Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Central Washington Real Estate



Don’t Get Burned – Get a Home Inspection to Save Money on Your Next Purchase


Okay, you made one of the most important decisions in your life: you’re buying a home! You found your ideal home. It’s in your desired neighborhood, close to everything you love, you dig its design and feel, and you’re ready to finalize the deal.

But, whoa … wait a minute! Buying a home isn’t like buying a toaster. If you discover something’s wrong with your new home, you can’t return it for a refund or an even exchange. You’re stuck with your buying decision. Purchasing a home is an important investment and should be treated as such. Therefore, before finalizing anything, your “ideal” home needs an inspection to protect you from throwing your hard-earned money into a money pit.

A home inspection is a professional visual examination of the home’s roof, plumbing, heating and cooling system, electrical systems, and foundation.

There are really two types of home of inspections. There is a general home inspection and a specialized inspection. Most general inspections cost between $350 and $450. The cost of the specialized inspection varies from type to type. If the inspector recommends a specialized inspection, take that advice because buying a home is the single most important investment you’ll make and you want extra assurance that you’re making a wise investment.

By having your prospective new home inspected, you can:
• Negotiate with the home seller and get the home sale-ready at no cost to you
• Prevent your insurance rates from rising
• Opt-out of the purchase before you make a costly mistake
• Save money in the short and long run

How Much Money Can a Home Inspection Save You?
A home inspection helps to find potential expenses beyond the sales price, which puts homebuyers in a powerful position for negotiation. If there are any issues discovered during the home inspection, buyers can stipulate that the sellers either repair them before closing or help cover the costs in some other way. If the sellers do not want to front the money to complete the repairs, buyers could negotiate a drop in the overall sales price of the home!

Perhaps even more importantly, a home inspection buys you peace of mind. Your first days and months in a new home will set the tone for your life there, and you don’t want to taint that time with worries about hidden problems and potential money pits.

To help you understand how much money a home inspection can save you, here are some numbers from HomeAdvisor to drive the point home … so to speak.

Roof – Roofing problems are one of the most common issues found by home inspections. Roof repair can vary, but to replace a roof entirely can cost between $5,000 to $15,000 for the average home.

Plumbing – Don’t underestimate the plumbing. Small leaks can cause damage that costs between $1,000’s to repair. Your home inspector will look for visible problems with the plumbing such as leaky faucets, water stains around sinks and the shower, and noisy pipes. Stains on walls, ceilings, and warped floors show plumbing problems.

Heating and Cooling – Ensuring the home’s heating and cooling system is working properly is very important. Your home inspector will make you aware of any problems with the existing system and let know you whether the system is past its prime and needs replacing. You don’t want to throw down $4,000 to replace an aged furnace. Nor do you want to spend $5,000 replacing an ill-working air conditioner. Replacing and repairing a water heater gets pricey too. Wouldn’t you rather use your savings for a vacation?

Electrical Systems – When thinking of the electrical system, no problem is better than even a small problem. Electrical problems might seem small, but they can blossom into thousand-dollar catastrophes. Make sure your home inspector examines the electric meter, wires, circuit breaker, switches, and the GCFI outlets and electrical outlets.

Foundation – If your home inspector sees that the house is sinking, that means water is seeping into the foundation; cracks in walls, sticking windows, and sagging floor also indicate foundational problems. The foundation is so important that if the general inspection report shows foundation problems, lenders will not lend money on the home until those issues are solved.

As you can see, a small investment of a few hundred dollars for a general home inspection can save you tons of money and future headaches. To save even more money, you might consider investing in a specialized home inspection as well. A specialized inspection gets down to the nitty-gritty of all the trouble spots the general home inspection might have located.

How Much Money Can a Specialized Inspection Save You?

A general home inspection can trigger a need for a specialized inspection because the general home inspector spotted something off about the roof, sewer system, the heating and cooling system, and the foundation. Usually, a pest inspection will check for mold as well as pests.
Roof – Roof specialists examine the chimney and the flashing surrounding it. They also look at the level of wear and tear of the roof. They can tell you how long the roof will last before a new one is needed. They’ll inspect the downspouts and gutters. The average cost of a roof inspection is about $250.

Septic or Sewer System – Making sure your septic or sewer system has no problems should happen before the closing because what might look like a small problem can turn into a large problem in the future.  A sewer line can collapse and cause backups. A camera sent down the drain will show if there are problems before it’s too late. Typically, a seller will have the septic system pumped and inspected as part of the contract, and if there are problems,  they can be fixed before closing.

Heating and Cooling System – A HVAC specialist will check the ducts for blockage and for consistent maintenance of the unit. The repairs needed might be small or they might be big, but this small investment will save you headaches and lots of money down the road.
Foundation – A foundation specialist will pinpoint the exact problem with the foundation. The specialist will look at the grade or slope of the home. The ground should slope away from the home in all directions a half inch per foot.

