Preparing to sell a home is no small task, particularly during a pandemic. For homeowners preparing to list this season, Randy Barfield offers insight from the home inspector perspective. Tune in for Randy’s top five recommendations and a few bonus tips on what you can do while staying at home to ensure your house is ready for a successful listing:
We hope this message finds you safe and healthy. These are unprecedented times. Barfield Home Inspection is here for you and we understand the feeling of uncertainty and the difficulties those in the real estate industry face. We are here to support you. As you may have seen, today Mayor Adler’s shelter-in-place orders take affect in Travis and Williamson counties through Monday, April 13.
Barfield Home Inspection will remain open to serve as many home buyers and sellers as possible during this critical time. ABOR advises no showings in Travis County and limited showings in surrounding areas to avoid in-person interaction as much as possible. Closings should continue as scheduled. In light of these orders and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking extra steps to safeguard you as realtors, sellers and buyers from in-person interaction with our team. The good news is business can continue. Here is how my team and I are conducting home inspections amidst COVID-19:
• Limiting and/or eliminating person-to-person interaction with a VIRTUAL HOME INSPECTION. Homeowners, buyers, and real estate agents do not need to be present at the time of inspection. In an effort to comply with social distancing and offer an added layer of safety for our clients, our team will proceed with the inspection inside the house without occupants inside the house at the time of inspection (approximately three-hour timeframe). Residents are welcome to spend time outside the home in the backyard or take a drive during the inspection.
At the end of the inspection, we will conduct a virtual meeting via FaceTime or Google Duo to recap the inspection and answer any questions. We will then vacate the premises and save the handshakes for later! We are proud to embrace the technology at hand to continue serving home buyers and sellers during this challenging time.
• N95 particulate respirator masks, boot covers and gloves worn at each inspection. We continue to wash and sanitize our hands thoroughly and often. Before and after each inspection we thoroughly wipe down and sanitize all equipment used.
The Barfield Home Inspection team also understands the importance of respirator masks for the medical community who face a shortage. Luckily, as home inspectors, we have this type of equipment on hand. We have reserved the few masks we need for home inspections and have donated the rest to those facing the front lines of the crisis. If there are other ways we can be of service, please contact me directly via text or call (512) 350-0123.
On behalf of the entire Barfield Home Inspection team, thank you for your partnership, your business and your trust. We are honored to continue to serve the Austin real estate community and appreciate your support. We will get through this and be stronger for it. Stay in touch and look for updates from our team by following us on Facebook and Instagram @BarfieldHomeInspection. In the coming weeks, we plan to provide additional resources for you and your clients as we all hunker down at home. Home improvement here we come!
Feel free to get in touch with any questions, and stay healthy out there,
Owner, Barfield Home Inspection
With the holidays in our rearview mirror, we remember all we are thankful for and are reminded to celebrate on a daily basis. Living and working in the bustling mecca of Austin, Texas is at the top of our gratitude list.
While home sales, and thus inspections, tend to experience a lull in the winter months, that has not been true in 2019. In fact, December was one of our busiest months this year! We are elated to share that with the help of amazing real estate experts across Central Texas, we inspected nearly 1,000 homes in 2019. We extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who trusts our team with your business and your home. We look forward to working with even more agents and homebuyers in 2020. If you’re in the market, here’s what we might expect as the new decade begins:
- Austin is number one. It comes as no surprise that Austin will be the top market in real estate in 2020, according to the annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. Although traffic and affordability are issues noted in the report, Austin also took home the highest local expectation of investor demand.
- Will the market continue to rise? Short answer: YES. According to Mashvisor, a thriving young population, talented workforce, economic growth and tourism account for Austin’s rise in popularity. As property prices continue to rise above the national average, the metro area has the population and economy to warrant it, with no bubble in sight. Mashvisor projects an increase demand for single family homes with the possibility of a shift toward a buyer’s market.
So, what does this all mean for us? The Austin real estate market is HOT and only getting hotter as we usher in a new decade. As you prepare to sell or buy a home, we hope you will trust our team with your inspection. We’ve been in the game since 2003, and Randy Barfield was one of the first inspectors in Texas to become state licensed. We value you, your business and will always tell you like it is.
