You’ve got a contract on your home for sale—congratulations! But before you pop the cork on the champagne, you’ve got to go through an ordeal that could make or break that sweet deal: a home inspection. The home inspection is a contingency written into most offers, meaning that if the buyers aren’t happy with the result, they can cancel the sale without losing their earnest money deposit, or reopen negotiations and ask for a price reduction. Robbyn Battles will explain this process prior to placing your home on the market. No one likes surprises.
So it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for this important step of the process. How? Hey, we’re glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.
Will there always be a home inspection?
If your buyers are planning to tear down your home and build their own dream house, you might feel a pang of regret, but at least you won’t need to worry about the quality and condition of your property. These buyers are trying to get the lowest price possible and, if they think a clean contract without an inspection contingency will make them an attractive buyer in a competitive market, they’ll often forgo an inspection contingency.
But most buyers who are planning to live in your home want to know what they’re getting into. They want to know which systems work, and which don’t. They want to know how much money they’ll need to plow into the purchase, and which items you, the seller, are willing to fix or replace to seal the deal.
The results of home inspections can give buyers peace of mind, or a tool they can use to bargain down the price. In the worst case, people with buyer’s remorse will use results of a home inspection to back out of the deal without penalty.
Sound scary? Don’t fret just yet. Some agent will allow the first home inspection to let you know everything that’s wrong with your home. Armed with that information, you can fix problems before the next buyer shows up, adjust the price to reflect necessary repairs, or simply have a ready response when the issue comes up again. An experienced like Robbyn Battles offers this advice. Hire a home inspection company for a pre-selling inspection. Why? This will allow you to know in advance what issues you may have with your home. Sometimes there are items you may be completely unaware of with your property. No one likes surprises and wants to go out and find another buyer. A pre home inspection will allow you to better disclose and keep your transaction together once you go under contract. This does not mean the buyer will not do their own but at least you will not be sitting o pins and needles waiting for the results of the buyer’s inspection.
Inspectors will look at everything
A home inspection is no quick once-over. Inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. Yep, you read that right—1,600.
“If we can get to it, we’ll inspect it,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Here are just some of the areas of the home your inspector is checking, and what a home inspector is looking for:
Grounds: Standing water, faulty grading, sick or dying trees and shrubs, crumbling paths and walls
Structure: Foundation integrity, rotting or out-of-plumb window and door frames
Roof: Defects in shingles, flashing, and fascia; loose and hanging gutters; defects in chimneys and skylights
Exterior: Cracks or rot; dents or bowing in vinyl; blistering or flaking paint; adequate clearing between siding and earth
Window, doors, trim: Rotting frames, peeling caulk, damaged glass
Interior rooms: Water-stained ceilings, adequate insulation, and sufficient heating vents
Kitchen: Proper venting, no leaks under the sink, and cabinet doors and drawers operate properly
Bathrooms: Toilets flush properly, showers spray, and tubs are securely fastened
Plumbing: Drains flow properly; water has proper temperature and pressure
Electrical: Proper electrical panels and working light switches and outlets
How can you prepare?
The home inspection isn’t a test that you need to study for. But there are some things you can do before a home inspection to make the process go more smoothly.
Clean and de-clutter your home: Yes, inspectors will look way beyond the superficial sparkle of a clean home. But you want to make sure they have easy access to attics, basements, and electrical panels—and aren’t tripping over your kids’ toys while trying to do their job. Think of it as an early start to your packing.
Get your paperwork together: You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. 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 doesn’t have lockbox access.
As the seller, I always recommend you leave and always request the buyer to stay.
As a seller give the inspector your cell phone number, grab your car keys, and go to a movie or out to lunch when the home inspector shows up. Your anxiety will only make everyone uncomfortable, which isn’t a productive atmosphere during an inspection.
Inspectors and buyers are not at all comfortable with the seller being present during an inspection. They need to be able to freely inspect and discuss any and everything they come across. You may think you are being helpful by being present, but you are not; you are impeding the process.
And don’t play eager hostess. You don’t need to set out cookies and drinks; or provide ladders and other tools the inspector needs. He’ll bring his own.
When the inspection results are presented as a seller take a deep breath and remember the following. Buying and selling a house is a competition: Sellers want to get the highest price, and buyers want the lowest. It’s not personal—it’s business.
“A home inspector’s job is to point out each and every deficiency and safety violation they see,” Golden says. “Arguing with the buyers about an inspector’s findings is not helpful.”
Keep your head in the game, and solve the problem with the buyer.
It may be agreeing to fix an item, it may mean giving them some money toward a repair, or it may simply be providing documentation.
And that’s where an experienced real estate agent earns his or her commission. Agents know how to interpret inspection reports, which issues are vital to address, and which are red herrings designed to reopen price negotiations. Make sure when you hire your agent they are experienced has had more than a few years selling homes.
If you are considering selling your home request your home evaluation from Robbyn Battles. Check my homes value
Robbyn Battles selling real estate in the Foothills of La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, Altadena, and all the surrounding neighborhoods for over 30 years.
Robbyn Battles • Battles Real Estate • JohnHart Real Estate • “Real Estate Redefined” 1420 Foothill Blvd. La Canada-Flintridge CA 91011, 818-388-1631