October 3rd, 2013
If life were perfect, then investing in home or commercial real estate would be worry-free and painless. However, like anything else, without the proper resources, good contacts and research, it may be difficult to know if a property is a good investment or poor one, which can end up being a nightmare for a buyer venturing into the commercial real estate industry for the first time.
Of course, we live in the real world and things can often go wrong when buying South Florida property despite every good intention. Commercial real estate can be broad and diverse, so it’s important to make sure you have researched and evaluated thoroughly the best properties in the areas you can afford. After all, the whole point is to generate a positive cash flow while watching the value of the property grow over time.
But how do you find these best properties? How do you know that what you want isn’t a huge mistake or cash cow?
1. Think Like A Professional:
With tighter credit issues in force, commercial property investors will need cash for a larger down payment, as it is not unheard of that banks or loan companies today require 30 percent. Keep in mind that income on commercial real estate properties is related to usable square footage, so a buyer will see a bigger cash flow than with residential properties.
2. Create A Solid Plan Of Action:
Ask these all-important questions:
- What is your budget?
- How much can you afford for improvements?
- What are your goals for the deal?
- How much rental space do you need to fill?
- Do you have tenants already?
- How much rent will they pay?
- Any ongoing repair issues?
As you can tell, and probably already know, an investor must have a very clear plan along with a firm and practical budget. Prepare to spend more than you think you will, as it is rare that any improvements or repairs that are made come under budget. If you are unsure of your financial status, or have partners that have not fully committed, don’t move forward until this is resolved.
3. Have An Exit Strategy:
The most successful real estate investors may know a great deal when they see one, but they have an exit strategy where they can walk away if necessary. As an investor, you need to be aware of the repairs that are needed, potential title issues and other factors that will create issues with your budget. If you don’t have a way out when the deal starts turning sour, then you may be at financial and legal risk.
4. Find Motivated Sellers:
Like residential properties, the goal when buying commercial real estate is to find motivated sellers. The best deals come from those who are eager to sell at below market value. Here, you have a seller who will negotiate quickly and aggressively. Quite frankly, the buyer in these situations has the upper hand and can potentially save thousands of dollars, if not more. If you have a seller that isn’t all that eager to sell, or plans to hold out until they find a buyer who will pay close to their asking price, they won’t negotiate as much.
5. Research! Research! Research!
Of course, if you find a great deal, there may be a reason why. Walk around with your real estate professional and find out everything you can about the neighborhood. Is it an up-and-coming area, which at times may be a risky deal? Will renters want to live or work there? Is safety an issue? Is parking readily available? Is the property located next to thriving businesses or too many “For Sale” signs? Talk to other business owners in the area and get their opinions. Contact the local police department to see if crime is a major concern. Finally, don’t ignore other professionals and investors for their opinions. If a deal seems too good to be true, you may need to wonder why.
6. Leave No Stone Unturned When Looking For Commercial Properties:
In other words, and this may seem obvious but needs to be reiterated, check the Internet and real estate listings in the newspapers for properties. Hire a well-respected real estate agent who has numerous contacts within the commercial real estate industry. Ask friends, visit the Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations and contact any person that you know will be helpful to aid you in your search. Take their recommendations but again, always follow up with research once you locate a possible property.
Finally, it takes more than the above. At the heart of the matter, you want to make sure that you communicate and build professional relationships with business owners who can become valuable resources as you start a commercial real estate career. You want a circle of advisors that feel comfortable sharing ideas and passing along good information and advice. Establishing contacts early is a great way to ensure success so never hesitate in asking questions.
September 4th, 2013
The calendar says it’s “September,” which means milder weather is approaching. However, as any resident of South Florida knows, the tropical temperatures in our area make the next several months very busy and inviting for those escaping the colder and harsher climate the rest of the nation experiences.
While cold spells do occur here during the winter, there is no doubt about it, this is one of the best times of the year to live in Florida. With popular beaches, serene and comfortable weather, it’s no wonder our population increases each year. Becoming a homeowner in Florida is a dream for many. However, if you are one of the lucky ones, maintaining your property can be challenging. Now is a good time to take the necessary steps to protect your home this fall.
