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By: Karen Behfar

Whether you are working with the seller or the buyer or both, home inspection day can be a bit stressful. Here are some tips to help prepare for the process.

How Long Will It Take? The duration of a home inspection depends on the size of the home and its condition, but will typically take between one and three hours.

What Can I Do to Prepare?If you are the seller, the home inspector can move quicker and can offer a more complete report if they have easy access to things like the attic, garage, crawl space, water heater, HVAC, and electrical panels. If the basement or attic are used for storage, make sure there is a clear path for the inspector to reach these areas.

You’ll also want to leave keys to the home and any locked areas like sheds, garage, etc. Make sure the utilities are on. Double check thermostat batteries so the inspector can operate the heating/cooling.

How Much Is It and Who Pays for It?
The cost varies based on location and
home size, but you can plan on paying anywhere from $300–$750 for a professional home inspection. The home buyer pays for the inspection.

To be continued…

Renting a House vs. Renting an Apartment

While there are similarities between renting a house and renting an apartment, there are also some differences as well. Many people rent an apartment until they are ready to buy, but often when people are downsizing after selling a house, or are not ready to move out of New York but don’t want to stay in New York permanently, among many other reasons, people may choose to rent a house instead of an apartment.

When you rent an apartment, you are usually expected to pay for your own electricity, and it depends on the owner whether the heat is covered. What you aren’t usually expected to do is to pay for things like water and gardening, at least in my experience.

When renting a private home, the legalities are different than when renting an apartment. When renting an apartment, things like garbage and snow responsibilities come up when the lease is being formed and individual plans are made. When renting a house, the owner expects the tenants to act as though they are the owners, therefore heating and electricity costs are not covered, as well as water, depending on the situation. I have seen gardening go both ways, with certain owners refusing to pay for such costs. Yet, it ultimately boils down to a discussion with the landlord before signing contracts. My personal opinion is that gardening should be covered by landlords since at the end of it all it is still their property.

Some landlords expect tenants to purchase renter’s insurance, which I believe to be extremely beneficial to both owners and tenants alike, as floods and leaks are nearly inevitable, and insurance could protect both tenant and owner against financial loss. Garbage responsibilities and fines, as well as snow issues, are the tenant’s responsibility. When problems arise in a rental property, whether in a private house or an apartment, it is easy to assess where a problem originated because there is only one tenant to be held responsible. Generally, when it comes to maintenance of an apartment, when something breaks, tenants tend to call the landlord. But when it comes to home rentals, landlords do not appreciate being bothered with such things, usually drawing the line at issues under $100, unless it’s a more major or mechanical issue.

I am providing general ideas based on what I have found in my personal experience, but everything is up for discussion before contracts are signed and agreements are made, so long as the channels are kept open and there is clearcommunication.

Just a friendly reminder – get renter’s insurance! It is a small investment that is worth it in the long run.