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Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.

Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, aren’t sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that they’re afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but don’t know the right ones to ask.

In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. We’ll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.

Contingency clauses

Before closing on a home, it’s important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a “due diligence contingency.” This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.

Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.

After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.

Before the inspection

Once you’ve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, it’s time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.

You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, it’s a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional you’ve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.

During the inspection

The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.

They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.

The parts of your home the inspector will review include:

  • Roof

  • Exterior Walls

  • Foundation

  • Garage

  • Land grading

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning

  • Appliances

There are some things your inspection won’t include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that aren’t easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.

After the inspection

Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.

You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.


Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.


Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.

We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.

  • ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.

  • Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.

  • Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.

  • Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.

  • Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.

  • Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.  


It may be a great initiative for you and your family to do what you can to become more environmentally friendly. Saving the planet starts at home! There’s so many different ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly. We’ll give you a few ideas here. Even if you commit to making one change each month, you’ll notice a big impact over time. 


Replace Your Lightbulbs


CFLs are known as compact fluorescent lightbulbs. These come in many different sizes and colors. Incandescent bulbs are now obsolete, because CFLs are much more energy efficient. Keep in mind that CFLs must be disposed of in a recycling center because they do have a trace of mercury in them. They are overall much better for the environment.


Get An Energy Audit


You can arrange to have an energy audit through your utility company or an independent contractor. This can help you to find areas of your home where insulation is lacking. You may even be able to get a rebate form your utility company for completing something like this.  


Turn Down The Heat


You can keep the temperature of your water heater down to 120 degrees. You should wrap an insulating blanket around your water heater in the winter if it’s not insulated. If the heater is gas, be sure there’s room for ventilation. To help keep pipes form freezing in winter, you need to keep your heat running, but make sure it’s around 64 degrees. 

The same principles go for cooling devices and air conditioning units in the summer months. In this case though, you’ll need to make the temperature higher. 


Turn Off What’s Not In Use


Everyone in the house should be in the habit of turning things off when they’re not in the room, or not using the item. Leaving televisions and lights on wastes an immense amount of energy. Also, when you buy appliances, make sure that they are Energy Star rated.  

 

Conserve Water


Water is another type of energy we often take for granted and waste. When water needs to be warmed for showers, dishes and laundry it’s often running for long periods of time. You can take shorter showers to help with this. You may even consider shutting the water off while you’re soaping up. You’ll even want to shut the water off when you’re brushing your teeth. These little changes can make a big impact on the environment.  


Use Power Strips


If you use power strips and turn them off when they’re not in use, you can save up to 10% on your power bill. You’ll also want to take the time to shut down computers and office supplies like printers in order to save more energy. These items use power even when they’re in a “power saver” mode.


Ready to buy a new home? Ultimately, there is no shortage of high-quality residences at your disposal.

For homebuyers, you'll likely need to conduct plenty of research to find your dream house. And as you begin your search for the ideal residence, you should consider a house's interior closely. By doing so, you'll be able to determine whether costly, time-intensive home interior repairs will be needed in the foreseeable future.

What does it take to assess a home's interior properly? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should ask when he or she evaluates a house's interior:

1. Does a home's interior match my personal style?

Do you prefer bold, vibrant home interior colors? Or, do you enjoy a subtle mix of light and dark colors? Consider your personal style as you study a house's interior, and you'll be able to decide whether a home's interior complements your individual preferences.

Remember, a home's interior might fail to meet your expectations. But keep in mind that there are plenty of fish in the sea. As such, you can explore a broad array of houses and should be able to find a residence with an interior that will make you smile.

2. Were recent home interior renovations completed?

Learn about any recent home interior renovations that were completed. That way, you can understand how much time a home seller has committed to improving a home's interior.

Also, if a home seller has performed myriad home interior improvements, try to find out when these renovations were finished.

As a homebuyer, information is key. With details about assorted home interior renovations, you may be better equipped than ever before as you decide whether a residence is right for you.

3. Am I comfortable with a home's interior?

A homebuyer should feel comfortable with a home's interior before he or she purchases a residence.

If you fall in love with a house's interior during a home showing, you may want to consider moving forward by submitting an offer on a house. On the other hand, if you find a home requires many home interior improvements, you may want to consider exploring other houses that are available.

For homebuyers who are on the fence about a home, a real estate may be able to help. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into a house that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, ensuring you can make an informed decision about a residence.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey. This real estate expert will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings for you and even negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to find a house that will serve you sell for years to come.

Work with a real estate agent, and you can move closer to finding a home that looks beautiful both inside and out.


If you’re looking to save more energy and money around your home, perhaps one of the first places that you should look is your plugs. Take a look around your rooms and see what outlets are being used. If every outlet is full of plugs, you may have some adjustments to make. 


There are so many things in our homes that require plugs including TV’s, microwaves, toasters, clocks, refrigerators, phone chargers, and more. 


Anything that is always plugged in actually adds to your electric bill whether you’re using it or not. This is known as phantom power usage. Even when a device isn’t turned on, it’s still using energy.


You don’t want to go around your home and unplug everything, only to plug it back in when you need to use it. Use this handy guide to discover what you should unplug and what you can leave plugged in your home in order to save some energy and some money. 


What To Unplug


Small Appliances


Large appliances in your kitchen would be impractical to constantly plug in and unplug. Smaller appliances, however, are much easier to manage. These include toasters, coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves. The small digital clocks on many of these devices, for example, are constantly using energy. Do you really need the function? If you don’t need to know the time, you should just unplug it and save your home some energy usage. 


Chargers


We need to charge just about all of our devices including laptops, iPads, phones, and even electric toothbrushes. these items don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Once a device is charged fully, be sure to unplug it. It’s only wasting energy otherwise!  


Computers


Unplug your computer each and every night. Screen savers and sleep modes don’t actually save much power from being used while your computer is plugged in. It’s a good idea to keep your computer unplugged for safety reasons as well. A strike of lighting hitting, for example, can cause your entire system to fry.


Keep These Items Plugged In


There are certain items that you can leave plugged in at your home without worry. These items include:


  • Power strips
  • Nondigital items
  • Items without clock or LCD displays




Power strips are particularly useful for items like entertainment centers and computer setups. Flipping the switch to the off position on the power strip helps to stop the phantom power usage. The convenient thing is that you won’t need to plug and unplug everything in individually, and you’ll still save power. 


Saving energy and money is easy when you have the right strategies put in place.




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