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Of special interest to sellers
Are you planning to put your house on the market?
Do you want to sell it faster?
Would you like top dollar?
Are you interested in reducing negotiating time?
Do you want to protect yourself from potential liabilities?
For these and other reasons, a home inspection is a prudent first step in the process of selling your home. You, as the seller, must present the most saleable property possible. A home inspection report will reveal the current condition of your house with specific evaluations of more than 400 items, and guide you toward enhancing the value and marketability of your property.
Most problems in a house are minor and can be rectified easily and inexpensively; chipped paint, doors or windows that stick, an air conditioner that wheezes, a filter that is dirty, etc. Such shortcomings are overlooked by sellers who have lived with them for years, but they are focused on by buyers. If the perceived problems do not derail the sale, they nevertheless provide grounds for price negotiation.
Not only does the pre-sale inspection enable you to attend to problems before the house is put on the market, it also removes any questions—for you and home buyers—about the condition of your home. Buyers are positively influenced by a professionally produced home inspection report, which improves the speed, price, and likelihood of a sale.
Some home sellers elect not to correct every defect reflected in the inspection report. Instead, they acknowledge the defects to buyers and explain that the asking price has been adjusted to reflect the estimated cost of repairs. Such candor tends to shorten negotiation time because buyers have fewer objections that could thwart a sale. In addition to facilitating the sale of a home, an inspection helps the homeowner comply with full-disclosure real estate laws that are being enacted by more and more states.
By focusing on the condition of your property, you are less likely to overlook a defect or material fact for which you later could be held liable. In recent years, home buyers have been more inclined to file law suits against sellers involving allegations of misrepresentation, negligence, and fraud. Some judgments against sellers have been severe, even when the omission of facts was unintentional.
Preparing for a home inspection
If you, as the seller, have arranged to have your home inspected, you should plan to accompany the inspector during the entire process. If it is a buyer initiated inspection, it would be preferable if you were not present. You must be notified in advance of any inspection. The real estate agent generally will schedule the inspection for a time convenient to both you and the buyer to allow you enough time to make preparations. Whether the home inspection has been arranged by you, as the seller, or by the buyer, you can take several preparatory steps which will benefit you and facilitate the inspection process:
Make sure the inspector can access all areas of the house
Clear all furniture, boxes, clothes, toys and other personal items that may block access to the furnace, water heater, electrical panels, attic crawl spaces, etc. Inspectors will not enter inaccessible areas. If access to your attic crawl space is located in a closet, remove clothing, shoes, and other items. Not only might they be in the way, but as the hatch is removed, debris (dust, insulation, loose plaster) is likely to fall from the ceiling onto items left in the closet.
If you are expecting a visit from an inspector and prospective buyer:
- Ensure that filters are clear in air conditioners, heaters, vents, drains, etc.
- Clear out areas under sinks so they can be inspected.
- Have the house cleaned thoroughly.
The fewer problems an inspector finds with the property, the better overall image the property presents to the prospective buyer. Obviously, it is to your advantage if the buyer hears the inspector saying, “Everything on this property is right except for a couple little issues here and there,” rather than hearing a long list of concerns.
Additional notes to home sellers
The home inspector may override your timers (such as automatic sprinklers, outdoor lighting, etc.). You should check them after the inspection to ensure they are reset properly. Remember to allow two to three hours for the home inspection.
What our clients say
"My wife and I were buying our first home and had absolutely no idea what to look for when making the purchase. The Inspector walked us around the house and gave us a detailed description and history of our future purchase. He explained possible problem areas, things needed to be fixed immediately, and things we should be aware of in the future. Not only did he explain these things verbally, he also left with us a report detailing all the things he had talked about and a summary of items he saw as potential problems. Best of all, during the entire inspection he spoke to us in layman's terms so we were able to understand all he told us."
“We especially liked the Inspector attention to detail, and the fact he took the time to point out potential problems."
“I liked having suggestions given to avoid future problems.”