When trying to sell a home, stress, and disappointment are things homeowners become familiar with.
There is the stress of getting a home ready for listing and marketing it. Then there is the frustration of dealing with prospective buyers who waste seller’s time.
This is why when one buyer finally signs a purchase agreement homeowners start to feel they can finally relax. But not so fast; there is yet one hurdle the home must scale before the sale can be finalized. This is the home inspection.
In most real estate transactions, explains Onsite Property Management Services, the closing date for the sale is set after the home inspection and subject to the outcome of the inspection. If the buyer is not satisfied after the inspection, they can renegotiate the price of the house downwards or walk away from the deal without losing their earnest money.
This is why many sellers dislike a home inspection. But there are ways owners can make the home inspection easier on themselves and the home inspector. Here are some tips to get ready for a home inspection:
- Clean, de-clutter and clear away debris
A home that is dirty and untidy will cause a home inspector to expect the worst in all areas of the property. Even without positive proof that a home is not well-maintained, they already assume that to be the case.
Inspectors need free access to the external portions of a property or they won’t be able to inspect and score those parts of the home. Ensure they have the required access by clearing away debris and removing plants that get in the way.
- Provide free access
In order to inspect furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters, a home inspector needs, at least, three feet of working space. Places where access may be hard to access include the space below sinks, and around attics and furnace rooms. Be sure to clear them out.
If a space is used for storage, boxes should be moved clear from walls. The keys to locked gates and keys must be available, or they should be unlocked.
- Search for leaks and other water problems
A water problem is more than enough reason for a buyer to abandon the transaction. Brown spots on walls and ceilings or the presence of mold are some of the things to look out for.
Areas to focus on include spaces around sinks, faucets, toilets, showers, and appliances that use water. Look at walls, floors, and ceilings for signs of water damage; discolorations, sagging, or warping. Also check for water pooling in attics and basements.
- Replace burned-out bulbs
A light that is not working could mean the bulb is burned out or the wiring is faulty. If a bulb lights up when it is turned on, the home inspector knows the wiring is alright and does not bother to inspect further. But if a light does not come on, the inspector cannot tell whether the bulb is out or the system is not working. He or she has to inspect further.
- Turn pilot lights on
Most home inspectors do not carry enough insurance for the liability that comes with turning on pilot lights. If the pilot lights on your water heater or gas fireplace are switched off, the inspector will not turn them on.
This means they have no way of knowing if the water heater, gas stove or furnace is working. If this enters the inspection report, it could derail the sale. Save yourself that trouble by checking that pilot lights are on.
- Keep utilities connected
Home inspectors have to run the dishwasher, turn on the stove and check that air conditioners are working. They cannot do this unless the utilities are connected. If a house is vacant, utilities will probably be disconnected. Remember to check this or you may be forced to schedule a second inspection, at your own expense.
- Exterminate bugs
Any kind of rodent or pest infestation is a problem. It is not only annoying and hazardous to health, it is costly to fix. No buyer wants to move into a property, only to start eliminating bugs. Removing bugs includes getting rid of wasp, termite and ant nests.
- Label the fuse box
Make the inspectors’ job easier by labeling every electrical box in the property; you don’t want them to have to search every box. Additionally, keys to sprinkler system covers should be left on the kitchen table or other prominent places, along with other keys. The keys should be labeled for easy identification.
- Make necessary paperwork available
Collect records of all maintenance and repairs you have done on the property in a file and arrange them by order. This should include invoices, remodeling documents, new installations, upgrades, and insurance claims. This will tell the buyer that the property has been well-cared for.
Finally, if you stay around during the inspection, you will get in the inspector’s way and amplify your own stress. Make sure your real estate agent is present and then go away to a nice place.