Triangle House Hunter Articles

Below you will find articles on housing market research, tips for home buyers and sellers, new technology, and local events!

Dec. 1, 2016

Interview with Patrick Walsh, Triangle Home Inspector

Patrick Walsh (License #3461) is a great home inspector and resource for homeowners in the Triangle, NC area. He serves Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, as well as the surrounding towns such as Hillsborough, Mebane, and Apex. We were excited to interview him to see what home buyers and sellers should be on the lookout for while buying or selling a home.

Where did you go to school and/or grow up?

I grew up in Northeast Ohio, studied business at Kent State University, and relocated to Chatham County NC after college. I have a farm near Pittsboro, and have sold organic vegetables and chicken at the Carrboro farmers market for many years.

How did you get started in home inspections, and what do you love about the profession?

I have a done home remodeling and repairs throughout the Triangle for the past 25 years. I’ve helped many homeowners complete the list of repairs after their home was inspected, and a few years ago a real estate agent said, “You should become an inspector!" I love this job and sharing my knowledge of home systems with folks buying a home. I enjoy the excitement of searching for clues to tell the story of a home.

What makes you different versus the competition?

I have the experience and know how to talk with people. I realize that buying a home is an emotional experience and I try to help buyers put into perspective the condition of a home without being alarmist.

What are your favorite hobbies outside of inspecting?

Music! Music! Music! I have played and sang music my whole live. I’ve traveled the world to perform at many bluegrass festivals. I started the Kickin Grass Band in the 90’s and have released 5 CD’s.

What are some common difficulties you run into while performing a home inspection?

Sometimes sellers don’t realize what is involved with a home inspection. When closets, attics, basements, and crawl space areas are packed with personal items, it makes it difficult to inspect electrical panels, water heaters, HVAC systems, and more.

Recommendations to people who are about to get a home inspection?

If you’re having a home inspected, I recommend attending the inspection if possible. It gives the opportunity to talk about the home’s defects and prioritize the repairs. Of course the home inspection report will have many pictures, descriptions, and recommendations, and I’m always available to talk about the home even after you move in.

Where do you see yourself and your business going in the next few years?

I hope to continue inspecting homes for many years. I enjoy being a part of our triangle community, and I look forward to meeting new neighbors.

Pictured: Patrick Walsh scoping out a crawlspace for a client.

Nov. 18, 2016

Triangle Real Estate Market Update October 2016

Oct. 13, 2016

Triangle Real Estate Market Update September 2016

Sept. 13, 2016

Google Fiber Coming to Morrisville First!

After seeing miles upon miles of google fiber being laid throughout the Triangle as I drive around to various showings and listings, it's nice to hear that google is finally ready to begin signups. They are starting in Morrisville (nicknamed the heart of the Triangle) in the next few weeks and are offering fiber internet and TV for $140/month, fiber internet only for $70/month, and slower fiber internet (which is still pretty fast) for $50/month.

They have just finished laying the fiber outside our office, and I can't wait until we get to signup as well!

Aug. 30, 2016

Triangle Real Estate Market Update July 2016

Feb. 5, 2016

NC Oil Tank Removal and Deed Restrictions for Residential Real Estate

It was very common to use heating oil as a source of heat in homes built in the mid 1930’s through the 1980’s. The oil was stored in an above ground (AST) or underground (UST) oil storage tank next to the home or underground on the property. When the home’s heating system was updated to more efficient gas or electric heat, the tanks were shut off with the remaining oil left inside. 

Today’s buyers and sellers should be aware of the status of oil tanks on property because oil leakage can contaminate the soil and ground water around the tank for years. North Carolina state law demands immediate clean up by a licensed professional when leakage is discovered or land use deed restrictions must be placed on a property. Deed restrictions from underground oil tank leakage can negatively impact the value of a home and property as well as its appeal to potential buyers.

The Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas) was one of the areas where heating oil was used most frequently. Chris Boshoff, President of Cohesion Environmental Services says that “The Department of Environmental Quality says there are anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 oil tanks in North Carolina. By comparison, there are less than 50,000 gasoline tanks like you’ll find at gas convenience stores.”  He estimates that, “More of 50% of the homes in the Triangle had heating oil. Durham is full of them as is Raleigh, Garner, Cary and Chapel Hill.”

Often a current owner may not even be aware there is a tank on their property because it was shut off before they owned the home. Boshoff goes on to say “This issue most often comes up during real estate transactions. Or a homeowner reports rain has leaked into the tanks, pushing oil into crawl spaces.”

Prior to negotiating the purchase or sale of your home, be sure to research the status of heating oil tanks. That way you can decide whether to remove the tank and possible contamination before the sale, or sell as-is. The Ryan Cassidy Group has handled many real estate transactions in the Triangle involving underground oil tanks. This is one of many issues our experienced real estate advisors can help you resolve with a minimum of stress and delay.

