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Chester County Real Estate: The Home Inspection

by Scott Darling

So you’ve finally found the piece of Chester County real estate you’ve searched for months! What next? Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains a home inspection contingency, a clause stating that your offer is contingent dependent on the results of a home inspection.

A home inspection is of primary importance because it allows you to obtain an unbiased professional assessment of all the components of the property. It is a step necessary for you to decide if you will stay with your original offer, renegotiate based on documented issues and needed repairs, or back away from the purchase of that piece of Chester County real estate altogether.

Selecting a qualified inspector is vital. Your realtor can provide you with the names of reputable firms, or you can go online to research services offered and credentials. Specific information you should know about the inspector and the inspection process included the following:

      1. Credentials and background: Is he/she licensed in your state? Is he affiliated with any respected organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors? Membership in these groups requires that inspectors follow strict guidelines about ethics and continuing education. Be sure to inquire about experience and training. A construction-based background is a plus, as is attending a college with an emphasis on construction or attending a home inspection school.

    2. Fees: Although you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily, this is not a place to scrimp. Your house purchase is a very large investment, and you need to know as much as you can about it. Do remember that money spent on a quality inspection now will be returned to you by avoiding unexpected costly repairs in the future.  The price of an average inspection varies depending on the age, size, and condition of the house. Some inspectors base their fees on the list price of the Chester County real estate. Get estimates from all you contact, but don’t assume that the lowest priced is the best choice for you.

    3. Type of report: Some inspectors use computer generated onsite reporting, some a handwritten checklist, and others a computer generated report you won’t receive for few days. By and large, the last option is in your best interests since it gives the inspector time to review his findings, look up any questions he may have, and send you a detailed, descriptive report. He should also be able to provide you with pictures of the problem areas. Feel free to ask him for a sample report.

    4. The actual inspection: Make sure that you will be allowed to accompany the inspector and ask questions as he checks out the house and grounds. This is a good time for you to become familiar with the home‘s inner workings, locate shut-off valve and breaker panels, and pick up tips on operating and maintaining different systems.

    A thorough home inspection of an average home should take between 2 ½ and 4 hours and should cover both internal and external components of the property. Major items examined should include:

            a. Siding, foundation, brickwork, etc.

            b. Insulation

            c. Deck, roof, garage

            d. Attic/basement

            e. Driveway and walkways

            f. Electrical system

            g. Plumbing

            h. Doors and windows

            i. Heater, air conditioner, and hot water heater

            j. Ceilings, walls, and moldings

Having your Chester County real estate inspected will allow you to make an informed decision about the purchase of a house and will provide you with both essential knowledge and peace of mind.

Chester County Real Estate Sales Statistics - June 2010

by Scott Darling

Congress recently extended the home buyer tax credit closing date to September 30. The measure would give more time to thousands of qualified home purchasers, who through no fault of their own are unable to meet the current closing deadline of June 30; however the measure would not extend the deadline for home buyers to qualify for the tax credit. The deadline extension applies only to homebuyers who have ratified contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, but could not close before June 30.

The April 30 deadline created a surge of home sales in April. Let’s take a look at the local Chester County real estate market for June.

Downingtown Area School District saw a 8% increase in sold listings in June 2010, compared to June 2009.  Pending listings have decreased by  36% and active listings have decreased by 29%.  There was a 2% increase in average sales price to $339,082, while market times decreased by 8 days.

Downingtown

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

June 2010

82

43

79

$339,082

63

June 2009

115

67

73

$333,783

71

In the West Chester Area School District, there was an increase in Sold listings  of 27% when compared to June 2009.  While pending sales decreased by 31% in June 2010 when compared to June 2009.  Average sales price increased by 4% to $375,664 and active listings decreased by 9% from June 2009.  Market times have decreased by 7 days.

West Chester

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

June 2010

150

75

136

$375,664

69

June 2009

165

109

99

$360,876

76

Sold listing have increased by 11% in the Coatesville Area School District in June 2010 when compared to June 2009.  The average sales price increased by 2% to $233,785 and active listings decreased by 15%.  The number of pending home sales decreased by 60% when compared to June 2009, while homes were on the market on average 23 days more than in June 2009.

Coatesville

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

June 2010

112

28

70

$233,785

99

June 2009

132

70

62

$230,159

76

A word of caution...markets within a school district can be very different from neighborhood to neighborhood. For the latest Chester County PA real estate market conditions in your neighborhood, please call me at 610-564-SCOT or visit ChesterCountyHomeSource.com.

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Photo of Scott Darling Real Estate
Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275