BuyersHome InspectionLocalTips May 3, 2023

Home Inspection 101: What to Know

Most buyers and sellers know that a home inspection can be a big part of the real estate process, but when it comes right down to it, do you know what to expect from one? By the end of this blog post, you will! We’re here to cover:

  1. What a home inspection actually is
  2. How to get set up with one if you need it
  3. How to find the right inspector for you
  4. How long it might take
  5. Other inspections you might want to consider
  6. What to do after your home inspection is complete

Let’s dive in!


What is a home inspection?

First, be sure you don’t confuse this with a home appraisal. Appraisals are often required by lenders to confirm that the agreed-upon price lines up with the property’s actual value. These may not find some of the serious issues you would want to know about as a buyer—or even as a seller!

A home inspection is a noninvasive exam of a property. It’s intended to give an idea of the condition of that property as well as bring to light any potential safety concerns. Remember, though, that it is noninvasive. Your inspector will not be opening up walls, for example, and may not even move things like furniture and rugs, which means that unfortunately they can’t be expected to catch everything. They should, however, check out attics, basements, crawl spaces, and so on in addition to rooms that get more everyday use.

Home inspections aren’t a part of every sale, but many buyers ask for a home inspection contingency in their offer to make sure there are no “deal breakers” before they go through with closing.


How do I get one?

Buyers who need a home inspection should weigh their local options before deciding which inspector to go with. (More on this in a bit.) But don’t take too long! There will be a set amount of time in your purchase agreement for you to complete the home inspection process. Keep your agent in the loop as you decide; they’re your best advocate and likely know most of your options in the area.

As a buyer, you would likely pay for and schedule the inspection. Some buyers may negotiate for the sellers to cover it in the purchase agreement, but it’s not always the way to go. Although home inspectors are, ideally, an objective third party, there’s peace of mind in knowing that they are working directly for you and in no one else’s interest.

Most inspectors are happy (and may even expect) to have buyers tag along for the inspection, and it’s a good idea to do so if you can. You can ask questions and get information in real time, along with getting a closer look at the property you’re about to invest in. Sellers should be careful to make sure the inspector can easily access the property to make everything go as smoothly as possible. That means making sure keys or a lockbox are ready to go, utilities are connected, and pilot lights are on if the property has been vacant while listed.

(Oh—and sellers, you can also get a pre-inspection before listing your property if you’d like to know what is likely to pop up and possibly address a few things ahead of time!)


How do I find the right inspector?


First things first: Ohio licenses home inspectors, so it is important to work with an inspector who holds a license issued by the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. Next, look for certifications like InterNACHI (the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) and ASHI (the American Society of Home Inspectors), which shows you they have official training in providing home inspections. You also want your inspector to be insured, experienced, and have a solid knowledge of local issues your property may face. These range from local pest populations to specific soil types that affect the settling of a home. Reviews, testimonials, and referrals are also usually reliable ways to learn more about an inspector.

Some home inspectors will be able to offer repairs and renovations, though there’s a chance they may see defects as the opportunity for more work—so be prepared to take their recommendations with a grain of salt.


How long does a home inspection take?

In terms of how long it takes from finding an inspector to getting the final report, expect anywhere from one to three weeks. Your purchase agreement should outline this very clearly. The day of, you can expect your actual inspection to range from two to three hours, though it could be more or less, depending on the size of the property and the shape it’s in. After the inspection is completed, you can usually expect the report to come from your inspector within a few days.


What other inspections should I consider?


A home inspection can be very broad. If you have specific concerns, there are other types of inspections that may be able to give you more detailed answers. For example, you may want to know more about:

  • The presence of radon
  • Wood destroying inspects
  • Mold and mildew concerns
  • Sewage and drainage
  • …and more!


What comes next?

When you receive your home inspection report, it will be broken down into different sections of your house. Be prepared to see lots of “defects” listed. A home inspector will note even the most minor things they notice—and that’s a good thing! However, it doesn’t mean everything they find is necessarily a concern. It’s important to note the difference between genuine hazards and inconveniences. In other words, “now” fixes and “later” fixes. An active leak is usually a “now” fix, as well as potential foundation issues. Some “later” fixes might include jiggly doorknobs and other superficial flaws that don’t pose a danger, though they may be unsightly or even somewhat annoying.