Did you know that in July of this year South Florida had record rainfall? Reports say that during this month, we had the wettest start to the rainy season in 45 years! Regular home maintenance is necessary to ensuring the value of your home while avoiding costly repairs. It’s natural that during the summer, when our temperatures are at their warmest and most humid, the very last thing you want to do is make home repairs. But now is the time to walk around your property and make necessary changes before colder weather arrives.
Here are some valuable tips for South Florida homeowners. Commercial building owner? These will help you as well:
1. Protect the outside of your home by checking and repairing weather stripping around windows and doors. Often, the hot, sticky and humid weather will damage the seals protecting these critical areas. Look for holes and wear and tear around light fixtures, outlets, plumbing and of course, doors and windows.
2. Check the roof of your home. Do you see any cracked or broken shingles or tiles? If your roof calls for closer inspection, make an appointment with a professional and well-respected roofing company. Ask friends or neighbors for their recommendations.
3. With cooler weather arriving, check your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Examine and test each device thoroughly and replace the batteries if it has been a while.
4. September is a great time to clean your gutters. While our rainfall is usually limited now through May, we have had a wetter summer so make sure your gutters are draining properly. As South Florida professional property inspectors, we have seen our share of water damage to homes and basements simply from gutters that are full of leaves and other debris.
5. Don’t forget to inspect your window screens. We all like fresh, cooler air to flow through our homes, but make sure your window screens don’t have any holes or rips, which allow insects to find their way into your home.
6. Now that the higher temperatures will soon subside, you may be using your air conditioner less frequently. So be sure and change, replace or clean filters that are dirty. Why is this important? Because clean filters increase the airflow and prevent damage to your cooling and heating equipment. Also, prune any overgrown bushes or shrubs near your air conditioning unit as that can restrict the circulation of air.
7. Check your swimming pool to see if any repairs are needed. Chances are, you have used it quite a bit this summer, so look to see if there are any cracks, clogged pump baskets, a faulty heater, dirty filters or other issues that perhaps may need professional attention. Because a pool is such a huge investment, and a much added value for your South Florida home, staying on top of maintenance is a must.
8. Summer isn’t summer without wasps and bees nests. All too often as inspectors we see large nests that can create havoc for a homeowner. If you haven’t already, now is the time to take care for those pesky nests. Depending on the size, you may need to call a professional exterminator.
9. Now may be a good time to paint the outside of your house. Walk around your property and look for any peeling or blistered paint thanks to our hot, Florida sun. Exposed wood can create problems if you neglect painting your home for too long. If you have a home with a stucco finish, look for cracks or other damage as delaying until a crack widens can damage the underlying wall.
10. Last, but certainly not least, now is a great time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Believe it or not, too many homeowners are unsure what is covered and what is not. What happens if a pipe bursts? Will temporary housing be covered should you lose your home to fire? What are your deductibles? Have you added anything to your home, like expensive jewelry, computers or a swimming pool to your home recently? It’s time to get a full understanding of your policy if you are unsure.
July 31st, 2013
If you are considering investing in commercial real estate, make sure that you not only have plenty of patience but that your goals are in sync and in perspective. This is the advice from commercial real estate experts in South Florida who also strongly suggest that potential investors understand fully the amount of quality time, research, the value of establishing important relationships and targeting the appropriate type of investment, is all part of the overall game plan.
Here are some well thought out suggestions from successful investors for those who are seriously considering jumping into the commercial real estate market.
1. Don’t limit yourself. Successful real estate investors think big. However, they also don’t exceed their budget unless they can.
2. Don’t rush: Buying residential real estate is a lot different than buying commercial properties, as it is a much longer process. From purchasing to renovating, to finding tenants and a million things in between, patience is required. Don’t rush through the course, skip steps or ignore the advice of professionals, as this is when bad decisions are made and can turn into a financial or legal nightmare.
