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Columbus Real Estate home protection

Fire and Hazard Insurance

Most lenders require a home buyer to provide at settlement a one-year paid receipt for a fire and hazard insurance policy. Often called home owner's insurance. these policies are available from an insurance company of your choice. Normally it is recommended that you carry your hazard insurance at the same agency you have automobile insurance with. Usually this will give you a discount on the premium. Fire and Hazard insurance provides protection for fire and other perils to your home and its contents.

What To Expect From A House Inspector

What can home buyers expect from a home inspector-besides a bill for $150-$350 (depending on size of property and/or complexity of the inspector's report)?

First of all, require proof of membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors. Next, expect a quickly-delivered (one or two-day) written report.

Expect practical returns. While you can see for yourself many flaws in a house, the practiced eye of a professional inspector can probably spot more, especially in areas not easily accessible to a home buyer. Specific information could even reduce the price of a house if the seller will agree the price has not already been discounted for defects.

Possible repairs

  • Serious problems (heating, roofing, plumbing) $2,000-$5000.
  • Medium problems (insulation, paint) $500-$2,000.
  • Minor problems (electrical outlets, kitchen sink) $100-$500.

If no serious problems are found, inspection can pay off indirectly in assurance that you are making a sound investment.

Ohio now requires that sellers provide buyers with either a residential property disclosure or disclaimer statement.

Title Insurance       

Title insurance provides protection in the event any of a number of past actions threaten the title to your property. Most lenders will require title insurance to protect their interests. Be sure to ask about an "owner's" policy as well, to protect your title. You may save money if you buy owner's title insurance at the same time as mortgage title insurance. As a home buyer, you may be able to save money with a "re-issue rate" for title insurance. If the property changed hands within the last several years. The title insurance may allow a lower "re-issue rate" premium because the recent title search is still valid. Consult your title attorney and they will answer any questions you may have free of charge.

After Loan Approval

After the lender approves the mortgage, the buyer will receive a "loan commitment letter" stating the mortgage amount, interest rate and length of loan term. The buyer should check it carefully, and return a signed copy to the lender or follow other specific instructions.

Next, the selling and listing brokers will coordinate a settlement date. You should be sent a letter confirming the date, place, time and a checklist of everything you, as the home buyer, need to bring.

Walk-Through Inspection

The purpose of the walk-through inspection the date of settlement or several days prior to settlement is to determine if all conditions in the contract are satisfied. The time for the buyer to inspect and note defects for correction by the seller is during the contract negotiations and prior to signing the sales agreement. Repair or replacement items should be noted in the contract or contingent on a house inspection. Otherwise seller may not be responsible for certain repairs.

It is up to the buyer to perform the walk-through inspection, not the seller, who may or may not be present. The buyer should be accompanied by the selling agent. The home seller should be sure utilities are on so that equipment can be operated.

Room By Room

The buyer should try all lights and switches; turn all faucets on and off, run the shower, flush toilets; turn on the furnace and central air conditioning (in the off-season, buyer should hire a professional to certify proper functioning of both heating and air conditioning); test all stove burners, oven at bake and broil; run some ice cubes through disposal to test blades; run dishwasher, washer, dryer through complete cycle; open and close all windows and doors. In short, try everything, even keys and the fireplace flue.

All deficiencies should be noted, and funds may be withheld from the home seller by the title company or settlement  attorney for repairs, if seller does not correct problems prior to settlement. The selling broker will coordinate with the listing broker and seller to make repairs before settlement, if possible. Upon notification and proof that repairs are complete, the title company or attorney will release balance of funds to the seller, if money is escrowed for needed repairs.

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