Now is the time to decide what you’ll do with the information in your report. Will you continue with the sale as planned? Do you feel the need to renegotiate terms like closing costs, overall price, or repairs that need to be made before closing? Is there anything concerning enough to warrant backing out of the deal completely?

If you choose to ask for repairs or changes, be sure to follow up to be sure that everything is on track for a timely closing. You may even need to set up a reinspection to confirm that your concerns have been addressed. Then, it’s time to get moved in and enjoy your new home!


Our trusted REALTORS® are standing by and ready to help you with your next real estate transaction! Reach out today to get started on your next purchase or sale.

Contact Us:

SellersTips April 17, 2023


Good real estate photography could mean the difference between a slow sale and an all-out bidding war. Many sellers, however, find themselves wondering if it’s really worthwhile to hire a professional. After all, they’ve got a perfectly useable smartphone camera right in their own pocket!

While it’s true that digital photography is making it easier than ever to get quality photos on your own, photographing your property is a completely different animal than your usual family snapshots. Let’s look at a few reasons why real estate photography is so important, what a professional can offer, and how to get semi-professional results if you do decide to go it alone. 


Why is real estate photography important? 

First impressions are just as important in real estate as they are anywhere else. It’s up to you to make your property stand out from the comps and highlight its unique advantages.

Even though most buyers will hire a realtor to help them in their search, a large part of that search will probably still happen online. Even if your house fits a buyer’s criteria, they might consider it a red flag if you only show photos of the outside of your house or if the photos you do show aren’t well lit or staged. After that, it’s all too easy for them to scroll down to the next listing. 

On the other hand, if your property lacks some of the features found in the same price range, you can use photography to encourage interest in the features you do have. Too few bedrooms? Highlight that amazing kitchen reno!


How can a professional help?

Real estate photographers have a different skill set than portrait, food, or product photographers. They know about lighting dark rooms attractively and getting a full view of tight spaces. 

Want an example? Try getting a shot of your powder room with your smartphone. Challenging, right? You can’t back up far enough to get everything in the frame. 

A professional real estate photographer will have a wide to ultra-wide angle lens to solve this problem, as well as a tripod. But here’s the catch: while those lenses might allow you to get the whole room in one shot, they’ll probably cause some distortion too (meaning, the walls might appear to be tilted or curved). A pro can fix those distortions with a professional photo editing program. 

They can also optimize your photos for use on social media, so your images don’t appear stretched from being taken at the wrong aspect ratio. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone take all that off your hands?


How to find the right photographer:

Make sure the photographer you choose has experience in real estate photography. They should have a portfolio to show you! Some photographers will even offer extras like drone shots for large properties or a 3D walkthrough. 

Your realtor may be able to recommend a good photographer, but make sure your house is staged and ready before they get to work. Taking photos of your house in the wrong state could be a worse idea than foregoing the photography altogether!

Make sure you understand how you are allowed to use your real estate photos! Your photographer will be happy to talk real estate image rights over with you to make sure everyone is on the same page.


What if I decide to take the photos myself?

Though a professional will give you the best results, it is possible to take listing photos on your own if the budget is tight. Start by treating your photoshoot like you would a showing:

  • Open your curtains to let in lots of light…unless there is something unsightly outside the window that might turn buyers off. 
  • Close your toilet lids, cabinets, and shower curtains. It just looks nicer.
  • Move your cars before taking the exterior shots so they aren’t blocking the driveway.
  • Don’t spend too much time on arty details. Buyers would rather get an idea of the scale of your rooms and the flow of the property.
  • Put away any personal items. This is important for your privacy, but also because too many personal touches make it hard for buyers to picture themselves living in the space.
  • Watch out for your own reflection! Stand to the side of mirrors and other reflective surfaces as you shoot.

It’s best to use a DSLR or mirrorless to take listing photos, leaving your smartphone as a last resort. Consider renting a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider is ideal) if you don’t want to buy one, although there are several affordable third-party options on Amazon. 

You will most likely need an off-camera flash. Your camera’s built-in pop-up flash will create distracting flares and unflattering lighting. An off-camera flash can be mounted on top of your camera and pointed at the ceiling to “bounce” softer, more even lighting down into the room.


If you must shoot with a smartphone:

Stand as far back as you can to get as much of each room as possible. Look for free apps that will help you “stitch” multiple photos together to get more of the room in one shot. If the images turn out on the dark side, you may be able to boost the exposure in your smartphone’s native photo editor.


