The majority of real estate purchase agreements will include a contingency to have a home inspection before a buyer takes the keys to a home. It’s not uncommon for buyers to gloss over issues with a home that a licensed home inspector might be able to catch. If there is a major issue uncovered, it will certainly be the subject of renegotiation.
If your home is currently listed for sale, you might want to consider prepping it before a buyer expresses interest in it and has their own inspector discover an issue that could put a wrench in the closing.
Most buyers will want to be sure that what they’re buying doesn’t come with a list of major problems that end up making the investment a money pit. They’ll want to be made aware of any issues with the major systems of the home, its appliances, and what components will need to be repaired or even replaced.
As such, their real estate agents will typically recommend that they have a home inspection conducted before closing in order to uncover issues that will either give them reason to renegotiate the purchase price, or walk away from the deal altogether.
Neither one of these scenarios is a pleasant one for sellers, which is why getting the home in tip-top shape before it even hits the market can help avoid any unnecessary, long drawn-out situations that can potentially put the seller right back at square one.
While buyers can have their own inspection done, so can sellers. By having your own inspection done, you’ll be able to find out if there is anything wrong with your home, and if so, how it can be fixed before your buyer finds out about it.
Here are some things you can do to adequately prepare your home and improve the odds that the buyer’s home inspection will come out with minimal issues.
Ensure Clear Access For the Inspector
Inspectors will go through anything and everything they can get access to, and that includes the attic and crawlspace. You’ve likely had little reason to visit these spaces in your home, but the inspector will surely have an interest in them. Make sure that you clear out any clutter that may be standing in the way of easy access to these particular areas in your home.
While you’re at it, make sure you’ve also cleared a path to your air conditioner, electrical panel, and water shut-off source. If you don’t, it not only makes the job of the home inspector more difficult, it may even make it look like you’re trying to hide something from the buyer.
Check the Condition of Your Appliances
If you are including your appliances in the sale of your home, take some time to make sure they’re in proper working order first. Inspectors will fiddle with the appliances to see how they function. It’s possible that the light in the fridge doesn’t work, or the dryer isn’t generating much heat when it’s in operation. Issues like these might need to be fixed, unless your contract specifically states that the appliances are being sold in “as-is condition.”
You might also want to give them a thorough cleaning job – especially the oven – before the inspector scopes them out.
Ensure All Detectors Work
Detectors are critical components in a home, such as your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These are life-saving components and should ideally be installed on every level of the home. If you don’t have any detectors, be sure to install them right away. If you do have them, make sure they are working. It could be something as simple as replacing dead batteries.
Check the Plumbing
A burst pipe is an obvious problem that needs to be dealt with right away, but small leaks in the pipes might not be as readily noticed. Scope out all the faucets and taps in your home, and don’t forget to look under the sinks to check for any leaks. Look for any signs of water damage, which could point to a potential leak that’s coming from a source that may be behind the wall, ceiling, or floor.
Run all the faucets, showers, and bathtubs, and flush all the toilets in your home. While you’re testing these areas, pay attention to the water pressure. If it’s low, there may be some clogging or damaged pipes that might warrant further evaluation. An inspector will be sure to do all this testing, so take the time to do it first to see if there is anything that seems like it might need fixing.
Identify Any Electrical Issues
Ideally, the electrical panel should support the amount of power that your home’s appliances and systems need and use. In addition, there shouldn’t be any knob and tube wiring, which will typically render a home uninsurable and will deter a lender from approving a mortgage to the buyer. Check for any shoddy electrical work as well, as these can pose fire hazards. When in doubt, call in an electrician to have any potential issues fixed before a buyer is made aware of them.
Even dealing with minor things like replacing light bulbs can go a long way in ensuring that the buyer’s home inspection goes smoothly without a hitch.
Uncover Potential Issues With Your Windows
Check both the inside and outside of your windows, and make sure that they open, close, and lock adequately. Look for any cracks in the glass or tears in the ripped screens. Depending on the scope of the damage, the buyer may ask to have it repaired. Not only that, the lender may even have an issue extending a loan for the home if the windows are in severely bad shape, especially if they are broken.
Inspect Your Home’s Mechanics
The mechanics of a home are extremely important, including your HVAC system, water heater, and roof. Before you even put your home up for sale, you should consider having the HVAC system cleaned and inspected by a specialist. Be sure to keep the receipt so you can show it to the buyer to prove that you’ve had the HVAC system cleaned and inspected and that it’s in proper working condition.
Get a roofing contractor to check out the roof as well, especially if it is getting old and is showing signs of wear. If the roof has to be replaced, you might want to consider having this done before listing your home. If a potential buyer finds out that the roof needs to be replaced, that could be enough to scare them off. Besides, having a new roof is something you’ll be able to advertise in your listing and is something that you can work into your listing price.
Look Over the Home’s Exterior
Take a walk around the outside of your home and identify any problems, such as clogged downspouts, cracks on the foundation, peeling paint, potholes in the driveway, an ill-functioning garage door opener, and overgrown weeds in the yard. Not only do all of these components play a key role in curb appeal, they can also be flagged on a home inspection report. If you notice anything awry, be sure to rectify them before the first prospective buyer sets foot in your home.
The Bottom Line
While buyers will bring in their own home inspectors, getting your own inspection done can help uncover issues that you may not have been aware of. This will give you the opportunity to make any necessary repairs or updates so that the buyer isn’t met with any unpleasant surprises when their inspection is done.