Longer inspection period may benefit sellers

When buyers make an inspection contingent offer they need to specify how long the inspection period will be. I encourage my buyers to ask for a ten-day inspection period. Often sellers prefer a shorter period and will counter.

Sellers mistakenly believe that a shorter period is in their best interest. If something goes wrong they can get the house back on the market quicker and perhaps get another offer.

A shorter inspection period for the buyers also means a shorter period for the sellers. If the buyers are unable to get an inspector because inspectors are super busy during the home buying season the inspection might be scheduled on day 4 or 5.

If the buyers find an issue the sellers might not have enough time to find out how much a repair might cost or do any research to find out if the repair is needed. Sellers may end up saying yes or no to a repair that ends up being expensive or unnecessary or both.

When the inspection period is too short and sellers agree to repairs without at least researching the cost or checking to see if there is someone who can do that work they may be in for a surprise when they get the bill or find out that the work can not be completed for months.

This time of year contractors and inspectors are busy. Getting work done can be a challenge and getting an estimate quickly isn’t always possible.

Inspections slow down the home buying and home selling process but they also help protect both buyer and seller. After the inspection, all parties have an understanding of the condition of the house.

Either party can ask for an extension of the inspection period during the inspection period if needed.

Earth day 2019

Today is Earth Day. I remember the very first earth day. It was a big deal. Back then we were taught not to litter but that was before bottled water and plastic coffee cups. There is a lot of trash in the woods. Plastics are the most common but there is a lot of aluminum, glass and some fabric too.  There is a city-wide clean-up on April 27th.  

Much has changed since the first earth day but even then we knew that we would need to change our behavior if we want clean air and water. There are so many things each of us can do to reduce our own carbon emissions. We can walk and bike more and drive less. Drink water from a reusable bottle. Eat less meat and more locally grown food. Consider buying gently used clothes and household items instead of buying new.

Recycle, reuse and reduce.


Earth day


Free television

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I am old enough to remember when television was free and there were antennas on roofs and in attics. There was no monthly bill and no subscription.

This week I re-discovered free TV. With nothing more than an inexpensive indoor antenna, we are getting high definition television. . . for free!

The antenna is a little fancier than the old ones were. It uses electricity and has a booster and cost $35 at Best Buy. I have to say the picture really is amazing and much better than what we were getting with DirectTV. There are 12 free channels. Who knew?

We are thrilled with the reception and overall ease of use and the fact that it is free makes it even more attractive. Did I mention it is free? Over the air, just like radio!

I am trying Sling TV which will be less than $25 a month once the trial is over. We already have Netflix and Amazon Prime and an Apple TV.  I am not sure about Sling because like the cable providers they have groups of channels. There are 7 or 8 channels that we might watch but we have to get a group of 45 channels to get the channels we want. Sound familiar? It seems to be a common business model.

It would be wonderful to just pay for the channels we want but that kind of service hasn’t been invented yet. At least Sling is easy to cancel. A person could just pay for it during the winter and cancel it in the summer. 🙂

It sounds complicated but it isn’t. I no longer have to call a 1-800 company to cancel, change or repair. No more being put on hold and listening to a recording that tells me how important my call is. no more listening to a person who is programmed to sell “service protection” plans. Those plans work like organized crime, customers are charged a fee for protection in addition to the fee for services.

As an unexpected bonus, I just learned how to turn a satellite dish into a booster for a TV antenna. Apparently, we can get more free channels that way, and it looks like it is pretty easy to do.

Is there mold in the house?

green house
House on Michigan Street – West 7th neighborhood

Mold is everywhere and it is more complicated than you might think. Most molds are not harmful to humans but all molds have the potential to be harmful to humans, or harmful to some humans.

There is no mold standard. With radon and other substances, there are thresholds and guidelines for how much is too much.

Mold can be removed from a home by removing moldy items and stopping moisture from getting in and or cleaning up the affected area. I am a fan of using chlorine bleach if possible.

Damp basements are common this time of year. I can usually tell by the smell if a basement is moldy.

There probably isn’t such a thing as a mold free house.

What about mold testing?

“Many people want to test their home for mold. In most situations, MDH does not recommend mold testing. There are several reasons for this:

Proper mold testing is expensive – If you can see or smell mold in your home, you know you have a mold problem. There are several ways to test for mold, and each test has different advantages. In order to get a good idea of a mold problem, several types of test are needed. It is usually better to use the money you would spend on testing to solve the moisture issues and clean up the mold.” [Minnesota Department of Health]

One of the best sources of information about mold and other sources of indoor air pollution is the Minnesota Department of Health.  Which is where I send home buyers who have questions. I am not qualified to say what is safe and what isn’t and I am not qualified to identify mold types.

Should you buy a house with mold in it?  Can you buy a mold free house?

Making mashed potatoes

I like to look at recipes and get ideas for what to cook for supper on the internet. I have noticed lately that I find “how to’ videos instead of old school recipes with a list of ingredients and some instructions.

A couple of days ago I landed on a video about how to make perfect mashed potatoes. I was kind of surprised because I think I learned the basics of mashed potatoes before I had double-digit birthdays.

The instructions were a bit complicated and involved a couple of extra steps. It really is simple to boil the potatoes whole or cut up, peeled or not. Once they are soft enough to mash I drain the water, add some milk and a little butter or not.

They can be seasoned or not, and them mashed with a potato masher, or in a pinch, a fork will do the job or they can be whipped with an electric mixer . . or not. Putting gravy on mashed potatoes works too.

In the video, there were a few extra steps and loads of advice. It must look like a lot of work to those who have never cooked potatoes.

Some of the advice I see online comes from writers and from content marketers and some of it comes from experts who actually have no experience. The person who made the potato video probably didn’t realize that her extra steps are unnecessary.

When it comes to real estate related articles I can immediately tell if the advice is coming from someone who is experienced or if they are a writer with no experience or a writer who did not consult an expert. I can sometimes tell by the headlines

Some of the real estate articles on national news sites are based on what people find interesting but contain no useful or accurate information. They are entertainment and nothing more.

There is a lot of mythology out there about buying and selling real estate. I totally understand where the kookie ideas that people come to me with come from. There are even TV shows that attempt to dramatize the home buying or selling process. Those shows are just entertainment for those who find such things entertaining.

It is safe to say that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean that it is correct or true or a best practice or that it was written by someone with expertise.