~~You’ve prepared your house for sale, hired a listing agent and the marketing plan has succeeded so well that you have an offer on your home. All good news so far, but you still have a couple of challenges to face, including a home inspection.
No matter how much you know about the place you’ve occupied for the past few years or decades, a home inspector may find issues that your buyers will want you to address. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll ace your inspection, you can take steps to make it less likely that a home inspection will put an end to your sales plan.
Consider a Pre-Inspection
Depending on the age and condition of your home, you may want to schedule an inspection before you put your home on the market. If your home is relatively new and you’re not aware of any problems, you can probably skip this step; but if you have any concerns about your property, it could be worthwhile to spend $400 or so to hire your own inspector. Once the inspection is done, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing about potential problems and having the opportunity to address them on your own time, rather than under pressure from a buyer who wants work completed before the settlement date.
You can and should disclose to buyers any problems your home inspector finds and what you’ve done about them — whether you’ve made a repair, replaced an appliance or planned to offer a credit for the buyers so they can fix it their way.
Prepare for the Inspection
Regardless of whether you’ve had an inspection, your buyers are likely to hire their own home inspector. You can be helpful to that inspector in several ways, which is likely to make the inspector feel a little more favorable towards you and your home. That’s not to say that the inspector would overlook a serious problem, but perhaps he would lighten up a bit on some minor issues. Try these methods of buttering up an inspector:
◾Remove clutter: You’ve probably started packing a bit, but it will help the inspector more if you empty the spaces beneath your bathroom and kitchen sinks and move any belongings that block access to your water heater or other appliances.
◾Get your paperwork together: You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home, including annual or semi-annual furnace inspections, receipts for roof or chimney repairs and other inspections. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, keep those papers together, too, so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
◾Provide complete access to your home: Make sure you unlock gates and doors to a shed or garage that don’t have lockbox access. Move anything that’s blocking entrances to the attic, basement or storage spaces.
◾Leave home: Inspectors find it easier to do their work without the presence of the homeowners and, even more important, without your pets and children around.
◾Clean your house: It won’t make a bit of difference if you have a leak, but a clean home gives the impression that you take care of your property and so the inspector shouldn’t expect to find as many problems.
◾Leave the lights on: Make sure your light bulbs work, especially in storage spaces or areas you don’t often use.
The easier you make things for a home inspector, the more favorably disposed he’ll be toward your home.