

The initial consultation

Talk with your home mortgage consultant about your financing needs, current situation, and goals. Your home mortgage consultant will help you determine the next steps, including:

  • Income, assets, liabilities, and current real estate owned
  • Credit reports

Your mortgage consultant will share information on loan products based on your needs and credit profile.

A buyer recently asked “how do I get financing?” I’m glad you asked.

A buyer recently asked the question “how do I get financing?

To answer that question, the first step is to contact a mortgage loan professional in your area.

Shopping online for a mortgage can be a frustrating experience, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Most of the online providers are national chains and not necessarily tuned in to your local area, or may not provide the advice you need.

Getting the best advice for your individual circumstances is so important. So start by talking to a professional either in person or on the phone. And, get a second opinion. Banks have different programs and services. Find one that is the best fit for your needs.

The initial consultation

Talk with your home mortgage consultant about your financing needs, current situation, and goals. Your home mortgage consultant will help you determine the next steps, including:

  • Income, assets, liabilities, and current real estate owned
  • Credit reports

Your mortgage consultant will share information on loan products based on your needs and credit profile.

Ready to get pre approved? Visit my website and connect with Edina Realty Mortgage. www.JeanHedren.com

Edina Realty Mortgage

Home buyers: A first look at the property’s exterior condition

Home buyers: A first look at the property’s exterior condition

This post supplements my earlier one about what to look for in a home’s interior. When you’re looking over the exterior, check out the:

  • Foundation. Floors poured concrete. Walls concrete or cinder blocks. No evidence of water seepage or moisture problems. Note that minor settling cracks are not usually structurally significant.
  • Doors and windows. Easy to open and close. Easy storm and/or screen removal and installation. Newer windows are usually more insulative.
  • Roof. Gutters and downspouts in good condition. If older home, know how long shingles have been in use. (Metal or rubber roofs even better.) Chimney flashing tightly caulked.
  • Garage. Doors or opener in good working order. Sufficient electrical, lighting, and heating for your needs.

Again, you can always make your offer contingent on what you learn from a professional home inspection. I tell my buyers this is one of the best investments they’ll ever make. But then, and even on your first walk-through, keep your sense of perspective. Most problems can be fixed – either by the seller now, or by you later. And it’s good to have realistic expectations. No house is perfect, and even newly built homes can have their flaws. The main thing is to keep your eyes open and make an informed decision.

Ready to start shopping for your home? Give me a call or visit www.JeanHedren.com.