How to Pass Your Pre-Sale Home Inspection
One of the most dreaded parts of any home sale is the necessity for a home
inspection. A home inspection is meant to assure the buyer that the property
they're paying for is as it is represented. The home inspector will study
your property and all of its systems, making a note of any problems he or
she finds. The buyer may then reject a sale or demand that certain conditions
be repaired before they'll accept a sale offer.
One time-saving tip that's often recommended by real estate experts is for
you to pay for a home inspection yourself - before putting the house on the
market. Commissioning a home inspection can turn a dreaded necessity into a
helpful tool that you can use to pinpoint possible problems in your home and
repair them BEFORE you get an offer. Very often, you can couple that report
with receipts and other evidence of repairs to convince stubborn buyers that
your home really is as advertised.
In order to pass your home inspection, take a look at each of the systems
and tests that the inspector will do and concentrate on repairing possible
problems. Repairing them BEFORE the inspection can keep a small problem from
becoming a big headache. Check out these program areas and fix them before
you put your house on the market.
Damp basements and crawl spaces often contribute to a mildew-y smell in your
home. To reduce the damage from damp you can cover any exposed earth in your
basement to help keep the moisture levels low. Clean away any mildew on walls
Mold and mildew are a major concern with buyers. The presence of any mold will
often turn off a potential deal, even if the mold or mildew is not of any harmful
type. If you have any mildew in your house, treat it with an anti-mildew product
that offers ongoing protection and attack the source of the dampness that triggers it.
Roofing problems are another of those 'small problems' that homeowners tend
to live with - until it's time to sell. Missing or worn shingles should be
replaced, and if the roof beneath is damaged, get it repaired. Clean out gutters,
and make sure that all downspouts are clear and facing away from the house to
direct runoff away from the foundation.
Plumbing is another major system that will get close attention from a home inspector.
Plumbing problems are second only to leaky roofs as deal killers. If your toilets
clog, sinks back up or pipes leak, get them fixed before you put the house on the
market. During an inspection, the inspector will put the plumbing system in your
house to the stress test. He may turn on all faucets at once and flush toilets to
check the water pressure, or flush dye down one of the toilets to see if it shows
up in the water or drain fields of other sinks. Plumbing problems are not likely
to be something that buyers will overlook, though they may be willing to buy if
you take it into consideration by lowering the price.
Your electrical system should be up to the latest codes. Inspectors will be checking
to make sure that grounded (3-prong) outlets are really grounded, and that ground
fault circuit interrupters are wired to work. He may randomly check outlets, or
test every single one. If you have non-working outlets, have an electrician hunt
down the source of the problem and fix it. If your outlets blow when you turn on
the coffee maker and the radio, you may want to look into adding a circuit.
The home inspector will look into every system in your house. He'll run the heating,
check it against standards and discuss the efficiency and placement of heating
elements. If you have central air, he'll check that as well. He may turn on and
run any appliances that are being sold with the house, and look for any evidence
of rot and infestation.
If you've done a good job of getting your house ready for a sale, most of those
things won't be a problem at all. If you've paid close attention and checked
things over regularly, the inspector's findings won't come as a surprise, either.
Don't panic if the inspector's report contains some negatives. Very few homes are
perfect - and most do pass muster.
Keep in mind that the home inspector's report isn't a laundry list of repairs
that you must make before the sale. Generally, a sales contract spells out that
all major systems must be 'in good working order' at sale time. 'In good working
order' is not the same as perfect. A roof that needs replacing is not in good
working order. A roof that needs a shingle replaced is in good working order.
Even if your contract states that you don't have to make any repairs based
on the home inspection, you may want to make the repairs, or offer consideration
or an allowance for the repairs. Don't feel that you have to give in to every
demand for repairs though. If the buyers make unreasonable demands, and aren't
mollified by allowances or consideration, remember that there are other buyers
out there, who'll appreciate your home with a few little dings.