Too often, the only one thinking about the home inspection are the agents and the buyers. It tends to be "just one of those things that happens to sellers." But, it doesn't need to be. There are very few home sales where home inspections are not done. It is also one of the most important contingencies in a sales transaction and sometimes the only contingency.
Home inspections are driven and paid for by the buyers. The contracts treat the inspection like a contingency to the sale and has a contractually specified time line. The contract also loosely defines what inspection items are considered defective versus cosmetic. In some contracts, there will be a specified dollar amount that gives the buyer the option of revoking the contract if issues are discovered more than this agreed-upon figure.
Since the home inspection is one of the biggest hurdles a home seller faces to have a successful sale, it is worth considering what things you can do to have your home in the best possible condition before the home inspection... why leave things to chance. Unfortunately, the home inspection is a leading cause for sales transactions to fall apart. Some times, the contract comes to a halt because the buyer is concerned about the condition of the home. Other times, the inspection may not scare the buyer away but could open up a round of tough negotiations. The buyer may ask you to fix a long list of defects that are discovered, provide them with a credit to deal with the issues, or in a worse case just back out of the agreement altogether.
Home sale preparation is one of the keys to selling Real Estate today anyways, so getting your home ready for the inspection only makes sense. Here are some considerations to help you increase the odds of a successful outcome from the home inspection.
CONSIDER THE THINGS THAT THE INSPECTOR WILL CHECK:
Expect the home inspector to go over your house with a fine tooth comb. Inspectors typically start on the outside and work their way to the interior. They will be very thorough checking everything they can visually see. The home inspection usually lasts between 1.5 - 3 hours but could take longer for bigger or more complicated homes.
Be prepared for the home inspector to look for the following on the outside:
• Proper grading to ensure water does not easily get into the home.
• Visual damage to the driveway such as cracking or damaged pavement.
• Wood rot most commonly found at window sills and trim boards.
• Structural integrity of the pool cages and other outside components.
• Structural cracks in the building structure that are more than cosmetic cracks.
• The connections of electrical wiring coming into the home.
•The roof including the shingles and signs of problems with the sheathing is something all inspectors will do.
• Functioning of poo and pool equipment and irrigation system.
The inspection of the inside of the home will also be thorough. Plan for the inspector to check the following in the interior of your home:
• Signs of any water penetration into the building.
• Structural defects such as the sills, supports, etc.
• The plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.
• Signs or any insects or rodents such as termites, ants, mice and others.
• Defects in the floors such as cracking.
• Windows and sliders for mechanical function as well as failure of seals.
• Functioning of household appliances.
• Proper electrical setup.
• Plumbing to ensure no leaks.
MORE COMMON DEFECTS NOTED BY INSPECTORS
Some defects are found in many homes, that as a homeowner, you may not have even paid much attention to. After living in a house for many years sometimes we get used to things being a certain way. Sometimes it may not even cross our minds that a small defect may be a bigger issue to someone else. With this knowledge in hand at least, you will have the opportunity to make some corrections before your home goes on the market.
Where possible you will want to try to fix any items that are going to be potential contractual defects and/or items that may be of more concern to potential buyers. Items that you opt not to fix in advance, should be disclosed on the seller's disclosure and have it available for a buyer to see before they make an offer. In this disclosure, you are going to want to list in detail all the defects you know about your home. It is far more difficult for a buyer to try to renegotiate after a home inspection if the defect has already been pointed out to them in black and white before making an offer.
It is a common practice in real estate for the seller not to be around while the home inspection is taking place. The listing agent should be present to listen what defects are discovered. There are, however, things you can do to make the home inspectors job a lot easier before you leave your home.
• Make sure the power remains on and water is turned on.
• Make sure all light bulbs are working by changing them before the inspection.
• Thin out your closets of clothes so the inspector can see inside them.
• If there is access to the attic in a closet, make sure it is accessible.
• Change the filters to your furnace and leave any service tags so the inspector can see them.
• Do not try to conceal any defects you know are present in the home. Trying to cover up problems will throw up a major red flag. The last thing you want is to have a buyer think you are dishonest.
The key is to discover and address any major items before a buyer conducts a home inspection, to be truthful and forthcoming with any items that exist and aren't being addressed and to follow the guidance of your real estate agent when it comes to negotiating repairs requested from the buyers.
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