Shop for a Home
House hunting can be both exciting and frustrating. You should plan on seeing at least 10 homes before buying one. To make your search easier and faster, browse properties on the Internet. You can do so on my real estate home page. Clickon the "Search For Homes" link and you will have access to the same data as Realtors from Burbank to Thousand Oaks in Los Angeles County. For Ventura County Property information ,click on the link "Here" on my homepage. This information is up-to-date and accurate. Other real estate websites do not provide up-to-date data and lag behind my site. The Internet is a quick way to see whether the houses that are currently available meet the following critical criteria: are they in the right location, with the right features and at the right price.
If you find after your search on my website that few properties meet your needs, you may want to readjust your criteria – change the location, features, price – to increase your chances of finding a house that works for you. If you have any difficulties in this initial search, feel free to contact me for assistance. Homes can become available instantly and I'm always the most current resource for up-to-the minute information on new home listings. Once you know what you want, where you want it and what you can afford, it’s time to start looking for a real estate agent or Realtor so that you can see different houses for yourself. Before you and an agent/Realtor go to the homes, it's a good idea to put together a checklist of things that you’ve decided ahead of time are important qualities of your future home.
This might include:
Is there enough room for your family to grow in the house?
Is the house structurally sound?
Is the house in move-in condition or will it need work?
Is it close enough to everyday needs, such as grocery stores, schools, work?
Will you feel safe here?
Do any appliances included in the home work?
Is the yard right for your needs?
Do you like the floor plan?
Is there enough storage?
Will you be happy in this house in winter, summer, spring, fall?
You may also want to take some exterior and interior photos of each house you visit so that you can keep track of its pros and cons.
Inspections are designed to help you understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving you considerable time with the purchase process and hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. Some of the inspections which may be required or recommended by your real estate professional are:
Standard Home Inspection
The areas which may be covered include lot and grounds, roofs, exterior surfaces, garage/carport, structure, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplace/wood burning devices, and appliance condition. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the Contract For Sale and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some cases homes can be sold "as-is" even though an inspection may take place.
Radon levels are detected and measured. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 15,000 - 22,000 deaths per year result from radon exposure, therefore they recommend that all homes be tested for radon. EPA recommends that homes containing 4.0 or more Pico Curies per liter be remedied.
A termite inspector will inspect the property for the presence of wood-destroying insects (WDI) or wood destroying organisms (WDO, i.e. fungus) and conducive conditions that exist. Inspection requirements vary by state.
Lab analysis will determine if asbestos fibers are present and evaluate their condition. If friable or non-friable conditions exist, buyers should seek professional assistance.
Composition Board Siding
The condition of the siding and any areas of high moisture are evaluated during this inspection. Typically, composition board siding is a paper-based product that is manufactured to replicate traditional wood siding at a fraction of the cost. Homeowners recently brought class action lawsuits against some of the larger manufacturers of this type of product. The homeowners claimed that the siding was susceptible to water penetration, which caused premature deterioration and rotting. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some of the most commonly known manufacturers of composition board siding are Louisiana Pacific (LP), Georgia Pacific (GP), Masonite, and Weyerhaeuser.
Lead Paint Inspection
Painted surfaces of a home can be evaluated to determine the presence of lead paint. Homes that were constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be harmful to young children and babies. Children with lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.
On-Site Waste System (SeptiChekTM) Evaluation
SeptiChekTM is an evaluation performed by an on-site waste management professional. It involves accessing the cover of the septic tank to examine the fluid level inside the septic tank. The tank is then pumped to check the condition of the tank and its baffles. The leaching field is probed to check the level of sub-surface liquid waste (effluent). This test alerts the buyer to a wide range of potentially costly septic system repairs or failures. The SeptiChekTM evaluation provides more reliable information of potential problems than a septic dye test.
Pool/Hot Tub Inspection
Determines the overall condition and operability of a pool and/or hot tub's equipment. Additionally, the condition of the pool deck will be inspected for deterioration and/or other noticeable defects.
Private Well Flow and Potability Inspection
Designed to determine whether or not a private well adequately supplies water to the house. Samples are sent to a lab for potability (drinkability) analysis.
Stucco Siding Inspection
There are two types of stucco siding to be aware of: cement-based "traditional" stucco and synthetic stucco. An inspection of the siding's application according to manufacturer's installation specifications is recommended. Synthetic stucco siding is commonly referred to as Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS).
Underground Storage Tank (UST) Inspection
In considering a home with stucco exterior, we recommend an inspection be conducted to determine the condition of the siding.
Synthetic stucco is predominately found in the Southeast but it is present in homes in other areas of the country as well.
Hidden structural damage has been documented in synthetic stucco homes in 34 states.
Moisture readings are taken to determine if the system has already experienced water intrusion.
The most common methods for testing a UST, typically used to store oil for heating homes, are either the soil test or vacuum test. The soil test consists of random core samples taken around the location of the tank and submitting them for lab analysis. This will determine if any product has contaminated the soil at that particular area and to what extent. The vacuum test consists of having a technician seal off and place the tank under a vacuum. Readings are periodically taken to determine whether or not the tank is losing its vacuum. With this test immediate results are available for the buyers.
Since USTs are predominately made of metal they rust and corrode over time, causing hazardous materials to contaminate soil and potentially aquifers that supply drinking water to surrounding communities.
The majority of UST problems occur in the northeastern states due to the older properties located there.
Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment. The above is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the types of inspections that may be necessary on a particular home, but it is meant to provide general information on some of the most common types of inspections.
Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment.