Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why get a pest report?

So many new buyers ask me why they need a pest report. It's simple: Houses are made from wood and pests like to eat wood. An infestation can be found anywhere there is wood bearing structures inside or outside including window sills, door jams, crawl spaces and attics.

      Below are some telltale signs of termite infestation:

  • If you find a pile of what appears to be insect wings you might have a termite colony nearby. Termites shed their wings once they colonize and can often be mistaken for flying ants. 
  • However, the most obvious sign of termites are termite mud tubes. Termites will often create tubes or tunnels so they can move around and you can typically find these where your home meets the soil.
  • Another sign is mud build-up around the exterior of your home. Just look around and see if there are small mud piles forming.
  • Wood that falls apart, flake, or turns to dust can be a sign of termites. You can tap on your wood to see if it sounds hollow and if it does, this could indicate termites.

    These are all signs that you need to a termite inspection. It's important to do your due diligence before buying. And if you are selling, why not obtain a report so you can minmize any surprises during escrow. A pest reports starts anywhere from $275 and can go up to $900 depending on the size of the home.
written by Gina Odom

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

San Francisco makes the big 10 for families!

San Francisco gets an "A" across the board from Parent's magazine. One of the first places to bring healthier foods to schools by giving the boot to sodas and high fat foods and adding salad bars which puts this city at the top of list.

In addition, S.F. offers 182 playgrounds, 82 recreation centers, and 60 soccor fields to keeps kids active. Way to go S.F.!  Check out the other cities who made the list:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1063 62nd St, Oakland

Saw this on tour today: Uber-cool victorian remodel. South facing so it's sun filled, radiant heating, lovely master sweet! It's definitely worth a look-see. Conveniently located in the Golden Gate Disctrict of North Oakland. $509,000.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Inventory is increasing!

There are 43 properties on tour tomorrow, 1/2 of them are new this week and our MLS (multiple listing serve) has 52 new properties listed. YAY - Inventory is increasing. Spring has sprung... Lets hope it continues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why start with a home inspection?

I was fortunate enough to tag along on a home inspection this past Monday with Matt Cantor a local home inspector who owns Cantor Inspections. For this inspection, I was strictly there to ask a ton of questions and get a true understanding of the inspection process and to learn about recent changes in the building code. And truly, to just geek out on home construction. I get that nerdy part of me from my dad.

For my clients, I will always attend and often times get dirty by crawling under the house with an inspector so I can get a clear picture of what needs to be addressed. Typically, it's important to start with a home inspection to understand what you are buying and what needs to be addressed immediately and what can wait. It's a great starting to point to put together a 5 year budget of home maintenance projects.

I must reiterate again how important it is to get a home inspection completed by a reputable and knowledgeable inspector. A good home inspector should be able to tell you what parts of the house like electrical, roof, foundation needs to be addressed. They should also be able to tell you what is time sensitive and what can wait. Your Realtor should be able to give you a few recommendations. It's important that your home inspector is certified and has the background to back it up like being an experienced General Contractor.

For buyers, you must know what you are buying so you can budget for costs or negotiate a credit before removing your contingency. For Sellers, you do not want any surprises during escrow so it's best disclose everything and base your list price on these disclosures and the findings from the inspection. This also gives you an opportunity to fix any items you want.

When buying, there will often times already be inspections completed by the owner. You will want to make sure they are done by a reputable company and if not, pay the extra money and get new inspections. Recently, a pest report was provided for a house for sale and when my clients obtained another pest report by a different company it came back $30K higher. It's important to work a reputable Realtor who can guide you this process to make educated decisions.

Here are some new, fun things I learned during this home inspection:
  • Sheer walls need to have ventilation holes. I am sure there is some type of controversy around this but it's better to be safe than sorry. No ventilation could equal mildew or mold down the road.
  • Retrofitting that you may have gotten 10-15 years ago may be somewhat obsolete or there may be better practices in place. Information is changing all the time and it may be worth getting someone out there to check it out.
  • Smoke alarms should be placed on ceilings not walls.
  • Everyone should have a water shut-off valve (I knew this) but a good brand is the Little Firefighter and you can find them at
Those are just a few of the new things I learned on Monday. Should you want to discuss further home inspections and/or see a sample of a home inspection, shoot me an email at

written by, Gina Odom