3. Do your research: Don’t panic and get discouraged if your first attempts at securing a real estate property fall through. It takes time to look for the right commercial property, such as viewing various locations, making offers and negotiating, meeting with inspectors and loan officials. The list goes on but it’s safe to say, even the easiest of transitions often take longer than you would expect. It’s just the nature of the real estate industry.
4. Cultivate relationships: Creating a large network with other investors as well as professionals in the real estate industry are critical for getting the latest in listings, business openings and closings, referrals the latest deals as well as trends in South Florida. The more people you add to your list of contacts, the more informed you are.
5. Be prepared to spend money: Once an offer is accepted, it’s time to bring out the checkbook. You will have many expenses, such as an appraisal, property inspection and other procedures required by law. This is not to mention the updating, repairing, taxes, fees and such. The list does go on so buying commercial property is not for those who are willing to skip steps or constantly cut corners.
6. Look into funding prior to viewing properties: Financing a commercial property is different than buying a home. It’s like comparing apples to oranges in many aspects. Find the best lenders in your area who are highly recommended, as again, the process does take longer than other loan types. Also, using highly knowledgeable resources can often make the difference of whether you will qualify for a loan or not.
7. Don’t hesitate to ask the pros. Certain situations or issues come up every day when buying commercial property in South Florida. There are days you just don’t know what will come across your desk. Therefore, never shy away from meeting an experienced commercial investor for their advice and suggestions. Make sure that you are clearly educated on a matter before proceeding. Often newer investors hesitate to research issues, such as estimating insurance costs, to understanding various county codes. It’s a shame when this happens especially since the information is often so readily available. Yet deals have been lost because of this.
No one can promise a smooth and carefree commercial real estate transaction. If they could, then we have yet to meet them. But whether you are investing in a small property or a large shopping complex, the bottom line is that you are investing to make money. And while making quick cash may not be in the cards right away, the potential is great as long as one knows what they are doing from day one.
- Think big
- Take your time and do the research
- Create valuable relationships
- Be prepared to write checks
- Find the best loan companies
- Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions
- Don’t skip steps and ignore regulations
July 9th, 2013
For many South Florida property owners, a building inspection can be a nerve wrecking time. What issues will be found? How expensive will it be to make the needed repairs? Will the sale be compromised if too many problems are discovered? And with the rainy season upon us, where we traditionally receive 27 inches on average, other concerns worry owners as well, such as window and drainage matters.
Let’s start by offering one word of advice: If you are considering selling your south Florida property but think your property needs some work, or if it is an older structure, hire an inspector BEFORE you list your home or commercial building. This will give you a good heads up about what repairs are needed. Once these problems are corrected, you can show the realtor your receipts to confirm work has been completed. This is also encouraging news to prospective buyers that your property is in good shape and will certainly give you an edge when listing, as the vast majority of buyers want to purchase a move-in ready property.
As a professional inspection company, we are often asked: How can I prepare for an inspection? Is there anything that I should do? Here are some of our recommendations:
If you are living in a home or selling a building, make sure the property is clean. Make it easy for an inspector to walk through your house or building without worrying about stepping over objects or maneuvering through hurdles. This keeps the inspection on time.
2. Check The Simple Things:
It’s amazing how just fixing the easy repairs can make a huge difference. Not only is it inexpensive, but also takes little or no time.
- Light bulbs. Walk around and replace any burnt out bulbs. Make sure all receptacles are in good working order. A common problem faced every day is where the electrical panel is blocked, which makes access difficult. So make sure this area is clear.
- Filters: Replace any dirty and old heating/air conditioning filters.
- Leaky faucets: If you have a faucet that is leaking, a drain that is slow or any other plumbing issues, now is the time to contact a plumber to repair. When a buyer sees something as simple as a dripping faucet or pipe, it raises a red flag and gives them reason to wonder if this is perhaps the result of a bigger, more costly, problem.
3. Clear Outside Walkways:
Inspectors look at a home inside and out, from top to bottom. We look at hundreds of items, some of which are big, and others quite small. It is important that an inspector be permitted to move around easily outside the property as well as inside. Prior to your appointment, take away any obstacles that would prevent an inspector from easily going from one area to another.