Jan. 1, 2016

Triangle Real Estate Market Update November 2015

Jan. 1, 2016

Raleigh Real Estate Market Update November 2015

Nov. 22, 2015

Durham Real Estate Market Summary October 2015

According to the Multiple Listing Service data for the Durham market, in October 2015 nearly all metrics for the real estate market showed a positive increase versus October 2014. The market continues to be strong with 8.5% growth in New Listings, a 3.7% increase in Median Sales Price to $188,750 and a 5.4% increase in Average Sales Price to $218,129.

The market also seems to be holding steady and is not experiencing wide price swings with the Percent of Original List Price Received only increasing 1.3% to 96.4%. So apparently sellers are pricing their homes realistically and close to what the market will bear.

Oct. 5, 2015

What to Know Before Choosing a Custom Builder

The purchase of a custom-built home can be an exciting and enjoyable experience. Often this type of home is a once-in-a-lifetime dream home that the buyer has anticipated and worked to achieve for many years. From the choice of that perfect floor plan to decisions about appliances, countertops and other details – it all can be a labor of love.

But that much anticipated labor of love could come with unexpected problems like shoddy construction, building delays or even the sudden halting of construction because the builder has run out of money.

Here are a few tips to use when choosing a custom builder that will help avoid these problems.

·      Ask how long the builder has been in business. It can take up to three to five years to establish a financially sound business. You not only want the builder to be around to complete your home but also for years afterward to service warranties and provide other support as you use your home. Make sure your builder has that commitment.

·      A good custom homebuilder will be an active member of industry associations such as the North Carolina Home Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders. These groups often hold their members to a higher standard therefore they tend to be more experienced, qualified and dependable. They keep members updated on the most recent building industry requirements and offer continuing education programs and certifications. 

o   One program is the Accredited Builder program. Graduates have learned about key areas in home construction such as design, building technology, project management, business management, customer service, sales and marketing, computer technology, and leadership. Look for the initials “AB” after the builder’s name.

·      Don’t even consider a builder that doesn’t have the required insurance coverage and licenses. Insurance should include workers comp as well as liability insurance coverage so you are covered if someone gets hurt while working on your property.

·      Reputable builders will have a process in place for finding and evaluating subcontractors to make sure the quality of their work meets the builder’s standards. Builders who have been in business for years may have developed relationships with trusted contractors over time and they are more likely to be committed to customer satisfaction.

·      Choose a builder that has plenty of experience building the type of home you want. For example, if it’s important to you to have an energy efficient home, find a builder who has built several.

·      There are various organizations that certify green homes or energy efficient homes. This is a growing trend in the industry and builders should have committed to in-depth study of energy efficient, high performance housing. Look for that certification from your builder.

o   One such certification is CGP or Certified Green Professional. Based on the National Green Building Standard, the course includes information on site design; resource, energy and water efficiency; and indoor air quality.

·      Get references from the builder, preferably customers who have built a home similar to yours. Ask them about the pros and cons of working with the builder and if they would use him again. Get the names of recent clients from the builder as well as those from several years ago. Check to see if problems have come up as the home has aged. Also contact any subcontractors to see if the builder pays his bills on time.

·      Find clients who live in the same development you’re interested in. If the development is run by a homeowner’s association (HOA), talk to the members of the association and the board. If nothing has been built yet, try to speak with owners in a recently finished development by the same builder.

·       Check with county planning or building employees that deal with builders.

·       Talk with real estate agents who are experienced in the area where you will be building. They may have sold homes built by the builder and may know their reputation.

·       Call the state or local licensing or consumer protection agency that oversees builders and contractors. See if there are any complaints have been made against the builder.

·      Look up ratings and reviews on the Internet. There are two consumer organizations - Home Owners Against Deficit Dwellings (www.hadd.com) and Homeowners for Better Building (www.hobb.com) - that follow the building industry and act as consumer watchdogs.

·      Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the builder.

·      See if the builder will show you his work himself, both completed and in progress. Or go see it on your own or even with a building inspector. Check for quality of work and materials. A building inspector may also be familiar with the builder and at least tell you if they pull the proper permits.

·      Communication is the #1 reason for delays in construction. Make sure you feel you can easily and clearly communicate with the builder. You will be in very close contact during possibly stressful situations so make sure you have confidence you are both able to communicate with each other well.

·      Have a complete and clearly written contract. Review it with a real estate attorney and with other real estate professionals to compare to the standard contract for your state. Discuss the differences. Make sure your contract provides a detailed list of what you get for the price you are paying.

·      Get a copy of the new home warranty and homeowners manual and read it thoroughly. If the builder has a guarantee, discuss what it includes and get it in writing.

As you can see, there is a great deal to consider when choosing a custom homebuilder and it can be a little overwhelming. The key is to do your research. Take the time that’s necessary to answer the questions on this list. The end result will be a better relationship with your builder, an easier construction process and a very satisfying final product – the home of your dreams.