Category Archives: Ask Betsy

Q. It’s been two weeks since I listed my house and I haven’t had any showings. Should I switch Realtors?

A. Let’s not jump the gun here. Management of expectations is more likely. Depending on the price range of your home and time of year, this could be normal. For example, if your home is over $500K, a few showings a month is normal. If something major is going on in the community, for example, school is out and summer just started, this could also be normal. I recommend you request a Realtor tour so that you can get feedback from other Realtors. They will tell your agent what they think about the presentation, price and obstacles to a sale. I would also ask your Realtor how many homes are for sale in your price range and how many in this price range have sold in the past year. This will tell you the probability of your home selling in the next year. If 10 homes have sold and there are 20 on the market, you have a 50% chance of selling our home in the next year. The number of showings a home is getting is generally proportional to the probability of selling your home.

I recently noticed my new home does not have smoke detectors. I’ve never installed smoke detectors before; what should I do?

Gainesville Fire Rescue has a program called “Project Get Alarmed!” They will install free smoke detectors into your home if you live in the Gainesville area. You can get an application by calling 352-334-5065 or stopping by a Gainesville fire station. They will then schedule an appointment to install the detectors which are donated annually. The smoke detectors and installation are free.

Q. I just heard home inspectors don’t have to be licensed. Is that true?

A. While true in some states, in Florida, since July 2010, home inspectors must be licensed and certified. The state requires candidates to be of good moral character, have a high school diploma or equilvant, complete 120 hours of coursework, pass an exam and carry at least $300,000 of commercial general liability insurance. In addition, inspectors must do ongoing continuing education. Another area of confusion lies in what is covered in a home inspection. Septic tanks, anything behind drywall that cannot be seen (electrical/plumbing, for example) and swimming pools are not commonly included in a home inspection.