Category Archives: seller

Closing Costs Calculator for the Washington Home Buyer

We perform home inspections in about 10 counties throughout Washington from Seattle to Wenatchee.  Occasionally our clients call to book an inspection and are still a little confused about the inspection cost– who pays it, how much it is, etc.  We did a little internet search and found a few closing cost calculators that may help the potential home buyer.  The calculator we are sharing seems to have the most descriptions of the costs, but will only give you a rough idea since the costs are only estimations.  For example, they estimate the cost of an inspection at $175, but our inspections start at $275…this is standard for a single family home.  Condos may be less.  Also, the appraisal fee usually starts around $300.  A loan application fee will be added to the credit report for a combined fee of $75-$300.  With all this in mind you can use the calculator to get an idea of the added costs associated with buying a home.  If you have a good agent to walk you through the buying process then you won’t be blindsided with these costs.  They can also help you negotiate fees that may be shared with the seller.

Closing Costs Calculator from Mortgage-Investments.com

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Home Show in Wenatchee: Feb. 11-13th

Home Show Wenatchee Town Toyota CenterEvery year the NCHBA or North Central Home Builders Association produces a spectacular home show in Wenatchee, Washington.  There’s a little something for everyone whether you are interested in remodeling, decorating, building, buying or selling a home…they’ve got all the experts there for your questions!  Here’s some info from their website.  Download this COUPON for $1 off admission:

This year, we have a lot of new things going on and are very excited to “get the Show on the road”! The Kid’s Zone by Lowe’s is going to be fantastic this year. Not only will the kids be able to build their own project with a professional from Lowe’s, they can go on a scavenger hunt with their parents or enjoy FREE ice skating on Friday and Saturday. So, if you have kids that are 12 and under, make sure to take them to the Kids Zone by Lowe’s, located in the Crunch-Pak Hospitality Room on the the main floor of the Town Toyota Center!  Workshops and How-to’s that you WON’T want to miss! Come and see what the Master Gardeners have to demonstrate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the show!   Be one of the first 250 attendees on Saturday and Sunday and receive a special Home Show Entrance Bag! These bags will be filled with small gifts, specials and discount coupons from participating sponsors and vendors! These bags will also come in very handy when you need a place to stow away other information and items you gather!  There will be additional event parking available for attendees across the street at Walla Walla Point Park, both parking lots, as well as at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Many thanks to Lowe’s for generously allowing our Home Show attendees to use half of their parking lot for our event!

Hot Water Heaters Expansion Tanks, what do they really do?

Thermal expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems. These include: unusually high pressure in a system, pressure surges, and the chronic or continuous dripping of a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. In addition, dripping faucets and leaking toilet tank ball cock fill valves are also symptomatic of thermal expansion.   More serious problems can also occur due to thermal expansion. When dangerous pressures are built up in a water heater, internal parts may fail such as the internal flues, fittings or water connections. If a flue way collapses it can lead to the potential release of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide into living spaces.

Virtually, every modern plumbing code requires the installation of an expansion tank on hot water heater installations. The reason is simple. Water expands when heated. This extra volume of water needs to go somewhere. Before the widespread usage of backflow preventers, check valves and pressure reducing valves, this expanded water simply pushed the cold water back into the city water main. Now with these devices required in new construction and most permitted remodels we have successfully closed this system.

Where does the pressure to go?

Expansion tanks are really simple devices. They contain compressed air and a special rubber bladder. When your hot water heater turns on, the water within your piping system begins to expand. This expanding water slowly enters the expansion tank as the water is brought to temperature. Eventually, hot water is drawn from the system thru a faucet and the expansion tank releases the extra water into the piping system.

The installation of an expansion tank is a simple upgrade for any hot water systems.  There are some things you need to know before running out and purchasing your unit such as existing water pressures, capacity of the hot water tank, and ensuring the unit you purchase is for potable water systems.   I always recommend working with a licensed plumbing contractor.

Christmas Lighting Safety Tips

Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth WA

Image courtesy of Bing: Sparkling Holiday Lights Leavenworth, WA

Christmas decorations and lights really get us in the holiday spirit.  Before you get too far along, check out these safety tips for hanging Christmas lights:

•Only use lights that conform with safety standards and have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory.

•Check each strand of lights for damaged sockets or wires and loose connections.  I best to toss damaged strands and buy new.

•Don’t overload extension cords and outlets!  Only link 3 standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

•If you must have a metallic tree, don’t decorate it with electric lights.  Electrocution may result.

•Outdoors lights must have exterior use labels.

•Fasten outdoor lights securely.  Use insulated staples or rain gutter hooks. 

•Plug all outdoor lights into ground fault interrupters circuits to avoid potential shocks and blown fuses.

•Unplug lights when going to sleep or leaving your home.

Seller Costs: What the bottom line looks like.

There’s that old saying, “you have to spend money to make money.”  When selling a house it’s important to remember the associated costs.  Your realtor is very well educated on the subject and can elaborate more, but here is a short list of considerations for sellers.  (1) Get Ready To List.  Fix all those little repairs before the home is listed because the buyer will order a home inspection.  No matter how small the issue is the buyer will use this as ammunition later.  (2)  Commission.  While real estate commissions are negotiable the typical rate is 5 to 7% .  (3)  State Excise Tax.   The seller pays this tax consisting of local and state.  Most of Chelan County is 0.50% making a combined total of 1.78%.  (4)   Closing.  When you sign on the dotted line there will be some closing costs summed up from: escrow fees, title fee, document fee and buyer’s closing fees.  These can total up to 1 to 4%.  (5)  Loan Balance.  All loans on the home must be paid off before transferring the title.  (6)  Federal Income Taxes.  It is important to check with your accountant and prepare for the possibility of federal income taxes especially if the home is an investment property or used for business.

Courtesy Walk-Throughs

I heard of a good tip today while speaking with a local realtor who encourages “courtesy walk-throughs.” She suggests that the seller request a walk through with the current owner before closing but after all the negotiations and inspections. I like this. It decreases or eliminates the amount of call backs for the realtor and inspector. If the buyer gets to walk through the home with the current owners they can talk about the findings of the inspection report and any subtle quirks that only an owner living in the home for an extended period of time would really know all about. Things such as internet connections, garbage pick up schedule, sprinkler systems, neighbor agreements, etc.

The first line of defense for any home buyer or owner is a thorough home inspection. Add a courtesy walk-through for capturing more knowledge.