PREPARING FOR THE HOME INSPECTION
How It Works
Typically, a home inspection will take two to three hours and include a check of the home’s structural and mechanical condition. But besides the structural and mechanical inspection, home inspectors may also do tests for radon gas, check for wood destroying insects, or perform other services requested by the buyer.
A basic home inspection includes an evaluation of 10 different areas of the home: structure, exterior, roofing system, plumbing system, electrical system, heating system, air conditioning system, interior, insulation and ventilation, and fireplaces.
So Now What?
What happens next is usually detailed in the home inspection contingency clause. Typically, there will be additional negotiation between buyer and seller if problems are found. In most cases, the difference between what a buyer expected going into the transaction and what was actually uncovered by the inspection, defines the scope of what they might ask the seller to fix.
Dress for Success
The best way to make certain your home attracts buyers and the highest possible sales price is to make sure it’s “dressed for success,” both inside and out.
A fresh coat of paint and some new landscaping may seem like obvious first steps in prepping your home for sale, but when it comes to the home inspection, there’s much more to do.
Start outside repairing minor things like loose steps, disconnected gutters and rotted trim. Look, with a critical eye, for anything that’s been neglected and needs repair, like a rotted windowsill or missing roof shingle. A pair of binoculars is a good tool to use for the roof review. Besides missing shingles, look for loose metal flashing around chimneys and plumbing vents, a common cause of leaks.
Inside the home, give your mechanical systems an honest assessment. If your heating and cooling system hasn’t been recently inspected and serviced, do it now. If you are aware of any minor plumbing or electrical repairs that need to be done, get them done way before the home inspection takes place. Leaky toilet fill valves, drippy faucets or electrical outlets that don’t work might seem minor, but fixing them now not only means you’ll have less to worry when the inspection is done, it also shows both the inspector and the buyers that you’ve taken good care of your home.
What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander
If you can afford it, one of the smartest things you can do to get your home ready for sale is to hire your own home inspector to go through it before it goes on the market. Doing this will provide several distinct advantages.
1) It is likely to avoid “surprises,” like when the buyer’s inspector proclaims your electrical panel needs to be replaced. By the time the contract price is agreed to, most sellers have negotiated down as far as they want to go and the buyers have also offered up the most they want to spend, so finding a costly problem at this late stage can send the transaction into a tizzy.
2) if problems are discovered, you have the time and the ability to either repair these on your own schedule or to disclose them upfront to the buyer, eliminating the possibility that the buyer will demand you make repairs later. Plus, if repairing the problem is your choice, you can do so without the buyer looking over your shoulder, second-guessing every decision you make.
3) Once the buyer hires his own home inspector, you’ll have a good baseline by which to compare the new report. While inspection reports will rarely match item for item, major differences are rare among qualified and experienced inspectors. Your home inspector can even become your advocate by looking over and dissecting the buyer’s inspector’s report.
TOD's TIP to gain the most desirable results: Have your house ready for the home inspector–then get out of the way.