If your homemade listing photos are too big:

You may have trouble uploading photos to the web because the file size is too large. If you are comfortable using a photo editor, open the image sizing options (or in Lightroom, the Export options). Save images for web at 72dpi. Make sure they are JPEG files and not RAW, TIFF, or PNG files. 1000px for the longest side is usually a safe bet.

If photo editing software is a little further than you want to go, you can use a site like TinyJPG. There you can automatically compress your image to a useable size with a simple drag and drop. 

Whether you go with a professional or take the shots yourself, real estate photography is an important step toward listing your property. It will generate interest, show off can’t-miss features, and encourage buyers to schedule a showing and see the place in person.

Your realtor will help you along the way. They likely know which local photographers do great work and can help you get in contact. A realtor can also give you any pointers you need as you stage your property and get it ready for its close up. Then, all you have to do is get your photos uploaded, make the listing official, and sit back and wait for the showing requests to start rolling in.



RoofingSellersTips April 17, 2023


Now that the snow has finally started to melt and the sun is showing its face again, you may be seeing your home with fresh eyes for the first time in quite a while. This is a time of year when many homeowners become aware of roofing issues that may have escaped their notice over the long winter.


Have those shingles always looked a little uneven? 


And what are all those little granules coming out of the downspout over there?


If you’re wondering whether a total roof replacement is needed or if you just need a roof repair, here are some signs that will give you a good idea.



Drooping and sagging


The good news: minor sagging can be fixable when it is the result of small design flaws in the framing or too many layers of shingles. So it’s possible a roofing professional will be able to address the issue without giving you an entirely new roof. This is not an issue to put off, though. The sooner you take action, the better your chances. 


The bad news: major roof drooping, sagging and waviness are strong indicators that your roof is at the end of its lifespan—especially if it’s starting to show its age in other ways too. It could also be a warning sign of rot caused by moisture, which could lead to big problems if left unchecked.





Knowing when to replace your roof is a delicate process. You don’t want to pay for an overhaul if there are still a few years left in it, but you don’t want to wait for a major issue either. The materials that make up your roof will help to give you a rough idea:


  • Wood shingles can last up to thirty years if they are being regularly inspected.
  • Asphalt shingles, the most common roofing materials, can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty years.
  • Architectural shingles are thicker and sometimes more aesthetically pleasing than other asphalt shingles, and often have a longer lifespan as well. They can last for twenty-five to thirty years.
  • Clay tiles can last fifty years, which makes them well worth the higher investment you or the previous owner made on the front end.
  • Metal roofing can vary depending on the type and thickness of the metal used. Lifespans range from a mere twenty years up to seventy or more!
  • Slate can last over a hundred years if the rafters are strong enough to support them.


If you know that your roof is starting to near the end of its lifespan and you are starting to notice warning signs, it may be time to look at a roof replacement.



Moss and algae


Plant life may be picturesque on a forest floor, but it should never be allowed to grow on your roof. Moss and algae are synonymous with moisture, which is the last thing you want leaching through your shingles!


A small amount of growth may be no cause for concern if you address it right away. Scraping it by hand and washing away excess with a garden hose is the gentlest route. You can also try a moss control powder made from zinc sulfate. Once you’ve cleared the existing moss, keep branches trimmed away from your roof and regularly clean your gutters to keep it at bay. If moss is a big concern for you, there are zinc strips that you can apply to your roof each year to help with the problem.


In some cases, too much moss and/or algae means a full roof replacement. Roots may have made their way between shingles, causing buckling, loosening, and maybe even leaking. Be sure to discuss options with your local roofing professional to see how you can keep your new roof plant free.



Isolated damage


Don’t worry if you have a couple of missing shingles or even a small leak. It’s not uncommon to need minor repairs after a big storm or a run in with falling branches! If your roof is still relatively young, these repairs are short work for a roofing professional. The most important thing is to call before these small issues grow into something more serious! 


If your flashing is showing wear (that’s the material sealing the openings in your roof around chimneys, gutters, etc.) it may be a matter of simply replacing your tar flashing with an updated metal flashing system.


A see-through attic


If you can see daylight streaming through the roof in your attic, it is rarely a good sign—particularly with asphalt shingles. If light can make it through, so can moisture. This does, however, make it easier to identify problem spots, which is always a good thing! As with the other issues on this list, if you are seeing light in an isolated spot, it may mean you just need a quick roof repair. If your attic is starting to remind you of disco night at the bowling alley, you may want to budget for a roof replacement.



