The SCOOP! Blog by®


June 24th, 2014 10:15 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President

When you're buying a home, issues are bound to come up - before, during and after. The inspection turns up a massive squirrel infestation problem (happened to a friend of ours). The seller's new job falls through and they decide not to sell after all (ditto). A massive hailstorm trashes your roof just a few short weeks after you close escrow (that beauty happened to yours truly).

Yes, homeownership is wrought with great pride but also a whole bunch of challenges. Having been in the market recently along with a few friends, and having subsequently been involved in some renovations at home, we've quite literally seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Too much bad and too much ugly, to be honest. And thankfully some really, really good to balance it all—and that's just in the last six months.

When you're buying or fixing up, you'll undoubtedly suffer through a few issues yourself, and the range of emotions that come with them. Perhaps your escrow period will throw one challenge after another at you. Maybe you'll have a smooth escrow followed by renovation ridiculousness that'll make you want to hide in the corner of your un-renovated master bathroom. Here we're running down a few of the situations we have personally been witness to, with ways to avoid and/or fix them.

1. The Problem: Your insurance adjuster who came out to check out your roof is too scared to climb said roof. (Yes, this actually happened. To us.).

How to avoid this problem: Whether you are dealing with an insurance adjuster or a contractor, ask ahead of time how much experience he has. You don't want a novice—especially when they're climbing tall ladders or using power tools.$file/roof.jpg

In this case, the adjuster had only ever climbed one other roof. Obviously with less pitch than this one. The delay in getting a new adjuster out cost the roofing company a long weekend but ultimately the new adjuster was competent--and a courageous climber.

2. The Problem: Your appraisal comes in exceedingly low. This one happened to a colleague who was in the process of buying a piece of land on which to build a custom home. The appraiser took an average of all the available land in the community, regardless of size or type of lot (custom or earmarked for builder stock). This is the equivalent of an appraiser coming into a neighborhood and taking an average of all the homes regardless of size, quality, age or any of the factors that help determine legitimate comparables. The appraisal came in tens of thousands of dollars low, which affected the construction loan and delayed the process by weeks while the family took steps to have it adjusted.

"Buyers and refinancers often run into trouble when lenders use an appraisal management company to hire an appraiser who doesn't know the local nuances that could affect home values," said MSN. "An appraisal dictates how much money lenders are willing to lend to a borrower. If a home's value is determined to be less than the preapproved loan amount, the lender cannot approve the loan."

How to fix this problem: Object! "Challenge the paperwork," said MSN. "The individual who pays for the appraisal, typically the buyer, can request a copy of the appraisal and review it. Real estate agents and buyers would need to provide additional facts about comps or point out mistakes regarding such items as the number of square feet or the number of bedrooms."

If that doesn't work, get another appraisal. "If a challenge or a review doesn't change the appraisal, then a buyer can ask their lender to hire another appraiser. Be sure to request someone with geographical knowledge and someone competent and explain why you are asking for a second appraisal."

In this case, the landowners were able to get another appraisal to get closer to the actual value of the land and get their loan approved.

3. The problem: The contractor's estimate is a good 50 percent over the cost you were expecting for some minor renovations.

Let's face it - coming to an agreement on price when you're working with a contractor is a challenge. And if you are in a nicer neighborhood or are perceived to have deep pockets, you may see your estimates come in higher for certain jobs depending on the contractor you are working with. It happens.

How to avoid this problem:

  • Do your research

  • Be upfront about your budget

  • Get multiple quotes

    Most importantly, go with a referral. Just about every contractor horror story we've ever heard (or personally experienced) came from going with an unknown resource—and usually a cheap one at that. Which begs another important tip: If the estimates are wide ranging, you may be tempted to go with the lowest cost, and that can work out…but more often you end up with a job done poorly and having to pay more to have it fixed.

    If, in the end, you can't find a qualified professional to do the job within your budget, your expectations may just be out of line (been there). So wait until you can adjust your expectation, or put away a little more money.

    4. The problem: Your landscapers just aren't cutting it.

    Dead grass, poorly executed edges, and overgrown trees—oh my! This is what we often see, hear, and (personally) live with. At the heart of this problem is low expectations set for the local mow and blow and an unwillingness to pay more for a next-level landscaping company. Guilty as charged.

    How to fix this problem: Address it with your landscapers. Let them know your expectations and where they aren't living up to them. If trimming bushes, fertilizing, etc. isn't part of their plan, inquire about pricing to upgrade. If the price is too high, let them know you may be changing companies. If you're in a neighborhood like ours, where there is ample competition among landscapers, you can use that to your advantage to negotiate. Worked for us.

    5. The problem: A handyman or contractor leaves behind a huge mess behind and/or ruins or breaks something while working on your home.$file/paint.jpg

    How to avoid this: Stuff happens. Things get knocked over and broken. Far more often than we'd like in our digs - even when no one else is here. If you are having workmen in your house, take precautions. Put valuable and breakables up to avoid accidents. And make sure they are properly preparing so your stuff doesn't end up covered in dust or paint or both.

    Then, make sure you survey the area as they are wrapping up to make sure everything is in order and you are satisfied both with the work and the cleanup. If you're like us, the fact that you hate the cleanup is half the reason you aren't doing some of this stuff yourself. Having to clean up after someone you just paid to do the work is even worse.

    Written by Jaymi Naciri – To view the original article click here

Posted in:General
Posted by Jackie A. Graves, President on June 24th, 2014 10:15 AM


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