4. Clear Access To Attics, Closets And Doorways.
Wherever the hatch or opening is located, make sure your inspector can reach without any obstruction. This also includes making sure there is workspace near air conditioners, water heaters, etc.
5. Trim overgrown bushes or shrubs if blocking any exterior inspection areas.
Inspectors will need to inspect the walls, foundation, siding and other points. This can make it difficult if a home is covered with over-run landscaping.
6. Leave Utilities Connected:
If a home or property is vacant, make sure the pilot lights are ignited, water, gas and utilities are still connected. Without this, an inspector will need to reschedule and this could delay closing.
7. Show Receipts:
If you have had repairs made, leave a folder out for the inspector to review. This is extremely helpful and will allow the inspector to confirm that previous issues have been resolved. Be sure to include permits and product approvals.
We all love our pets, but an inspector’s job is much easier when pets are removed or at least properly secured for the duration of the appointment.
9. Be On Time:
Finally, be prepared and on time for the inspection. These appointments can take several hours, so it’s necessary to get started when the appointment is scheduled. Chances are, your inspector will have a busy schedule, so in order not to keep other planned appointments waiting, starting on time is essential.
When sellers prepare for an inspection, it can allow the entire process to operate more smoothly and keep your real estate transaction on schedule.
June 11th, 2013
For many real estate buyers and investors, hiring a South Florida home inspector can be a daunting experience. For some who have never hired an inspector before, they are not exactly sure what to expect nor how to go about finding a professional they can trust. But as mentioned on this site previously, a home or commercial inspection should never be ignored. And hiring an unqualified inspector is the same as not having an inspection at all. Why risk your investment?
For those that are looking for a south Florida inspector, there are some questions that any professional inspection company should be happy to answer:
1. How long have you been in business? How many inspections has your company completed?
A professional inspector must be able to offer their experience and qualifications for you to review as well as referrals for you to contact if necessary. This also brings up the point if new inspectors are worth hiring? Many new to the industry work with other professionals or have access to experienced inspectors, so if you are considering someone that is relatively new, determine if they will have assistance.
2. How long will the inspection take?
Shy away from anyone that claims they can inspect your home or commercial property in an hour or less. Of course, it depends on the size and age of the building, but a thorough and proper investigation should take several hours.
3. What can I expect with your inspection?
It is mandatory that your inspection meets all Florida requirements while complying with a strict code of ethics. Inspectors should provide copies of recently completed property inspections for a client’s review and confirm what areas of the home or commercial building are covered. Because in South Florida many home issues are weather related, special attention should always be focused on areas where water can pose a problem.
4. When will my report be ready to review?
Professional inspectors understand that those buying a property need an inspection report in a reasonable amount of time due to the nature of contracts and negotiations with a seller. Although some reports may take longer than others, typical home inspection reports should be made available within 24 to 48 hours.
5. I would like to attend the inspection so will I be able to?
Any professional inspector would not only agree to this, but they should welcome it as well. This is an excellent opportunity for a buyer to ask questions and learn more about the building itself. For example, if you are looking a home, you will want to know where to turn off the water in case of an emergency. This is true with gas and breaker units as well. If you have specific questions about a repair and the cost to fix or replace, an inspector can be helpful in this area as well. Should an inspector decline your request to attend an inspection, this would be a major concern and an excellent reason not to hire this particular company.
6. May I see your license? What other professional organizations do you belong to?
Of course, you want to make sure your inspector is licensed in the state of Florida and belongs to any appropriate associations. Three of the best inspector associations are F.A.B.I (Florida Association of Building Inspectors), InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) and A.S.H.I. (American Society of Home Inspectors). This is also a good time to check to see if any complaints have been issued or a license has been revoked for any reason. Florida Home Inspector licensing can be verified at www.myfloridalicense.com. Another common problem in Florida is inspectors performing termite inspections without the proper wood destroying organism license.