Termites and what the VA labels “wood-destroying pests” can be a serious problem for homeowners, buyers and sellers. House hunters often worry about the condition of older homes when it comes to these pests, and in some cases rightfully so.
To the untrained observer, termite infestations are very difficult to spot unless there is obvious damage. Fortunately, VA loan rules are designed to protect the buyer and the property the VA borrower wants to purchase.
Do I have to get a pest inspection with a VA loan?
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, “Termite inspections are required on existing properties if they are located in an area where the probability of termite infestation is ‘very heavy’ or ‘moderate to heavy’ according to the Termite Infestation Probability Map published in the International Residential Code.”
Use the Termite Infestation Probability Map or check with a lender or your VA Regional Loan Center to see if a pest inspection is required where you plan to purchase a home.
If a borrower wants to buy a home in a region where termite problems are considered light or where such problems rarely occur, there is no requirement to have a termite inspection performed. Borrowers concerned about the home they want to buy would have to schedule a home inspection, or contact the VA for assistance.
When there is evidence of an actual problem, the VA rules state, “If there is a question about the location of an infestation probability boundary line in relation to the subject property, contact the Construction and Valuation Section at the VA Regional Loan Center of jurisdiction to determine if this requirement is applicable.”
Who pays for the termite inspection on a VA loan?
VA borrowers will often have to provide an invoice for the termite inspection to their lender. VA loan rules state that borrowers are not allowed to pay the pest inspection on a home purchase in all but nine states:
VA borrowers can pay this fee on any VA refinance loan type.
Termite Inspections for Condos
VA loan rules for termite inspections are different for condo projects. According to the VA, “A wood destroying insect inspection is required in low-rise and high-rise units only when the fee appraiser observes a potential problem.”
There are some situations that allow the termite inspection to be waived in second-story or higher condo units. Before starting your house hunt, speak with your nearest VA Regional Loan Center to learn if your area requires termite inspections.
On a VA purchase loan, borrowers in all but nine states are not allowed to pay the pest inspection fee. VA borrowers can pay this fee on any VA refinance loan.
We are teaming with Ryan Kelly with Ryan Kelly Group and Ruby Cloutier with Vazzo Spaces for an exciting event this spring! Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 2, 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Join us at the Keller Williams Southwest Market Center (directions here) for breakfast tacos, coffee, and a detailed discussion on how to prepare your home for sale before it hits the market. We are bringing together the finest in the industry to talk about preparing your home for sale. Panelists include: Our own Randy Barfield, Owner of Barfield Home Inspection and expert home inspector; Ryan Kelly, Realtor with Ryan Kelly Group – Keller Williams Realty, investor, and real estate enthusiast; and Ruby Cloutier, interior designer, home staging specialist and Founder of Vazzo Spaces.
This event welcomes homebuyers, homeowners and realtors to brunch and learn. The best part is that it’s not only educational, but free to attend! We’ll share an analysis of the current real estate climate, identify buyers biggest objections and how to overcome them, why you should consider a home inspection before you list, how staging can make you more money, and more. There will also be giveaways including a Nest thermostat, staging consultation, and discounted pre-home inspection. RSVP today!
Austin’s real estate market continues to boom, but what does that mean for homebuyers and renters?
In this week’s episode of “I Love You So Much: The Austin360 Podcast,” former Statesman reporter Lilly Rockwell, who is now a realtor at Coldwell Banker, joins hosts Tolly Moseley and Omar L. Gallaga for a conversation about what it takes to buy a house in Austin these days, what it’s like to work in real estate and which neighborhoods are still considered affordable.
Buying a new home can be a stressful and overwhelming process. After all, it is one of the most important purchase you will ever make!
According to the American Home Inspectors Training Institute, “A home inspection is an all-encompassing examination of the condition of a home.” As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to gather as many details about the property as possible before buying. A thorough home inspection identifies issues that can help you negotiate costs at closing or issues that may be deal-breakers. In the long run, a home inspection is an inexpensive precaution to avoid making a costly mistake – buying a home with major, unforeseen issues.
Buying a new home is also an emotional and exciting process. It is easy to get caught up in the appealing parts of the house, like the fancy kitchen or built-in pool and become blind to problems. A home inspection report allows you to see the property through the eyes of a trained expert, including potential electrical, plumbing, structural, and even future issues.
