Merlino & Gonzalez January 2018

HOME INSPECTION 101 Don’t Sign Before You Inspect

We’ve all heard that the three most important factors to consider when you’re buying a home are “location, location, location.” While location is undeniably crucial, right behind it on the list of must-haves is structural condition. After all, you could be on the best block in the world, but that won’t matter much if your new home has substandard heating, plumbing, or electrical systems. That’s why you need to conduct a thorough, independent home inspection before you finalize any real estate purchase. Any deal you make with a seller should be contingent on the inspection report. If the inspection reveals no defects, consider it a hurdle cleared. But if the report is negative, you should have the seller pay for repairs or reduce their offer. Any backlash to this request is a big red flag. Should this happen, you need to reserve the right to cancel the deal entirely. When looking for an inspector, you should make sure that they are duly licensed to conduct inspections in exchange for compensation. The only exceptions are registered architects and professional engineers (PEs). Do note that PE licenses must be for business entities, not individuals.

The inspection itself is generally a standardized procedure. A home inspector observes the systems and structural integrity of the house and prepares a written report. Radon and pest inspections are not included in a standard home inspection. Because of this, you should arrange a separate termite inspection. As the buyer, you don’t need to be present for the inspection. The seller, however, should be on hand to answer questions. After inspection is complete, the real estate agent has an obligation to disclose anything that affects the value or desirability of a property. Additionally, all prospective buyers must be alerted to a negative inspection that has caused a deal to fall through. Otherwise, the real estate agent may be liable. Buying a home is an exciting process. Don’t let that emotion cause you to overlook significant issues. An inspection will allow a professional to look at a property objectively, ensuring that you enjoy your home after you move in.


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Looking for a way to prepare a warm treat for the kids while they’re out building snowmen? Break out the slow cooker and enjoy the best hot cocoa you’ve ever had! • 1 cup white chocolate chips • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk • 2 cups heavy cream, divided • 3 cups milk (any variety will do) • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar INGREDIENTS 1. In a slow cooker, combine white chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1 cup cream, and milk. Cover and heat on low about 2 hours. 2. In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 cup cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. DIRECTIONS

• 1 teaspoon vanilla • 4 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or syrup

3. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. 4. Serve mugs of hot chocolate with about 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur or syrup to taste and a dollop of whipped cream.

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