7. What are the most common problems one finds when inspecting homes in South Florida?
Again, weather plays a huge role with home repairs so careful attention is always paid where water may be of a concern. Also, as we all know, the hot, humid temperatures of this region mean you want a home that has a properly working air conditioning system. Mold is another issue that requires serious attention. Regardless, you want to make sure that your home inspector pays careful attention to all areas of your home, as each property is different.
8. Is your home inspection guaranteed?
Keep in mind that no home inspection is a guarantee but rather a professional inspection. Nor does a home inspection estimate your home or property value. It simply is a valuable resource for a buyer where the homes external and internal systems are evaluated. However, some companies do stand behind their work with limited warranty programs.
Doing the research before hiring an inspector and then asking the tough questions means that chances are, you will end up with a property that will pose no unwelcome surprises.
April 11th, 2013
If you live in Florida, then chances are, you know that mold is a common concern among homeowners and buyers. Even new construction that has been vacant for some time is not immune to this unwelcome guest. And as much we enjoy the enviable Florida lifestyle, the combination of moisture and warm temperatures provide excellent conditions for mold growth. So it’s understandable why our state has persistent problems with mold.
Unfortunately, mold is a significant threat to property and buildings. If not caught early, it can spread quickly, providing damage and significant health issues. Simply touching mold or breathing air that has mold spores can cause a variety of reactions. For some, it may include coughing, runny nose or skin and eye issues. For others, the effects can be more dangerous.
A brief rundown: Mold occurs when you have moisture, nutrients and warmer temperatures. Once mold spores find their way into a home or property, mold can settle and grow quickly. The question is not how to get rid of mold spores from entering a home as they are not visible to the naked eye and exist virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Rather, the issue is how to discover and remove mold once it has been discovered.
1. Maintain moisture control in air:
Moisture can come into our homes or commercial property in a variety of ways. Whether it be through damp air or water, it can arrive through windows, doors, cracks, as well as through dishwashing, showering, laundry or cooking. Leaks and plumbing problems are also popular ways for water to get inside. In fact, likely culprits are washing machine hoses and water heaters as being the top two sources of expensive water damage, which can then result in mold issues.
2. Eliminating Nutrients:
Mold will quickly settle and spread when it has a food source. Natural fibers, found in furnishings, clothing, paper products, books and other materials are popular feeding grounds. Mold also grows on walls, closets, clothing and showers. In fact, soap scum found in shower stalls provides nutrients for mold growth. The best way to eliminate this pest is to keep a clean home, which will discourage mold from spreading.
3. Temperature Control:
Again, with warm summer months just ahead, its good to remember that hot weather encourage mold growth. Mold makes itself right at home in temperatures between 75 – 87 degrees. While air conditioning certainly helps, if the air is more humid, then it is unable to prevent mold from growing. Pay particular attention to areas where the air doesn’t flow, such as inside cabinets, closets and under kitchen or bathroom sinks, as these areas are usually the warmest in a home.
So again, the best way to eliminate mold growth is to do the following:
- Regularly clean and sanitize your home.
- Clean shower stalls to remove soap scum as well as moisture.
- Keep fans on, as it will circulate the air.
- Keep an eye out for any wet areas, standing water or condensation.
- Don’t ignore any leaky faucets or plumbing problems.
- Don’t allow foundations to stay wet. Make sure there is drainage and the area is properly sloped away from foundation.
- Make sure air conditioning is properly maintained and HVAC drip pans are thoroughly cleaned, flowing correctly and unobstructed.
Despite all best preventions, it is not surprising when owners are unaware they have a mold problem with their home or commercial property. In fact, most are genuinely shocked to hear that their home is infested with mold. Often, mold is hidden, may be covered or the leak is behind walls, or other locations that are not clearly visible. That is why it is necessary to inspect any property for mold, especially if:
- Owners or tenants have allergic reactions, such as itch eyes, sneezing, runny nose with being in a certain area or room of house or building.
- To determine that source of moisture has been stopped with no mold growth.
- To verify there is not a mold issue or moisture that is often associated with new construction, building or property that will be rented or purchased.
Finally, there are some important things everyone should know in regards to mold inspections. The most important facts are:
- It is necessary to hire a professional, qualified and experienced mold inspector.
