Taking a look back at a series of posts from last year, and how things have changed for home buyers
I have been in the situation lately where I have been speaking to some first time home buyers about their experiences. I have also dealt with some situations where a loan was being held up due to lack of information. There have been changes to rules and methods for many firms doing business in the real estate industry, and if you are thinking about buying a home, you may want to be aware of what is happening.
I can hear one objection raised against my writing on this subject that I wish to address before I begin. As a home inspector, I am not involved in all of these steps, so I cannot relate personal experiences. I do speak to many of my clients (and to many who are not my clients). I read the trade papers, and I do speak to other industry professionals, so I am basing my articles (there will be a series of posts) dealing with this topic on what I am seeing.
The basics of buying a home have remained the same. In fact, it appears to me that certain rules are just being followed more strictly, rather than loosely as it seems they were before. What this means for the home buyer is that you will have to be cautious to understand what is happening and to have a good deal of patience. In my dealing with banks for clients trying to obtain mortgages, I find that they are asking for confirmation of all of the facts. On one job, an appraiser stated that the roof might have a problem due to observed damage inside the home. I was hired to inspect the house, part of which is examining the roof. I discovered that the damage had nothing to do with the roof, and that was placed in my report. The loan officer now has two reports stating two different things. The problem is that the appraiser does not inspect the roof. He only observed certain damage and jumped to a conclusion. The loan officer did what he was required to do: go back to the rules issued by his bank. In those rules, it stated that a certified inspector needed to perform the inspection. In Texas, all property inspections performed for the sale of a home should be done by a licensed professional real estate inspector. That caused a problem. I am “licensed” by the state, not “certified”. There are states where inspectors are certified, and there are other states where neither term applies. The national home office that developed the rule did not think of the fact that terms or conditions may be different from state to state. After speaking to a few people and sending copies of my license, my status was accepted, and so was my report.
Following rules, understanding terminology, and being cautious is the life of many real estate professionals at this time. I found terms are the biggest issue. A client called me for a “roof inspection”; it turned out to be what I call a “draw inspection”; and the bank called it a “disaster area inspection”. It took a few phone calls to make sure that the bank would accept my report (as long as I sent a copy of my license as well). In the posts that will follow this one, I will go over some new rules or laws that may effect a home sale. When talking to home buyers, I went back to a series of articles that I wrote early last year. I had revised them, and then I had reposted them to this site. After reading through them, I believe that they are still a good resource for people dealing with homeowner insurance, closing on a home, mortgage paperwork, and a few other items. If you are considering refinancing your home, concerned about your credit score, or how your debt might effect your home purchase, it might be good to review some posts here. I have put my notes together, and I hope to write the articles with more details on current real estate concerns this week.
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