You know the ins and outs of your house, but buyers want a third-party opinion on the state of your property and what repairs they might have to make in the future.
Home inspections are a necessary burden of selling your home. No one likes a group of strangers poking, prodding, and climbing all over their space, but when the inspection is over, sellers may be able to justify a higher sales price.
Before inspectors drop by, you should clean, check, and test every nook and cranny of your home. Follow these tips to ensure you get the best results from your home inspection.
Understand Why Home Inspections Are Important
No home is perfect, but buyers want to know exactly what costs come with their investment. If you are selling your home, most likely you will have to abide by home inspection contingency rights. This means that buyers have the right to back out of a purchase or negotiate costs based on the findings of a professional home inspector.
An inspection report can make or break the sale of your home. Proper preparation is a good idea and investment before you sell. If inspectors find issues or concerns throughout your home, you might have to pay up or you might lose the sale altogether.
Know What Home Inspectors Are Looking For
What are home inspectors going to inspect in the first place? The short answer is: everything. Inspections cover the following areas of your home and property:
- HVAC (heating and cooling) systems and filters
- Plumbing and electrical system
- Light fixtures
- Major appliances and utilities
- Presence of smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
- Possible mold or mildew
- Possible insects or pests
Before your home inspection, thoroughly run through these areas and see if there are any concerns that arise. Are all your appliances working? Have you replaced the filters in your air conditioning unit recently? Does anything smell remotely like mold or mildew?
Many home sellers hire a professional to conduct a home inspection before the buyer home inspection. A preliminary inspection will help sellers avoid surprises that they cannot detect themselves. Your real estate agent can put you in touch with an inspector who will give you a checklist of repairs to make before you sell your home.
Conduct home inspections early in the process; a completed home inspection can give your home a competitive edge if you aren’t getting the offers you want.
Address concerns immediately.
If you don’t repair broken appliances or address concerns once you do an initial check, buyers will later. Schedule repairs or replacements before your inspection date. Don’t think inspectors will miss or gloss over minor issues. Even if the home inspection takes three hours, inspectors will look at every single corner of your home. The fewer repairs you must negotiate with buyers, the easier the selling process will be.
Prepare and collect paperwork.
Even if everything appears to be running smoothly, inspectors will still want to see paperwork for recent repairs and existing warranties. Scrambling for documentation will only make the inspection last longer (and no one wants that.) Have all paperwork ready and organized so you can hand inspectors what they need as soon as they step in the door.
Give inspectors access to every room in the house.
And we mean every room. Inspectors need access to your basement, attic, crawl space, and any room in the house. If you have a detached garage or other exterior building, inspectors will also look at these structures. They will also check out the foundation, electrical boxes, electrical outlets, and the spare air conditioner that is collecting dust in the window of your attic. Cut down on the inspection time by clearing access to all these areas.
Clean your house.
A fresh smell won’t hurt the results of your inspection. Home sellers should get in the habit of tidying up from the moment they list their property. Take the time to dust, vacuum, and straighten all areas of the house, including the areas surrounding the exterior of the house and any evidence of pet hair or smells.
Schedule time away for you and the dog.
The inspector and buyer may look at the home together. Give them time to thoroughly look at the house and feel comfortable. If you have pets, take them to a friend or relative’s house for the day to reduce odors.
The more you prepare for your home inspection, the less nervous you should be once the house is finally sold. Happy inspecting!