- A mold inspection should include looking for current and past mold problems.
- Mold is not often known or visible, so good inspectors utilize specialized equipment such as moisture meters and infrared cameras. This equipment can often detect moisture which is not visible to the naked eye.
- Mold inspections should always be on the look out for moisture.
It is recommended that anyone who suspects a mold problem, to have a complete and comprehensive inspection. Mold related illness, particularly in our area of Florida, is not uncommon and should be treated immediately.
April 4th, 2013
Last week I performed a home inspection on a gorgeous house nestled in a private back enclave of Vintage Isles in BallenIsles, Palm Beach Gardens. This beautiful 4,640 square foot home has four bedrooms, four full bathrooms (including a magnificent master bathroom), a pool, lanai, and beautiful stained glass front doors. This place was great, it even has waterfall like fountains which pour water into the pool. The pool looks even better with the tropical landscaping which acts as a privacy separation from the golf course behind the property.
If you’re not familiar with BallenIsles, it’s a fantastic community which spans from the Turnpike to Military Trail and from PGA Boulevard to Northlake Boulevard. This private gated community houses an award winning golf and country club with world class resort amenities for the lucky residences of its’ 1,574 homes.
The sale of this property was made possible by Gene Arky from Illustrated Properties. Over the past 20 years Gene specializes in the luxury homes located in BallenIsles. Gene can be reached by calling 561-714-4568 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
March 12th, 2013
Ask any professional real estate agent in south Florida and they will tell you: Never waive a home inspection when buying a home. Why is this? It could end up costing you a fortune.
Unfortunately, some buyers will ignore a proper home inspection for a variety of reasons:
• “It doesn’t matter what’s wrong with it, I’m going to buy it anyway.”
• “This house looks terrific! I can’t see anything wrong with it.”
• “I know the owner! They would never sell me a house that needs repairs!”
Many buyers believe that if an inspection isn’t mandatory, then why should they pay for a service that may not necessary? The answer to that is, a home inspection is not only necessary it helps ensure the home you are buying is a quality investment. Consider this: If you were going to invest a significant amount of your own money in the stock market, wouldn’t you do some research prior to writing a check?
The good news is that in South Florida, the real estate market is on the road to recovery. We are once again seeing homes receive multiple offers, with many going above the asking price. Anything in a highly desirable area that is priced correctly is moving quickly. As we see with multiple offers, buyers will concede many things, and often this may be a home inspection despite a real estate agent’s warning. This is because a home inspection may be the best money you ever spend.
In Florida, some of our biggest inspection issues revolve around our weather. While people move from all over the world to enjoy our sunshine, the truth is that our climate plays a large role in water damage to our homes. Properties need to be checked to determine if a seller has properly maintained their homes from water issues, particularly with windows and doors.
Electrical issues are also problems Florida homeowners encounter. Older and damaged wiring are not only dangerous but often installed improperly. An inspection can clearly give you peace of mind to ensure that your home’s electrical system is safe for you and your family.
How would you like to live in your new home with a sub par air conditioning system. With the hot temperatures we experience here in South Florida, it’s no surprise then that this is a feature that most of us use daily so it’s necessary that a buyer wants a home where the AC unit has been properly maintained. But maybe a unit is on its last legs or hasn’t been checked in some time. A good inspector can determine the condition of the air conditioner to determine if it is in good working order.
Another prevalent home issue common in south Florida is mold. Once inside a home, mold spreads quickly and is difficult to get rid of unless it is properly remediated. Professional home inspectors can detect mold where it’s most likely to occur, under sinks and ceilings or where moisture can be a problem.
Of course, inspecting those hard to reach places, such as attics and crawlspaces often find overlooked and potential problems. Here, you may find water damages, poor plumbing, bad insulation and structural damage among other things.
All of these problems, including others, are why it’s necessary to hire a home inspector. Imagine moving into a home that has been infested with mold that hasn’t been detected by you or the previous owner? Or maybe an air conditioner that doesn’t work properly and suddenly breaks down? These can be expensive repairs that may very well rest on the buyer to pay.
