Inspections, Appraisals, and Surveys: What is the difference?

Buying a home is a big investment and you should feel confident that your investment will be a good one, because once the property is transferred from seller to buyer at closing, the home belongs to the buyer with all its wonderful aspects and all its flaws.

No properties are perfect, that is why there are several inspections that can occur during the course of a home purchase. They are: a home inspection, an appraisal of value, a wood infestation report (WIR or Termite Letter), a land survey and a final homeowner inspection. Not all of these happen with every purchase, but a few are mandatory for the mortgage lender.

At the time the offer to purchase a property is written the buyer can request to have a professional home inspection performed on the property within a definite time. A home inspection is an all-encompassing inspection of the properties condition and the fee is usually paid by the buyer. A written report will cover features of the house such as electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation, as well as structural features of the home and it may unveil issues that are not noticeable to the buyer’s, or the seller’s eye. Often these problems are correctable. If not the buyer may decide to withdraw the offer within the time frame.

An appraisal of value is performed by a State Licensed Real Estate Appraiser and is ordered directly by lender. The type of loan determines the type of appraisal that is completed. An appraiser will inspect the home to determine its value by using current sales data within the neighborhood of the home and compare homes and properties similar to the subject. If the home does not appraise for at least the amount of the purchase price, the buyer and seller may need to renegotiate the offer. With the assistance of an experienced REALTOR©, the home should be listed at or near the market value at the beginning of the selling process.

A WIR or wood infestation report is performed by a certified inspector with a pest treatment company. The inspector will look for and note any previous damage or current infestation of wood destroying insects, like termites or beetles or organisms like mold. If current infestation is found then it must be treated prior to closing.

A land survey is sometimes required when boundaries of the property are unknown. A licensed Land Surveyor will survey the property, stake the boundaries and deliver a written plat of the property.

A final home inspection, or final walk through is done by the buyer and is usually accompanied by their real estate agent before closing. During this inspection the buyer is encourage to look thoroughly at the home to make sure it is what they have expected. Real estate agents are not professional inspectors so they will accompany the buyer as a courtesy.

When the inspections have been completed and approved by the buyer, the purchase can proceed to a closing of the sale.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and help guide you through the home purchase. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576


©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016



There are a lot of things to consider before you offer your home ‘For Sale By Owner” commonly known as a FSBO. Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. The main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can get a better deal and negotiate a lower price on a home.  Both seller and buyer want to get the best deal. Often times neither wins without a real estate professional to take the sale from showing to closing.

With a FSBO, an owner should be prepared to do a lot of research before embarking on selling their home. A few weeks of internet research can’t replace the knowledge of a real estate professional.  A few mistakes can cost the owner much more than the real estate commission. Failure to disclose a known defect, overpricing the home or ignoring Fair Housing Laws can result in lawsuits, fines and court costs. Become familiar with real estate laws, most pertain to licensed real estate professionals as well as home owners.

There are seven basic questions that a home owner should ask themselves before marketing their home.

  1. Do you know the value of your home in your market? Don’t rely on tax information or your gut feeling, what your neighbor’s home sold for last week or what you paid for your home 10 years ago, or how much you have spent remodeling. Markets change quickly. Improvements you’ve made to your home don’t necessarily make it more valuable. REALTORS© have current data on for market values in your area. If you don’t want to discuss your home value with a REALTOR©, you may want to have a valuation perfomed by a real estate appraiser. Leaving dollars on the table is just as bad as asking too much for your home and having it sit on the market overpriced and ‘shop worn’.
  2. Are you willing to work with a buyer’s agent? In a typical real estate transaction, there is a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent. Normally when a home is listed with a REALTOR©, the seller pays a total commission which both agents split depending on their agreements.

A buyer’s agent typically gets a percentage of the sale price.  If you sell your home yourself you may decide not to work with an agent to represent you but that leaves behind the buyers in the market who are working with an agent and who might want to see your home.  Consider working with a buyer’s agent and paying their fee. While real estate agent’s commissions may seem high to some Real estate agents provide a great value to homeowners, and usually get them much more money than they could on their own. Real estate agents REALTORS© are not paid just for the time they spend selling your house, they are paid for all the licensing courses and continuing education they must take. They are paid for their experience marketing homes and getting the most money possible for a seller.

  1. Can you handle the marketing of your property? It takes a lot of effort and time to properly market a property. Professional photos will show your home in its best light. Cell phone photos will not be sufficient. Most real estate professionals will have access to the equipment needed to portray your home for the buyer’s optimum viewing. Realtors also have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which will allow your property to be instantly marketed to other agents who have clients looking for similar properties. Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote property sales with automatic feeds to hundreds of websites that specialize in Homes and land for sale. com, and other internet sites offer FSBO listings for a fee, but the agents who are Premier Agents with Zillow will still get top spots for contact information. Before paying any money to a third-party company to list your home for sale, research to determine if the company has a good reputation and has earned favorable reviews
  2. Can you bear criticism of your home? It may be perfect to you, but a buyer may not see it that way. Often a buyer will tell you all the shortcomings of your home in order to negotiate a lower price. Try not to take criticism of your property personally. A REALTOR© often serves as a buffer between the seller and the buyer and can handle the critique of the property professionally and objectively.
  3. Can you effectively negotiate the price and terms? Are you willing to give and take on the spot? Without a real estate professional to negotiate for you on your behalf, the buyer may want to know immediately what you will take for your home. If you are not a good negotiator, don’t try to sell your home yourself. By using a REALTOR© they will write up the contract for the buyer and present it to you along with your costs and proceeds. This will allow you time to make the right decision.
  4. Can you bring the sale to closing? A REALTOR© will investigate whether a buyer has the potential to purchase your home by working with the buyer and requesting for a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender.  Often a buyer doesn’t want to disclose this information to the seller directly, like showing your hand in poker.  Realtors work with lenders all the time and with the buyer’s permission they can acquire this information, thereby screening the buyer’s ability to purchase a home.
  5. Are you willing to take the time to work with all the people involved in finalizing the sale and bringing the sale to close. Appraisers, home inspectors, surveyors, lenders, title agents, attorneys, termite inspectors… the list is not endless but it takes time and coordination and patience to get everything prepared. A REALTOR© does this all the time. They are trained to do it correctly and efficiently.

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional and see what they have to offer. At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and help guide you through the home purchase. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to search for home or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at