Pest Inspection – Termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles and other pests eat a home’s wood structure from inside out and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home. Other pests can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Most inspections are extensive and cost between $150 and $300. The good news is that most pest management companies will guarantee the past inspection if bugs show up.

Attend the inspection – Attending the inspection is important because it’s an opportunity for you to hear directly from the inspector and ask questions.  The inspector will not only tell you about current issues, but will teach you how to maintain the home to avoid future problems. 
Hire a Qualified Home Inspector – We can recommend bona-fide home inspectors to you. You can compare our recommendation with all inspectors who belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Beat the Rush - 5 Reasons to List Your Home Now...


They are popping up everywhere! These funny looking square blockish codes are showing up in all kinds of places. What are they?


They are access to immediate information.

Quick Response Codes, better known as QR Codes are two dimensional bar codes. They were developed by a Toyota subsidiary years ago to track inventory.  Today they are used in many different situations, including being used to market products, even houses!

After downloading a reader app on your Smartphone, you simply point your phone at the QR Code and immediately are directed to more information about the product or service upon which you found the code.

For example, at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices we use QR Codes in our advertising (including this ad) on our property flyers, and on some For Sale signs.  These codes link you directly to more details about a given property.  Our goal is to give you as much information about the home that has piqued your interest as possible, and give it to you right now!

If you have a Smartphone, try it now!  Download a bar code scanner app and point it at the QR Code in this article. 
Isnt that cool?


Home Buying, Home Search


The Data Deluge Dilemma

We are living in the information age, bombarded 24/7 with facts and figures, comments and opinion, references and recommendations. 

It is quickly becoming the too much information age.  Not in the sense of TMI, but simply the over abundance of vast quantities of data, often lacking any significance or context.

When searching for a home, there is no shortage of information available.  There are countless online real estate sites, which one is the best for you?  You want to know you are searching the entire inventory, does it feel like you need to jump from site to site to ensure you see it all?

Fortunately, that is not the case.  Many real estate websites contain some of the homes available for sale, but only the local real estate brokerage sites have the entire inventory of properties currently listed on the Multiple Listing Service.  Through a data sharing arrangement, your local real estate companies publish each others listings on their websites. 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices of Central Washington Real Estate site is a great example. Our site,, you can browse all the properties currently on the market in Yakima County.  There is no need to perform the same search on multiple web sites, as all have the data is in one place, 

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices of Central Washington Real Estate, we surround the home search with other relevant information.  Not only are you looking for a home, but the desired home has characteristics beyond bedrooms and baths.  You want to know about the neighborhood and schools.   You might like to visually locate it on a map, or learn what surrounding properties have sold for recently.  You may be interested in what the monthly payment for a particular home might be.

You can also utilize tools at to make your search more efficient.  Dont miss out on the newest Yakima listings by signing up for Property Watch. There you will be automatically notified by email when the perfect home comes on the market.  Have you had your eye on a particular property?  Save that to your Favorites, an online watch list.

Our goal is to give you access to the information you want and help you utilize that information to make intelligent home buying decisions. 




Does a Real Estate Agent represent the Buyer or the Seller? 

Is it true that all agents represent the Seller except for Agents who dont take listings?  Are the claims of Buyer Representation confusing?  Lets clear up some misconceptions.

Washington State Law makes it abundantly clear.  RCW 18.86 states that A licensee who performs real estate brokerage services for a buyer is a buyers agent unless the: (a) Licensee has entered into a written agency agreement with the seller”

In the vast majority of situations, the real estate professional who is showing a buyer homes, helping them learn about neighborhoods, styles of homes, market conditions, home values, and etc, is representing the Buyer and legally must put the Buyers interests first. 

In some situations, a Buyer chooses to work with the same Agent that has a home listed.  Buyers often seek detailed information about a particular property from the Listing Agent who knows the listed property best, and has been hired by the Seller to seek potential buyers for the home.  The Listing Agent often suggests to a Buyer how to craft a contract that will be well received by the Seller. In these situations the Agent may be representing the Seller or the Agent may be what is defined and sanctioned by state law as a Dual Agent.

In most cases, one Real Estate Professional is working with a Buyer and another Agent is working with the Seller. They agents work with their clients to negotiate a mutually satisfactory contract and collaborate to create two happy and satisfied clients.

Agents are best able to negotiate a transaction for either party when they have experience as both a Listing Agent in some transactions and as a Buyers representative in others.  The skill and perspective provided by an agent who has worked at different times for both Buyers and Sellers, brings insight and clarity to a negotiation not found in agents who lack such experience.

All real estate brokerages offer Exclusive Buyer Agency, in fact it is prescribed by state law.  Ask your Agent for more information, or download copy of The Law of Real Estate Agency for all the details.


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