New construction should also have a professional home inspection since subcontractors handle the majority of construction. While a buyer may well be familiar with the homebuilder, chances are, they won’t know who is pouring their foundation, handling the plumbing and electrical issues as well as the framing and other required jobs. Mistakes are often made and not discovered until it’s too late.
A proper home inspection can be viewed as a check-up for your future home. Here, you will have the opportunity to know if the condition of the physical structure of your home is safe and where repairs could be necessary. It’s knowledge that you understand exactly what condition the home is that you are buying. But it also provides peace of mind that you are making a good and educated decision when buying your property.
October 3rd, 2011
Rick Jenkins and his BIS team have been the best home inspectors that we have ever used over our 25 + military moves around the country. Having over 13 years of real estate experience, and numerous experiences with many name brand inspection companies, this company was far and away the most thorough and helpful with our latest personal home purchase, than any other inspection company.
The reports provided helped us to obtain the best possible insurance coverage, because they were clearly written and extremely detailed. If there were findings, the report allowed us to understand what we needed to correct (or request the seller to fix) and why. Rick was frequently available by phone to answer several follow up questions we kept thinking of!! We had a contract on one house, BIS found hidden faults within the structure of the home and we were able to withdraw from that purchase. Thank Goodness!!
The second home we found and purchased in Coconut Grove, we asked BIS to do all of our inspections, the general for us and the 4 point one for our insurance company. If you are buying a house I would 100% recommend Rick and his BIS team to do all of your inspections. If you are selling, I would also recommend an inspection so you can correct anything and nullify any findings a prospective buyer may find, so you can defend your selling price (especially in this market). It is the best fee to pay to protect your investment. Well worth it!
September 22, 2011
September 20th, 2011
When buying a house, one of the newest and most serious problems your new house may have is hazardous imported Chinese Drywall. You may have heard about it on the news, on the internet, or even from your real estate agent. However, most people don’t realize how bad the problem really is. The truth is that hazardous Chinese drywall has been found in over 4,000 properties, most of them located right here in South Florida.
In 2004 and 2005, because of hurricanes and other factors, construction material was in short supply. So builders began importing materials (including drywall) from other countries. Surprisingly, the hazardous drywall wasn’t even from China. The most notorious exporter of the hazardous drywall was a company called Knauf out of Germany. Knauf obtained the raw materials from a gypsum mine located in China. Although we haven’t been able to trace the exact cause of the contamination in the gypsum, it is believed that poor pollution controls in China allowed the raw gypsum to be contaminated within the mine. Since then, millions of sheets of this hazardous drywall have been imported and installed into homes and business across America.
Although the hazardous Chinese drywall is mostly found in homes constructed around the years 2004 and 2005, it has been found in homes as early as 2001 and as late as 2009. It is recommended that any house constructed or renovated between the years 2001 and 2009 be fully inspected by a qualified home inspection professional. In addition to having your home professionally inspected, you can review a self assessment guide at Florida’s Department of Health’s website: (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/inspections.html).
Although the chances of your home having Chinese Drywall are minimal, the cost of remediation can be astronomical. Building Inspection Services, a home inspection company specializing in Chinese Drywall, recommends Chinese drywall remediation to include the complete replacement of the following: all drywall, all electrical wiring, the air conditioning system, all metal plumbing components, all appliances with major metallic components, all carpeting, all wall insulation, all wood flooring, all wood baseboards or crown molding and all metallic bathroom fixtures or components. As you can imagine, the cost of this work can easily skyrocket to $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the home.
With that being said, most people will want to avoid buying a home with Chinese Drywall. However, some people with an entrepreneurial spirit have made a great profit on these homes. I spoke with an investor who purchased a townhouse in the Orchid Grove community in Pompano Beach a few months ago. He purchased a townhouse for $35,000, remediated the entire place in 2 months, costing him $60,000, then sold it for over $130,000.
Written by: Mike Jenkins, Home Inspector
Building Inspection Services / www.BIS-Inspections.com