Rogue shingle granules


If you’re finding more shingle granules than usual in your gutters or downspout, it could be an early sign that a roof replacement is in your future. Older roofs tend to shed more granules as they age. You can also look at the shingles themselves to see if the coloring has started to look inconsistent. If your roof is getting on in years and there’s evidence that the shingles are starting to wear thin, you may want to call a local roofing professional to come out and inspect it.


In fact, whether you think you need a quick and painless repair or are worried you’re headed for an entirely new roof, it’s always helpful to get a professional opinion. When it comes to your roof, it’s not just a matter of curb appeal; it’s about keeping your home safe, dry, and structurally sound. The superficial things you’ve noticed may be warning signs of a less obvious problem, or you might be pleasantly surprised at what can be fixed with the right knowledge and tools! 




BuyersTips April 17, 2023


Buying a home can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenging one. If you want to make sure the process goes smoothly, there are a few common mistakes you can avoid when buying a home, and we’ve got five big ones to share with you today! 


1. Skipping Preapproval

When you are in the market for a new home, getting preapproval from a mortgage lender is always a good idea. It gives you reasonable certainty about what you can afford, and it shows sellers that you are serious about buying.


Can you still get a mortgage if you find the perfect home before getting preapproval? Probably so (although it may not be as quick or easy). But the more important question is: If you find yourself in a multiple offer situation and you are the only buyer without a preapproval, what are your chances of the seller taking a gamble on your offer?


2. Going with Your First Mortgage Quote

Shopping around for a mortgage may seem like extra work on the front end, but it’s well worth it. Different lenders may have different interest rates, fees, discounts, and even closing costs. They may also offer different mortgage types. Some may have more competitive rates while others have flexible requirements. It is important to compare the terms and conditions of each offer before making a final decision. 


If worry over your credit score has you sticking with the first bank you looked at, you’ll be happy to know that as long as your applications fall within the same forty-five-day window, they all count as one credit inquiry. If you go to five different banks for a mortgage quote, the credit bureaus know you’re not likely to be buying five different houses.


Speaking of your credit score, make sure you request your free credit report for the year from all three major credit bureaus to ensure everything is correct. This information could affect the mortgage quote you receive, so you want it to be as accurate as possible!


3. Working Alone

A REALTOR® can help you find the perfect property for your needs and budget. The have access to MLS listings, which means they can show you houses that may not show up on online listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, or even They also have indispensable expertise and local connections that come in handy as you navigate the process of home buying. A REALTOR’S® commission is paid with proceeds deducted from the closing, with very few exceptions.


4. Not Knowing Your Own Budget

While a preapproval will give you a good idea of how much house you can reasonably afford, it’s still a good idea to take a long look at your finances before getting in over your head. Start with a mortgage affordability calculator (there are several good ones online). You want one that takes several factors into account:


  • Yearly household income
  • Debts
  • Monthly payments
  • Down payment
  • Loan term
  • An approximate credit score, and
  • Interest rate


You should be able to tinker with the loan factors to see what purchase amounts result in higher or lower monthly payments, how different down payments affect how much you can afford, and so on. Remember that a mortgage affordability calculator is a tool to get you in the right ballpark—it is not a replacement for professional advice.


As you budget, keep in mind that there are a lot of hidden costs when buying a home. Inspections, the appraisal, an earnest money deposit, ownership transfer fees, insurance, and more could catch you by surprise if you’re only taking the list price into account.. 


5. Making Big Purchases before Closing

It may be exciting to think about new furniture, appliances, and other things you’ll buy for your new home, but resist the urge to buy them before the home is actually yours. You want to keep your finances as stable as possible all the way up until the last i is dotted and the last t is crossed, as your mortgage lender will very likely check your credit just before closing to make absolutely sure nothing has changed in your financial situation.


That includes gift money well-meaning relatives may want to give you to help set up house. A lender may see this as proof that you can’t actually afford the home in question without help. 


Yes, this does apply even if you have been preapproved! Your lender is not locked into any kind of agreement with you when they give you preapproval, and they can still delay closing or deny your mortgage completely all the way up to closing if they have reason to believe your financial situation was misrepresented or has changed in some way. 


Looking for a trustworthy REALTOR® to help you start the home buying process? Our trusted agents have the expertise you need, and we love what we do! Contact us today to see what we can do for you.