Most importantly, a home inspection ensures your potential new home is safe for you and your family. Do not get in a hurry because of the housing market or because you are feeling pressure from other interested buyers. At the end of the day, a safe and secure home is worth waiting for.
Overall, hiring a professional home inspector is an education opportunity for you to learn important details about your future home. Buyers who have home inspections end up happier and more confident with their purchase. See below for a complete list of reasons to book an inspection before buying.
Why have a home inspection?
- Identify possible deal-breakers
- See your home through the eyes of an expert
- Put your mind at ease
- Ensure the property is safe for you and your family
- Forecast future costs
- Identify repairs to negotiate with the seller
- See the big picture
- Learn as many details about the property as possible before buying
- Find areas that may be a problem down the road
- Make a confident decision
- Extra security
- Experts know best
Have questions? We’re a home inspector you can trust to tell it like it is. Call us today: 512-350-0123
Do you know what repairs to be concerned about and which ones are quick fixes? What about cost? That’s what Barfield Home Inspection is here for. We tell it like it is to help you make a confident decision about your home.
Established in 2003, Barfield Home Inspection has helped thousands of homeowners in Austin and the surrounding area with the purchase of their home. We have a longstanding reputation of serving clients with excellence because of our thorough, reliable and honest inspectors.
We take time to explain the most detailed facets of the home from the foundation to appliances to everything seen in the photo above. We leave no detail unturned and go above and beyond to ensure all questions have been answered.
The photo above includes areas where red flags are often found during a home inspection, such as foundations. Examples of foundation issues may include:
- Corner cracks
- Foundation wall cracks
- Exposed and/or rusted rebar steel
- Exposed and/or rusted post tension cable ends
- Leaning or non supportive piers from a pier and beam foundation
- Inadequate type of pier
- Deterioration of support sub floor beams and components
It is important to have an experienced home inspector to find these red flags and make sure you, as the homeowner, understand what they mean.
Since our humble beginnings, Barfield Home Inspection has quickly become known for reliability, concise reporting and our knowledgeable team. We are not here to scare clients, but we’re also not here to sugar coat things. The most valuable asset Barfield Home Inspection provides to homebuyers is the confidence to purchase their home. Do you want a home inspector who will tell it like it is? Book your appointment with Barfield Home Inspection today!
For several years now, Austin has been at the top of the list for fastest growing cities in America. Whether it’s the tacos, the pet-friendly environment, the laid-back lifestyle, job opportunities, the weather, live music, or education, Austin has something to offer for everyone!
While moving to Austin may be an easy choice, it’s difficult to figure out where to start when looking for a place to live. Each area of Austin has something unique to offer. If you are looking for luxury condo living, surrounded by dining and entertainment, downtown is the place for you. If you are looking for the hipster, “keep Austin Weird” crowd, then south Austin may be a better fit.
Check out the quiz below from move-to-austin.com to help identify which Austin neighborhood fits your preferences. Taking into consideration your age, lifestyle and price range, this assessment will help you narrow your search and get one step closer to your new home in Austin.
According to recent data from Smart Asset, a personal finance website, buying a house in Austin may be more affordable than you think. Using median home value, estimated down-payment cost, estimated length and percent interest rate of mortgage payments, and predicted annual inflation, SmartAsset calculated monthly home payments for the largest 15 cities in the country.
Monthly payments on the average home in Austin, Texas are around $1,426, making the suggested yearly salary for buying a house $47,523. While Austin is home to some of the highest property taxes, overall home value remains reasonable, making our city more affordable than big California cities.
This list from Smart Asset ranks the 15 largest cities in the U.S. by salary needed to afford a home. Austin sits at number 6, followed by Chicago, Dallas, then Houston. As Austin continues to be a popular destination to relocate, the housing inventory will decrease, which will continue to drive prices.
So, if you are looking to buy a home in Austin, now is the time! Use these monthly payment estimates to decide if Austin is affordable for you. The below image outlines the salary needed to afford home payments in the top 15 cities—Austin is No. 6.
Click here to read more insights from this in-depth study.
(Shared article from SmartAsset.com)